Here we are at the end of December 2016 and no sign of any really cold weather, in fact it's not unlike the December of last year, predominantly mild and basically an extended autumn. The only really difference between this December and last December is how dank and gloomy it has been.
The photo below shows the Harty Road (it runs across the marshes to the reserve), in December 2011 and it was the last time that we had snow of any seriousness. To the left is a very deep, near empty ditch that concentrated the mind on not going to fast in the car and sliding off the road. But are winters such as this, now a thing of the past, have four or five autumn months now taken their place?
With bird food purchased it was then back home, sweep 6 inches of snow off of the bird tables and to sit back in the warmth and watch the birds gratefully accepting the life-lines that you'd given them.
Going back to these last two winters, the other event that has not been happening, is normal amounts of rainfall, as I have regularly mentioned this year. Walking away from my car at the reserve barn, this is the sight that I would have seen in many January/February's up until a couple of years ago. Wall to wall flooding that created an arduous walk round for me in wellington boots that were sometimes not high enough and a lot of swimming for my two dogs, but boy, did it attract in many thousands of birds. Ducks, geese, plovers and waders were in such large flocks that it was difficult to count them at times and the wildfowlers waiting on the other side of the sea wall were regularly spoilt for choice when it came to shooting. This morning, and last December, that same view is of unbroken green grass, just some geese and a few ducks, etc. and the ditch water level to the left and right of that gate is three feet below the track.