Thursday, 7 January 2010
More on the weather
Image:NEODAAS/University of Dundee (with thanks to Des McKenzie).
This prolonged snow is going to be pretty bad for birds, as this satellite image shows. Snow cover is widespread and deep across much of the country. Huge numbers of birds are being displaced, and finding food in these conditions is going to be very tricky.
As I crunched my way up my road through the snow and ice this morning, I inadvertently flushed a tree full of thrushes - mainly Redwings, but also Blackbirds and a single Fieldfare - most of which would never be spending the winter around here. More Fieldfares, eight in total, passed overhead as I entered Alexandra Park, and further on a lost-looking Common Snipe flew around in circles for a while over the snow-covered waste that used to be the cricket pitches, attempting to land briefly on the pavilion 'lawn' before realising that the snow was too deep, and flying off again. In such a scene, the ringing calls of a Ring-necked Parakeet seemed particularly out of place.
Other notable local birds this morning included two Skylarks heading high to the south, another sign of weather-related displacement, the lonely Jackdaw again, an adult intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull on ice with 70+ Common Gulls, and a Song Thrush with a Blackbird-style alarm call - the first time I've heard this.
Last night it was apparently down to -18 C in Oxfordshire, and tonight is going to be even colder. Then there will be howling east winds and blizzards at the weekend. Interesting times.
Alexandra Park year-ticks today:
38. Ring-necked Parakeet.
40. Common Snipe.
41. Green Woodpecker.
Alexandra Park this morning.