Friday, 8 January 2010


Its been a very long cold period, we have had two good snow falls, one I reported before Xmas, and now this lastest fall.  This now now been added to by Frost and Ice with a big drop in temperature.  Last night at 1800hrs coming through Churchill in North Somerset I recorded a temperature of minus 9.5 degress C.  I hear that in Scotland its got down to -22 C in places.  The coldest the garden at home has been so far is -6.5 but I never stayed awake to record the temperature in the early hours, so it could have got down even lower than 6.5.  The build up to the Long-eared Owl surveys is going really well, it will only be the weather that ruins it now.  Thanks to so many of our Mendip volunteers who are coming back once again to help with the Mendip survey.  I have spoken to Andy Harris (Quantock Ranger and Forestry Commission) today, so planning for Quantock is now underway. There will be a press release going out soon about the other surveys we are doing so as soon as the release date comes through I will update on this news as well.  I did manage to get out in the weather yesterday, so here are some pictures I took. I thought Dogs might make a change.

View from Blackdown across to Wrington Hill and Bristol International Airport
The Combe below is the famous Burrington Combe where the hymm "Rock of Ages" was written

  Ruby the dog (aka Ruby Doo) samples the Blackdown snowdrifts

 And falls into another

And another!

Ruby and Saffy playing on top of the drifts Note that Saffy looks worried, she can sense the depth better than Ruby.

Lastly. Sunset at Charterhouse, the temperature dropped to minus 6 within 15 minutes of the Sun setting.

I will blog again soon with some wildlife next time, I must admit that I'm not happy to follow starving birds or mammals around with a camera, I think they are stressed enough in these conditions already. I will try using the stealth cams on the Water Voles on Saturday night.


Gaina said...

What lovely dogs :). I take it Ruby has a little Staffie in her? They are great dogs :). Saffy of course is lovely too (don't want her to feel left out! haha).

I'm watching our birds carefully, particularly as the sun comes round to see how active they are and I am please to report that after some sun bathing they are feeding well and active.

I think Fieldfares must be a bit smarter than I gave them credit for because the flock that have been hanging out in my cherry tree realise that if they shook the snow off our small apple tree they could get at the (now soft) apples underneath. The apples were mostly on the snow this morning and looked like they'd been severely 'munched'. :)

Chris Sperring said...

Ruby is, as far I'm concerned a Staffie, although we never knew her parents, she was a dumped puppy who was looked after at Holly Hedge Dog rescue. Saffy is a ????? Nice one on the FF front hope you are filming all this! and have a tripod, saying that I'm tripod lazy sometimes. We now have both FF and Redwings and one lone Song Thrush. And Whoopee we have two House Sparrows! The Whoopee is meant by the way.

Jenny Holden said...

Hey Chris, hope the kids are enjoying the snow and their snow days! Dogs look happy but I'll bet Ruby was rather chilly with that thin coat of hers. Fox and Whisper have been loving it. The beavers have been out a little bit in the snow but are fairly inactive. Min temp I've recorded so far was -16C! Sheep are doing just fine though :o)
Look after yourselves xx

Chris Sperring said...

Hi Jen and Chris.
Last year Ruby did have a dog coat, but she does not seem to need it this year. I think probably as she has more fat covering and is bigger in build than last year, anyway she showed no signs of being cold. We walked from bottom of Burrington to L and K's which would take 30 mins, it took us 3 and half hours! I was'nt cold in fact too hot jumping through all the drifts. The WV's at Portbury are still very active with droppings on ice, and movement well away from the ditches. C U Soon.

Anonymous said...

Just been listening to a Long Eared Owl.(9pm at night.) It is in the area of the Ham, between the Gorge and the Testing Station in Cheddar. I have blackbirds, robin and long tailed tits. My twenty sparrow seem to be reduced to about two. Strangely, the birds aren't taking much food or nuts. Perhaps they are well fed in this area.