The last month of winter looks set to be the coldest of all with temperatures plummeting below -11 degrees centigrade this week. I know many people want to avoid snow disruptions over the weekend but I'm hoping for at least a little snow in the next few days.
First thing yesterday morning I was at Brockholes nature reserve admiring the frost covered trees and the inch thick ice on the large lake. It was absolutely beautiful and I wish I'd taken my camera along for some good close up shots. Despite the bitterly cold temperatures (even in scarf, gloves, coat and boots) there was wildlife to see. Swans, geese and ducks were negotiating the sheets of ice near the unfrozen river and the bird table was covered in finches, tits, and a few bigger surprises like pheasant and a crow.
When cold hits the country its tempting to close the door tight and snuggle up inside in the warm but it's a great time to get out and see wildlife at its harshest and most impressive. The battle for survival against the cold forces lots of of normally shy animals into the open so you might even see more than normal-if you brave the cold.
And even though the Big Garden Birdwatch is over for another year don't forget to keep filling your bird feeders. It's also brilliant if you put some fresh, unfrozen water out for them too as it's hard to find in when it's so cold. These little things could mean the difference between life and death for your local birds so it's well worth doing!