Saturday, 19 January 2013

Frozen Lake and Frozen Fingers!

19th Jan.  So those early spring like days in January have gone to be replaced by an Arctic wipe-out.  Sam and I were wrapped up in many layers when we met at the frozen lake this morning.  I’d walked through snow inches deep to get there, so started off around the lake quite warm.  The warmness didn’t last.  The lake itself, although for the most part frozen, wasn’t as heavily frozen as I had thought and the Mute Swans feet were almost breaking through the ice and a large area at the top of the lake remains free of ice.

Mute Swans on the march 

The light wasn’t good this morning as more snow was gathering in grey skies, but there was still opportunity to take some photographs between the heavy snow showers.  Sam spotted the Whooper Swan initially on the centre of the lake with head and bill initially hidden.   It then made its way down to the end of the lake to be fed with barley.  When Sam and I reached the feeding party we had an interesting chat with the lady feeding with the barley.  It was good to be able to talk to someone who really knows about the wildlife on the lake, who shares our interest in it and who was able to point out individual Mute Swans.  We found the Mute Swan that had been ringed in Edinburgh and that has also been seen at Druridge, as well as the visitor from Gosforth Park Nature Reserve where no doubt the pond will have been frozen solid.  I also had pointed out to me one of the oldest Mute Swans on the lake, and I seem to remember it had been a breeding bird at Shibdon.  It was nice to have a chat with someone who gives much time to actually taking an interest in the birds' welfare and who reads our blogs.:-)

 Whooper Swan with Black HeadedGull

'Morning guys.  Would ya mind removing the carrot from me right nostril?'

A real birder isn't put off by a slight covering of snow!  Under the hood under camouflage.

'It's me he's it's me, no no it's....... '

We noticed that most of the Goldeneye appear to have moved on since the lake froze, although two or three males and at least one female remain and came close to the lake shore.  We saw no Goosander but didn’t look on the smaller lake today so the resident Goosander may be there.


Sam and I had planned to walk to the village, but having been caught in two or three heavy downfalls of snow we decided to make for home and have a hot drink.  Our fingers were beginning to freeze in wet gloves.  We’d enjoyed a couple of hours on patch in the snow.

On my return I continued to take an interest in the garden birds.  Always good to do this and remind myself where my interest in birds began.  This week has seen visits from less than regular birds.  The garden has attracted twenty-two species in all including a brief visit by a Goldcrest.  A Song Thrush was down to feed this morning and surprisingly not chased away by the Blackbirds of which there was at least ten at one point.  Earlier in the week I had a pair of Song Thrushes and I can hardly remember a time when I have seen more than one in the garden.  Mistle Thrush has been in to and also a single Long Tailed Tit.  Both Greenfinch and Chaffinch have visited in larger numbers than usual, but so far not the hoped for Brambling!  No sign of Bullfinch or Siskin either.  At this very time I do have quite a pronounced leucistic Blackbird visiting for the first time.  Is it by any chance your leucistic visitor Sam?

First time I've seen this one.  The feathering around the eye is white too.


  1. Yes it was a nice walk out around the lake as our walks always are! I fear my camouflage may have been a bit redundant today! anyway it kept me warm!
    No that isn't our Blackbird (Barry) although he made an appearance today several times, ours has nearly a totally white head and no white on the wings,
    Another good day out
    Sam :)

    1. Maybe Barry's cousin then,:-) A good morning Sam. Cheers. Brian.

  2. Great that you both ventured out. It was a good day by the looks of it, so the fair-weather birders are missing out just now, lol!

    Nice pics (including the snowman, lol).

    1. Fair weather birders always miss out Mark.:-) I fear there will be many more snowmen before we are through with this snow spell. Cheers. Brian.

  3. True re: fair-weather birders, lol.

    I think some of the snow may go tomorrow as it's forecast heavy rain, but yeah there's probably more on the way!