Sunday, 18 March 2018

More Snow!

Like many other places in the south west today, it's been snowing here in Seaton from dawn until dusk. One snow event in a year is exceptional enough for us, two is unprecedented! 

The view from my bedroom window late this afternoon

The heavy snow didn't start until about mid morning, and it was amazing to see how quickly the birds reacted to this. Just proves they really do need to be able to feed constantly, and as soon as they realise they can't, sitting it out just isn't an option. They have to move.

I could do nothing more than have sporadic looks outside today, but these have shown incredible numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing flying west, thousands upon thousands, along with several hundred Starling and Golden Plover and smaller numbers of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch plus a single Reed Bunting.  All seen from the centre of town. Incredible scenes.

The passage did seem to dry up mid afternoon, and unlike the last snow event, apart from a few Meadow Pipits there doesn't seem to be many birds struggling for food in gardens. Not a single Redwing in the road I live in late this afternoon, compared to about 500 two weeks ago! So although as things stand, this cold weather period doesn't look to be as severe on birds as the last, the timing is probably a bit worse.

Some local birds will have started nesting now, especially Blackbirds. Disaster for all these early breeders. And then there's the early arriving migrants, small numbers of Wheatears, Sand Martins and Chiffchaffs have already arrived in the UK after a long migration - and they now have to face this. There have been several reports of struggling Chiffchaffs today in particular, and late this afternoon I was deeply saddened to find this in the corner of a carpark in town...

Dead Chiffchaff
Sorry mate, you didn't quite make it

This beautiful Chiffchaff probably spent the last week or so traveling hundreds and hundreds of miles as it migrated back towards it's breeding grounds somewhere in the UK. All the obstacles it would have had to overcome, all the energy it would have used up. And all for this. Lying dead in the snow in Seaton. So so sad.

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