Monday, February 13, 2012

Hoar Frost

Well it had already snowed a week ago and the snow hadn't gone anywhere but we still weren't expecting the temperatures to drop as low as they did. This is only the second hoar frost i've seen, both here in Northampton.

We headed straight out for a walk with temperatures around -14 to - 15c, luckily there was very little breeze. That said it was still bitterly cold and we'd hurried our way out so only lasted around 30 minutes before heading back. On the brief walk around the back we did however capture some reasonable images of the hoar frost:

That's our house:

Seeing the frost this deep is amazing:

A pale yellow light was cast by the rising sun:

Though a shallow sun so not reaching most of the landscape:

The birds were soon chattering and moving around. Even with down feathers I imagine these kinds of temperatures are really hard work on all our wildlife:

As we headed back in it was snowing frost as the temperature headed towards -6c that wasn't enough for the frost to retain its structure. We timed it well. Another hour and most of it was gone.


Monday, February 06, 2012

A cold snap

The first real wintery weather struck over the weekend. With the forecast of snow for the late afternoon we went out for a walk around Ravensthorpe Reservoir. We were shocked at how low the water leves are. Huge areas of mud are exposed, due no doubt to the long-term drought we are experiencing in this part of the UK.

The cloud cover rolled in early, leading to some pleasant if brief lighting effects in the adjacent woods:

Numbers of ducks and swans were gathered in the few pataches of open water:

All of that exposed area used to be under water. The volume of water absent is quite shocking. I gather Pitsford is down by 50% too and they are now pumping directly from the rivers to replenish the lying water.

You can see the frozen water in some of the feeder streams:

And this is a view from below the reeds, which themselves are normally at least in part submerged:

The bed is so dry it's taken on the look of a drought, though with the unusual addition of ice crystals:

Some birds are still around even now, including Grey Wagtail:

A final look out at the reservoir as the wind picked-up and the air temperature moved from cold to hostile:

Back at home in the garden a familiar friend, the Blue Tit, was hopping from branch to branch:

It did indeed snow, roughly half of what we feared but enough to leave the garden covered:

Some of the birds become bolder when food is harder to come by, including one of the four Robins we have in the garden:

And the Blackbirds - up to fourteen at one point yesterday:

Song Thrushes are frequenting the food now and we were delighted to be visited by two Jays this morning (though camera packed away for the working day). Hopefully the snow will melt and conditions will get back to normal soon. After all, part of the hedge is already back in leaf...