Friday, January 8

Seize the day - looking with different sight

Don't know if you spotted it, but we've had a bit of snow recently.

Hereabouts its nothing like the heaps of stuff that the rest of the country continue to suffer. But in East Dorset, and near to the coast, the local micro climate isn't conducive to the white stuff appearing. And when it does it tends not to hang around for very long.

Even rarer is this continual period of low temperature. Something that has been with us for so long that popping outdoors in -2C feels positively balmy at present.

Today's free day (hurrah-finally a day's holiday) is to be spent exploring a local spot near Ringwood, just off side from the the Avon Valley Footpath. An area of open common land, forest, and water pools.

Its not a very long circular wander. However it does have the benefit of being rarely visited both due to the location & the fact that its a path that doesn't actually go anywhere, except back to its starting point.

But a deliberate choice on my part. Large areas of snow covered ground, and no car tracks or human footprints to disturb the flat white surface. A rare opportunity to investigate the various and bountiful animal tracks that today are hard frozen into the snow, recording tales of recent animal activity.

I'd never realised that rabbits keep to such regular routes, even when crossing open land. But the little pounded pathways formed by their many distinctive prints tell their own tale.

I see a few deer tracks in an area where I've never spotted them before. Something to look out for more carefully now I know they are present.

Near the frozen lake a slow brown buzzard barely bothers to move off beyond my eye line. Keeping to the low branches to search avidly today for something, anything, to make a meal.

However the little egret, stark white against the backdrop of long dead reeds, remains wary. The short area of open water, but a minuscule portion of the thickly iced lake, makes for a lacklustre fishing ground.

Another predator likely to find failure as the aquatic world remains in safe hibernation. A natural reaction to the plunging temperature.

A walk with a rare difference.

An unique opportunity to catch a glimpse into the local routines of Nature.

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