A slow thaw has now set in and it is a slow thaw. Yesterday when I went to feed the Tree Sparrows (or lack of them) it was very treacherous with a film of water on top of the ice. As I approached the moss the first bird I had was a Merlin perched on top of a low tree. I stopped to get a better look but unfortunately it flew off.
As I approached the track to the feeding station a female Sparrowhawk 'flap-glided' across the track and on towards Tree Sparrow Wood. Thinking about it, the Sparrowhawk may well have been the reason for the lack of Tree Sparrows this morning as much as the weather.
At the feeding station there were only 34 Tree Sparrows, two Grey Partridges and five each of Blackbird and Chaffinch. Interestingly as I approached the feeding station seven Corn Buntings flew away and these were the first that I have had since the start of the cold snap.
As usual four Yellowhammers were around the Pheasant feeder and ten Lapwings were feeding in the pasture next to the track, presumably trying to feed on the now 'uncovered' sward.
Ian sent me some pictures recently and you will find two of them below. The first one shows 'yours truly' grappling with a Coot and the second a male and female Yellowhammer from a recent ringing session on Rawcliffe Moss.
Barn & Short-eared Owl - Barn Owl Short-eared Owl
6 hours ago