Rural Reading: Nature’s tracks left in the snowBy Adrian Lawson
January 25, 2013
Well you can imagine how pleased I am that we have proper snow at last.
I was out walking when it started falling last week, and for a couple of hours it felt as though I was in the Arctic.
The snow soon covered the ground, and the visibility was down to 50 yards or so.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, you don’t get the chance to walk in weather like that very often.
Once home I sat with a mug of tea and watched the birds coming in to the garden.
The snow meant that a lot of food was covered and hungry birds converged on my garden from the surrounding neighbourhood.
The following day I made my way to a place I guessed nobody would have been, a path not marked on any map, and rarely used by any people.
Sure enough the originators of the path had been using it during the night.
The prints of roe and muntjac deer, fox and badger were easy to see.
What was really good was being able to follow the animals to see what they had been up to.
Places where they had stopped and fed, where the deer had nibbled bramble leaves, where the fox had dug something out from under the snow, were easy to see.
In the open ground near some old gravel works the rabbits had been out in force, leaving random trails all over the snow, and signs of digging down into the snow to nibble the grass.
As the day wore on I passed the meadows between the Kennet and the Holy Brook.
The water is still flowing across these fields, despite there being no rain for ages.
The water hadn’t frozen and it had attracted all sorts of birds – meadow pipits, wagtails, fieldfare, redwing, lapwing, common gulls, snipe and teal were all abundant.
There were a couple of little egrets almost invisible in the snow, and grey herons sitting hunched against the cold.
As the light faded and the air got colder, geese – greylags and Canada – flew in to feed.
It is a rare event to get so much snow, but sadly there doesn’t appear to be any more.
I would love another month or so of this.