Still all iced up - 'O' res for a change - no open water at all here:
After the problems with the access road yesterday the Treatment Works arranged for the road to be cleared using Dobson's 360:
The depth of snow can be seen from the cut down to tarmac again:
This means that Tophill is accessible again by conventional car - although huge care is needed as the rest of the road from the A164 is still iced over:
The car park is still under 10" of snow:
Freezing fog descending on Watton Carrs at 3.37pm:
Birdwise I did not get out today, but 4 possibly 5 brambling were on the feeders. If you fancy a look the centre is closed tomorrow, but should be open all day Thursday to Sunday.
Unfortunately the wildlife is now starting to suffer. On my drive over the wolds yesterday morning I saw a tawny owl hunting the roadside in broad daylight, and our barn owls are hunting continuously. A look on the Ryedale Wildlife rehab blog shows that the casualties are starting to come in.
Equally I noticed many covey's of grey partridges searching for food on the fields of the access road. When I picked the other half up from work at a school she presented me with this red-legged partridge:
'Terry' as was christened by the kids who found it in the middle of the school playing fields. After attempting to inspect the bird and subsequently chasing it around the spare room it could obviously fly and run fine - but clearly suffering from starvation and cold. A quick chat with Jean Thorpe of RWR confirmed that she currently has 6 in a similar state.
We'll hang on to Terry and feed him up before releasing him at the reserve.
Looking forward to 'winter' (!) we have a few events coming up. The mammal safari is still scheduled to take place on Sunday and should be good if there is still snow about - book in advance on 01377 270690 - free with normal admission from 1-3pm.
The reserve will be open all of the Christmas period even though the wildlife centre may not.
On January the 1st we will be holding the year listing event again. Hopefully we will build on the '09 total of 69 species, and '10 total of 72. Starting from 9am with some informal walks and tally keeping.
Regular Maurice Gordon will also be starting up his Wildlife Photography courses again based from the wildlife centre starting on January the 10th - for full details see his blog.
Likewise Michael Flowers will be restarting his birding courses - details here.