At last a change in the weather, the rain and cloud has gone, and this morning blue clear sky, a rising sun, and ice, lots of it. The first real cold weather of the winter around here, and it looks like it is here for the next few days.
As I have reported previously the birds and wildlife around the patch is very subdued, and in fact the best place to watch anything is around the gardens of the houses, so there is no better place than the garden. Helen saw a Firecrest in the week, and I was hoping that it might turn up again.
There was quite a bit of activity early on, Great Tits being the busiest unusually to start with nipping in to take the black sunflower seeds.
As I watched the early activity a Red Kite drifted over, but not in a position where I could get a suitable photograph.
A reminder of the mild condition we have been having, at the bottom of the garden the daffodils and Snowdrops are shooting. This area is quite cold and sheltered and the flowers here are always later than those in the light so to see them here at this time of year was quite a find.
Following the Great Tits were the Coal Tits and the Blue Tits, the Coal Tits adopting there "now you see me, now you don't" approach, while the Blue Tits would perch at the top of the trees in the weak sunshine.
There were up to six Blackbirds, all males in the garden, they would patrol the lawn expending more energy than they surely need to, chasing the others off.
Another Black but much larger bird was hanging around the other gardens, but never comes anywhere near mine. A Rook just sat in the nearby trees watching, but never coming any closer.
Inevitably the Long-tailed Tits arrived, heading straight for the fat feeders, but also takingthe chance to sit in the sun.
Then another small bird, and if you ever wondered how these small birds keep warm in sub zero temperatures then here is a good example of what they do. This Goldcrest has fluffed up its feathers to hold the air in close to its body. The feathers being an excellent insulation.
In doing so it also appears bigger as it sat in the sunshine.
Having warmed up it went straight to the fat feeder, where it surprisingly for such a small and cautious bird spent some time.
Goldfinches were also present, and after feeding on the sunflower seeds they are always keen to take a drink, the seeds must be dry and difficult to swallow! Fortunately I had been out and melted some of the water, although it was freezing once again.
It was though able to still manage to drink from a part that had not melted yet.
Things took a little break then, and as I sat in my office I noticed a Sparrowhawk fly pastthe window, I quickly went to the other side of the house, and watched as it flew up into a nearby tree where it sat hidden by the branches.
The cold weather bringing not only the small songbirds in to feed, but also attracts the predators to prey on them.
The skies remained clear, and the temperature cold, and with this came a lovely sunset away to the west.
Off to the south coast again tomorrow in search of the birds not seen last week. But I am also hopeful of gettingout around the patch in dryer and more wintry conditions