Snow Birding

Post image for Snow Birding

by MartinGarner on December 14, 2010 · 3 comments

in Birding Western Palearctic

I like the Snow! But then I did spend 8 childhood years in Canada, 2 of them in Brandon, Manitoba where temperatures reached down to -40 degrees. Cold- you have no idea! The door would be open to a 9 foot wall of  white- snow drift. Cars would clunk down the road each morning, on their square-shaped wheels with ice ‘corners’. Forget the Burka- no body parts were visible lest frost bite broke through, darting eyes just apparent behind wall to wall layers of clothing.

I love snow! I do. And its great for birding. Cold weather  can provide harsh conditions for birds, so its important to do things. Feed ‘em well in the garden. Don’t disturb them too much.

Cold weather can also provide some wonderful opportunities to see species and behaviours which normally goes unseen and unnoticed in milder conditions. So bring on the Snow Birding!

Some of my highlights from last winter. All these photos taken January 2010, in snow, in Sheffield. Some of them when all I could do was go birding within walking distance of this house. No car could be safely driven anywhere – so ‘bad’ was the weather. Surprising what was out there…

PS Granted they are not Rebecca Nason quality photos – but you get the idea!

Peregrine- city centre

Stock Dove- surprise in city centre in a tree by the Peregrine’s church roost

Jack Snipe- on  one of the only unfrozen stretches of water

Faeroese Snipe- In tiny patch of unfrozen habiat, with Water Rails. The first confirmed Sheffield record of this form (most come from Iceland)

Water Rail- one of 3 with the Snipe

Ring-necked Parakeet- certainly brightens things up!

Whooper Swans- on the lake of our local country park, dropped in fro few hours one morning

Go on- match the photos with the labels!



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  • http://alpinebirds.blogspot.com DaleForbes

    you are setting your sights high, comparing yourself with rebecca, but then again, that swan photo is gorgeous!

  • http://twitter.com/craig_round Craig Round

    Hard weather! You and me both Martin, i think most birders didn’t do much vis mig during the last big freeze Dec/Jan 2009/10, too soft! But it was epic! They don’t know what they were missing! I had record numbers of Lapwing, Golden Plover and Snipe as well as some patch firsts. Found a county first Pine Bunting in the big freeze of 1996! Hard weather movements seemed to be a thing of the past, not anymore! Bring on the snow!

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