My duties with my daughter in law don't begin until tomorrow, so there is time to put on a post and read others today.
Yesterday, the day of the Big Garden Bird Watch was cold and snowy so there were quite a lot of birds about at the bird table. Our table has various hanging tubes - peanuts, niger seed, mixed seed, sunflower hearts, fat balls plus scraps on the bird table itself and coconut hanging in the rowan tree. The table is separated from the paddock and the farmland by a holly hedge which was full of sparrows - we could hear them making a racket but never saw one in the whole hour.
When I registered the results this morning the RSPB seemed astonished that I registered twenty chaffinches! I could have told them, had there been a column for it, that we often have forty plus, the reason being that they gather beneath the mixed seed container. Tits, goldfinches and the like feed on the mixed seed and for every seed they extract about a hundred fall to the ground, there to be snapped up by the waiting chaffinches.
We had a covering of snow yesterday and higher up - maybe a hundred feet or so - was the snow line. We notice it every year, it runs straight through the middle of a friend's field - above the line the snow stays and below it (where we are) the snow goes. In The Times this morning there is a photograph of the snow plough working in Reeth in Swaledale, which is all of seven miles from our farm, but importantly those seven miles are largely up. It is probably three hundred feet higher than we are.
Today I am sure it will all be gone as it is rather a nice day with a gentle breeze and a weak sunshine. But it is so very wet everywhere and we must all spare a thought for those poor people living on the Somerset levels, who have been flooded for weeks and look likely to be flooded for some time to come. Driving through the Levels in the summer, every lane lined with willows, every field full of grazing cattle, it is easy to envy folk who are living in such picturesque surroundings. No one envies them now.