As January comes to a close a quick glance back at my daily journal revealed an interesting but unsurprising statistic. According to my home weather station, the night time temperature over the whole of the month had not risen above zero, with a top low of -8.8C. The days have also struggled to rise above freezing and snow has fallen on 12 different days, with a heavy fall coming overnight on the 8th.
|Heavy overnight snow on the 8th
As you would imagine this means that all the nearby pools and ponds are frozen over and the only thing you're likely to see on them is the village youngster's ice skating or in some cases actually playing hockey.
|A section of the floodplain frozen solid
Add to this the current lockdown, which rules out any visits to the coast, plus short days with just barely seven hours of daylight and you can understand why my birding this month has been limited to river and forest walks.
|My view from the kitchen window ~ The track of the River Don shrouded in mist.
However, I do have an ace up my sleeve with stunning views from the kitchen window (scope strategically placed) of the Bennachie range and the high treetops of the local 'Green', where on the final day of the month among the Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Siskin a female Hawfinch took the eye! Other highlights while enjoying many hours of observation and it seems long breakfasts have included Brambling and Mealy Redpoll.
During my river walks, I've noted that Whoopers Swans which are an annual feature here feeding in the surrounding fields have begun to increase in numbers and the usual skeins of Pink-footed Geese are a delight both during the day and indeed throughout the night.
|Bullfinch ~ A flock of 10+ is not uncommon
The beautiful woodland walks can sometimes be devoid of birds at this time of year, save for the many Coal Tits but occasionally you'll stumble across small groups of Crossbill and Bullfinch, the latter occasionally in double figures, which seems to be quite normal locally.
Images of January...
|One of many wonderful sunrises
|Snowdrops ~ Despite the frozen ground the 1st signs of Spring
|One of my walks at Don View
|A Wren braves the cold