Whilst most people are tucked up warm inside their living rooms, watching Britains Got (No) Talent or Strictly Come Prancing, I am sat here cursing the bloody snow! There are two reasons for this. Firstly, why couldn't the snow come during term time so that we could all have a few days off? Secondly, and most importantly of all, it means I can't get out and mist net.....well, technically I can, but I chose not to.
During this cold weather, we have been out to the feeding stations daily to keep them topped up so that the birds have a plentiful supply of food to aid their survival (keeping warm on nights that reach -13 degrees - as they have here on Merseyside - is an energy expensive exercise). We have ringed decent, although by no means spectacular, numbers of Goldcrest so far this winter, but weather like this will surely take its toll on the population.
With our scheduled trip to Brook Vale this morning called off - Neil Diamond reported -10 degrees on his car in Norris Green - a lie in (until 9am - the latest I have slept since....[insert pre-2009 date here]) was had, before a trip to ASDA to get some loaves (no fishes) and we headed down to Crosby Marina to see if we could snaffle a few Coot. Unfortunately, there was quite a lot of open water on the Marina and only about forty Coot, split between the frozen boating lake and the Marina. Almost straight away, I was able to grab a Coot, but after that they were too wary - I assume they were quite well fed and easily bossed out of the way by the Canada's. Despite the warriness, it looked to improve until dogs - not on leads - did their best to flush the birds. You would think that people would have the common sense to keep their dogs on leads during these conditions, not only to protect their dogs from going through the ice, but also to show consideration for the birds that need to feed. And yes, we had left Canela at home - responsible dog owners see! We finished with one Coot and one Mallard (we also had a Canada, but realised we didnt have any rings so we went and picked some up from Ian for next time).
With any luck, the air temp will rise over the next few days, but the forecast isn't so favourable. I'll keep circulating the feeding stations to keep things topped up in the meantime. If the mist netting remains off, I expect to be out trying to catch more Coot...