Reasons to be cheerful….

….(at minus 1,2,3)

The chilly weather of late can be a great reason to snuggle up in front of the fire and forget about the outside world but there is a lot of things you only get to see when temperatures hit the icy end of the spectrum.

You can see weird and wonderful icicle displays over the weirs.

You can appreciate the arachnid works of art that are usually easy to miss.

Plants that could pass for weeds take on a higher level of beauty.

And best of all, when you have the icy river to yourself, you get to see birds that can often be missed. Today’s foggy grey backdrop makes the reds of the woodpeckers, pinks of the jays and yellows of the great tits even more vibrant and easy to spot. The complete lack of leaves means the large families of long tailed tits have nowhere to hide and are one of those birds that you can’t help but be cheered by the sight of. Today is saw my first binocular-free snipe as one flew within 2 metres of me at Newark Lock. (I feel that since the fabulous Pixar movie Up, I feel I need to explain to the ornathalogically challenged that Snipes do exist and are neither mythical, non-existent nor the brainchild of an American animation studio. They are an actual, beautiful, relatively common brown bird with a long bill that favours water meadow, marsh and estuary habitats.) When the local lakes are frozen over I have a pair of beautiful tufted ducks that come to visit and take advantage of the ice-free water to feed. They aren’t as used to people as many of my feathered visitors and don’t like to come close,  hence the ropey shot….although granted it is better than the non-existent shot of the snipe that took me by surprise. That’s one of the great things about nature, however well you know somewhere, it can always surprise you.