Winter 2010/11

On silent wings the barn owl flew along the newly laid hedge an hour before dusk on a mild evening in February. He looked at me, but seemed to discount me as not being worthy of worrying about. However, Toby seemed to fascinate him. This black furry creature did not look at all like the sheep he was used to. So he flew around him, low down but well out of reach. Round and round he silently went with great curiosity until he was certain that Toby also was no threat to him, and then continued on his way hunting along the hedge.

A snipe flew up in alarm from Square Pond. Just one this time, not a flock.

Some female pheasant feathers lay scattered in the grass. Maybe a kill, but let’s hope it was a moult.

There were no tadpoles in Square Pond. Too early yet? But, and maybe you could help me with this, there were gobs of emerald green jelly on the edges among the reeds. The size was ranging from 2-3 cms diameter to one which I was barely able to hold in the palm of my hand. They appeared as a solid mass and did not seem to contain anything, although some had split open. The only time I had seen anything like this before was at the seaside, washed up onto the beach, but not emerald green. Any suggestions?

And what about the snow and hoar frost! Hard to remember as I write this on a mild day, but there are several photos for you to see what I mean about it being a rather spectacular December. I believe that at home the lowest temperature we recorded was -12C, although of course it could have been lower at home, and undoubtedly would have been lower in the exposed parts of Gimswood. It was fun to do tracking in the snow: rabbits, maybe a hare, birds large and small, a fox and deer, but of which species I could not say. What they found to eat I just cannot imagine.

Hopefully we have moved on from that intense cold and we look forward to the spring flowers again.