Footprints in the Snow

by on Feb.08, 2009, under Birdwatching, Choppington Woods, Family and friends, Northumberland

I returned home yesterday lunchtime, after having put in a few extra hours at work, to see that there was still a covering of snow in our garden. Martin had spent the morning watching a red squirrel bury hazelnuts in the garden and he was able to point out the tiny squirrel footprints to show where they had been. Along with the prints of blackbirds and other garden regulars there were some large bird footprints. Without a second thought we assumed that one of our neighbour’s chickens had come to take advantage of a free breakfast of spilled bird seed under our feeders.

I was definitely ready for some fresh air in the afternoon and we decided to head out to see if we could find some more footprints in the snow before it all melted. Unfortunately, despite an icy chill in the air the snow was beginning to disappear and the only footprints that we could find were those of the many folk that had beaten us to it and their trusty four legged companions. We did have some excellent views from a local vantage point but as the afternoon wore on we were ready to head home for a warming mug of hot chocolate.

As I was waiting for the kettle to boil I looked out into the garden as the feeders provided the local finch and tit population sustenance to make it through another sub-zero night. Then the owner of the large footprints in the snow wandered into view. Definitely a new addition to our garden bird list, and whilst by no means an unusual or rare bird, one that neither Martin nor myself would have predicted to be in our garden. Not one of our neighbour’s chickens but a Moorhen!

We would love to hear of any unusual birds that you have seen in your garden over the recent cold spell; let us know by e-mailing us at:

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