The weather forecast was accurate and overnight on Thursday the snow tiptoed in on cat-like feet, silent, soft but with underlying cruelty. It continued all day, fine flakes blown sharply on a biting wind, piling up in corners, swirling around barriers, dancing off the roof in a cascade of ice crystals.
All day the garden was filled with the flurry of little wings, birds flying to the bird table from wherever they could find shelter. It was a pity that it was not garden Birdwatch Day as Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long Tail Tits, Marsh Tits, Coal Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Robin,Wren, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Jay,Magpie,Kestrel,Crow,Jackdaw, Pheasant, Song Thrush and Redwing all put in an appearance at some point.
Many of the larger birds just forage around the edges of the garden or across the lawn while most of the smaller ones tend to use the bird feeders. The little thrushes and the wrens prefer to hunt under the hedges, vigorously turning over the fallen leaves in search of insects and other small creatures.
Today was the first time we have noticed Redwings in the garden, the smallest of the European thrushes and mainly winter visitors in the UK. At first I saw only one, but after a few minutes I could see several dispersed under the beech hedge, all busily looking for food. It was a timely reminder of the value of a hedge for birdlife and there is an interesting article on the RSPB site here.
Now I am hoping for a good attendance on Garden Birdwatch Day over the weekend of 26-27 January 2013, although I am not anxious for a repeat snowfall! I hope you are all tucked up warm and the birds in your gardens are bringing you enjoyment.