by on Jan.07, 2010, under Birdwatching, Choppington Woods

OK, not quite, but since December 31st we’ve had about a foot of snow in total.  I cancelled our Otter Safari on Tuesday for safety reasons.  That decision proved to be the right one as we had heavy snowfall on Tuesday afternoon, making the roads even more hazardous than they already were.  I drove to Wallsend to collect Sarah from work, and the 13 miles took 80 minutes – and that was mainly on 3 of Northumberland’s major roads (A1068, A19 and A1058).  Cars were sliding from one lane to the next and I’m amazed that I didn’t witness any collisions.  We’ve been using the Landrover for the last couple of weeks so when Sarah wanted her car to drive to work yesterday we had to dig it out of the snow.  I can’t recall having to do that in the 17 years that we’ve lived up here.

For the last day and a bit I’ve had a throat infection so I’ve stayed in the house.  That hasn’t been a huge burden though as it’s allowed me to spend a lot of time watching (and filming) the birds around our feeding station.  For as long as I can remember, birdwatching has been something that’s always been an option when I’m unwell.  The Brambling that Sarah found on Sunday is still around, Long-tailed Tits are visiting much more frequently than they ever have before, the Blackbird count has risen to 9, at least 5 Robins are trying to hold dominion over the patio and flocks of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll are patrolling the edge of Choppington Woods and the bottom of our allotment.  Yesterday even a Goldcrest joined the chirping masses around the apple tree.  With niger seed, peanuts, fat balls, mixed seed and windfall apples our garden is like an all-you-can-eat buffet.  The one notable absentee from our usual list of visitors is Great Spotted Woodpecker, although we did see one in the woods on New Year’s Day.  Has one of our neighbours set up a more attractive feeding station?  We’d better raise our game, just in case.

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