So we entered the biggest cold snap in this calendar month for around 20 years, and my word has it been cold?
The cold snap comes with mixed emotions for us humans, can't move the car off the drive, can't get to work( double edged sword I guess), and don't forget the panic buying in shops of such absurd things as cauliflower, and beetroot, PANIC BUYING BEETROOT YOU SAY? Complete madness.
On the plus side, the younger ones, and some of us older ones can go out sledging, snowman making, or just appreciate the lovely scenery that this type of weather brings...This is where there is a problem though.
However easy it is for us to turn the central heating up, or put on an extra coat or some long johns, many of our native wildlife species suffer, with large numbers being wiped out unfortunately. I won't go into too much detail, but I would advise you to have a read of this link, http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/autumnwatch/2010/01/what_effects_will_the_big_free.html which was brought to us by the amazing people over at Autumnwatch and produced a bit earlier this year.
Anyway, this is what we have been upto- starting Tuesday 30th November!
Our First day out was taking on the Rivelin valley which is covered in woodland, with a winding river that starts right up in the Peak District, and numerous ponds and damns, not to mention one of the largest continuous rows of Lime trees in Europe. Anyway, I will stop babbling, so, we started at Malin Bridge, and took the route straight up past Mousehole Forge, and carrying on up the valley. Here is what we saw-
Before we even got on the trail we saw a pair of Pied Wagtail's looping through the air towards the river, Singing away in their quite distinctive bird call.
Plenty of our red breasted friend, the Robin were too be seen, being even more vocal than other times of the year, claiming as much territory as possible! You actually think they are following you as you can hear them at every single step of the trail.
A little further up the trail we caught something following us up stream, which was the unmistakable White Throated Dipper- White Throat by name, Dipper by nature! Eraticlly bobbing above the surface of the water while it feeds.
While the Dipper thought it was leading the up river race (we had no chance of catching him up with how deep the snow was. That's our excuse and we are sticking to it!) along came a challenger in the name of the beautiful more streamline, Grey wagtail. Bobbing up and down from rock to rock, easily recognisable with its Yellow under part and darker grey upper-parts, and its stand out long tail, which is around the same size as the whole of the rest of the birds body!
We briefly saw two species of the tit family, but we will touch on these in our part two blog!
Our mammalian friends are quite hard to find in these snow covered lands, but we managed to catch a quite chubby looking Grey Squirrel, munching its way through some Holly berries while sheltering from the snow.
One of the strangest things on our day out on the walk was a paramedics car parked in the lower ponds car park, but is it strange? Sadly not.
The reason it was there was due to the pond being iced over, and sadly we see this in the news all too often, of children, even adults thinking they will be safe, but they don't know what they are getting themselves into.
Luckily over the past few days there has been no reported accidents around this area involving frozen ponds, and thats how we all would like it to stay!
Your own safety is paramount whilst out walking and wildlife spotting, whether it be snowy, icy, windy or boiling hot! So always take precautions.
We hope you have enjoyed our read, and look our for The Cold Snap part two coming very very soon!
all the best
Sam and Jam