Cold Creatures

It’s been another cold week here with frosts every day- I think we’ve had more frosts this week than we had over the whole of last winter! It’s cold enough that a large portion of the fishing lake is frozen over. It’s largely surrounded by trees so only the more open end and a section in the centre near the island are ice-free at the moment.

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Hard to show clearly but I think you can see the ice here

Of course this creates challenges for the lake’s residents. The birds are forced into the few ice-free areas if they want to sit on the lake as normal. The great crested grebe managed to find a quiet spot but the canada geese and mallards have been crowded into one small area.

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The geese and mallards have most commonly been seen on the island at the moment. The geese have even ventured a little way in rather than sit right on the shore as usual. I guess this is the warmest place to be-it’s South facing meaning it catches more sunlight and the trees probably trap a little of the heat too.

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The black-headed gulls are less bothered by the ice though and seem to be using it as a handy place to stand. I even noticed a herring gull joining them today, which is unusual on the lake.

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After a few week’s absence the green sandpiper was back on it’s stretch of the Avon this weekend. The running water means it doesn’t have to worry about any ice here.

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I also spotted our neighbourhood buzzard Mary yesterday too, perched on a telephone pole. She seems to prefer to sit on wooden posts like these rather than trees. Out of the many times I’ve seen her I’ve only seen her sat on a tree once!

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This morning I had a quick visit to Hengistbury Head at Christchurch Harbour this morning. It’s a good spot for birds and I saw a lot this morning- virtually of them redshank. I scanned the busy marshy pools for other birds but as far as I could tell, they were all redshank today.

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On the gorse there were a few stonechats flitting around and I was lucky enough to get a really clear photo of this one. Perhaps it was particularly brave or not very energetic due to the cold but it allowed me to get really close.

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It may be chilly but there are already signs of Spring. Shoots are appearing through the soil, some local trees have blossom and the gorse is in flower. We’re in the grip of winter but spring is on the horizon…

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