We had a dry fresh day to start of the New Year, but the weather was soon to change.
It was back to hard frost again; and by the end of the first week the mercury had plummeted to eight degrees below, with ice forming at the water’s edge and the ground rock solid the birds were beginning to struggle a bit. It was a case of putting out plenty of extra feeding about the place to help them out a bit during this tough time for them.
This weather continued for a few days until it got a bit milder, but then we got a hit of snow! We did eventually get some decent days for the time of year, during this spell we caught up with some hedge cutting, using the tractor and flail to get around it where possible.
Once the ice got a shift from the ponds it was good to see a few Kingfishers back about the place enjoying feeding on the smaller fishes from around the edges. Overnight on the 23rd/24th we were hit by a storm; the mild temperature and heavy rain with it fairly shifted the snow up on the high ground, this was to result in a rapidly rising river and put a fair bit of spate onto the system. At one point it had risen over 11 feet on the SEPA gauge up at our Cargill rod beat.
There was more time spent bailing out boats and clearing big bits of drift from the mooring lines. Along the estuary there was not a lot of change to the wild life to report on from last month; Beaver and Otter activity is still present.
We still have no Whoopers! Teal, Goldeneye, Redshank and Long Tailed Tit numbers were all similar, but we are seeing a few more Oyster Catchers about.
As the first month of 2018 drew to a close the weather was still cold, the big spate on the river was easing off a bit, and the daffodils were beginning to break through the ground in some of the south facing sheltered areas.