Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Winter’s End?

Within a few days of being in deep snow at the weekend, it’s all gone and temperatures are almost reaching the dizzying heights of 10 degrees.  Everyone seems to be glad to see the end of the snow and now thinking of Spring.  The problems is ‘Spring’ tends to mean milder temperatures but strong winds and rain!  I must be odd because I liked the snow. I’m not saying I would like it all the time or even for six months of the year but it tends to mean high pressure which in turn means sunnier and less windy weather so going out in that, as long as you're dressed sensibly, I find enjoyable and it makes the landscape look more picturesque.

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Knowing the thaw was on the way and we were unlikely to get this amount of snow again for a while I took the opportunity to continue looking around for tracks in the snow to help me build up a picture of what is where and when regarding mammal wildlife in a different location from previously.  I wanted to first visit the area where in previous years (Early Easter Bunny), taken photographs of Rabbits though last year they’d seemed to have vanished.  It started of promising with plenty of tacks around – Roe Deer, Foxes and the Rabbits – the latter clearly showing nocturnal.  The Foxes were clearly after the Rabbits as their tracks intersected or followed their prey.  In previous years, both these animals were often, and in the case of the Rabbits, usually seen in the day, but I saw neither.  Without the benefit of the snow, I would have found it difficult to have seen signs that they were still in the area and get an idea of their numbers.

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Rabbit tracks mingling with a Foxes

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Image showing tracks of both Rabbit and Foxes going in and around the warren – insert from last year (abandoned)

At one of my favourite warren locations (above), where last year it was abandoned, there were now signs that at least a few Rabbits had taken up residence again, if not in the numbers they had previously been.  This will certainly be worth visiting again in and around April when the young start poking their head out.  The tend to be less experienced and shy and so easier to photograph.

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Further exploration found very little life around at all – even the influx of dog walkers didn’t materialise.  I tend to carry around some tempting goodies in the hope to attract the wildlife at this time of year which also helps them in this time of need, mealworm and seed which I usually leave in a few spots, continue walking around and then revisiting these areas an hour or so later.  The former had surprisingly little success (it usually brings in a Robin), but the latter did and I managed to finish the day with a few images.  Looks like though, I'll finish the season off without any of the iconic winter images I set out to get at the beginning of the year.

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