Let it snow
The light leaking round the edges of my bedroom curtains was different somehow, so I guessed what was waiting for me when I threw them open: yes, snow! I had seen it falling last night, but hadn’t thought it would settle as the ground was so wet. Full of enthusiasm, I grabbed my cameras, layered up with my winter woollies, and set off with Scamp for Highbury Park.
Everywhere I looked was a beautiful picture of a frosted landscape sparkling in sunlight. The air was full of birdcall too, every species busy keeping their energy levels up to fight the cold. The best place to see birds in after a cold night is on trees in sunshine – don’t look for them in the shade, because they will be trying to warm up, as well as feed. This makes days such as this the perfect opportunity for a spot of nature-watching.
Magpies watched me from the trees, their markings blending in with the stark snow and harsh shadows cast by the low, bright sunlight. Nearby, Crows hugged the extremes by either perching at the very top of bare trees, or searching the soft ground for food. A single Parakeet called from a tree above me then flew across to its favourite haunt. A rustle of activity from a hedge announced the appearance of a female Blackbird, which stopped to look at me before turning tail and disappearing again into the undergrowth.
But it was the smaller birds I was keen to spy today, so I headed towards the pinetum and the Italian garden section of the park, admiring the Snowdrops which are starting to peek through (Snowdrops actually create their own heat. Amazing, eh?). There, I spent some time admiring the pretty little Long-tailed Tits. They looked like flying teaspoons as they flitted quickly from branch to branch, and I got a couple of nice shots. A tiny flash of greenish colour catching the sun caught my eye, in amongst the Long-Tailed Tits: it was a tiny Goldcrest, constantly on the move as it fed. Despite my best efforts to snap it, all I managed to get was a blurred green shape as it flew away. Once again I have been thwarted by Britain’s smallest bird, but I am determined to get a photograph of it in the end!
The park did have one last treat for me before I left though. On the way out, towards the High Street exit, I looked up into the trees and saw Goldfinches swarming busily amongst the trees, their bright red faces standing out among the bare branches and pale sky. At least I managed to get a couple of snaps of them.