Out this morning after the first night in many without any snowfall. Prestwick Carr is frozen and covered in 18 inches of compacting snow but fortunately the ditches are only partly iced over giving birds a chance to feed and drink. The Rabbits also seem to take advantage of this and their tracks are very evident all over this ice which I suppose is easier to walk on then the deep snow. Other tracks evident are Pheasant, Coot and Moorhen along with a smaller version which I would imagine is Water Rail. Lots of doggy prints too unfortunately so can't identify any Fox movements unless we get another covering.
I think this is Moorhen dragging the front toe as usual. The most numerous birds were Blackbird and Fieldfare with Wren, Robin and Yellowhammer putting in a good show and a small flock of Lapwing also present. No geese for the goose count which is hardly suprising given the lack of any grazing.
A Deer was 'snuggled' down beside the fence as I passed the wood and looked pretty much at ease with my presence as were the Robins on the bridge near the golf course where I put some food out in payment for the photo opportunities.
As I returned a Mistle Thrush peered out from the hedgerow as it protected its bush from marauding Fieldfare and Redwing. I've decided Redwing are annoying as I got focused on at least six this morning only for them to fly at the very instant I took the shot! Even the Mistle Thrush managed to move its head.
Then, as I passed Mayfair Cottage a Barn Owl passed just feet in front of me, did once round the garden then back into the copse nearby and off over the fields. Hunting at 9.30am shows times are hard but Richard the goat man advises me the bird had been aroound most evenings and has taken mice from around the sheds so this bird has clearly learned to forage nearer habitation to get success. I wish it well and would feed live mice if I could.