Overnight the thaw had set in , turning the snow slushy and forming almost small streams down the lanes . I found several small Finch and Tit flocks , but nothing unusual amongst them . Also
found were several 'foreign' Blackbirds , like the one pictured , lacking the orange bill and eye ring . Three Redwings were found in a large Holly , but no chance of a shot , they were gone before I could get the camera out . About the only other species found was the Robin , even if , like this one , looking a bit dishevelled around the edges . Heading home through the woods , the glare of the white snow was subdued in one area , by the needles of European Larch . This is one of only three conifers that drop their needles in Winter . The other two are the Swamp Cypress , a native of around the Gulf of Mexico , and the Dawn Redwood which was thought to be extinct for some hundred million years , until found in SW China in the 1940s .
Today I set off for Down House to do the delayed bird survey . Being higher , the site was engulfed in a wet , cold mist , necessitating the runway lights to be on at the adjacent Biggin Hill Airport . 15 species was all that could be mustered and nothing better than 2 Fieldfares over and a confiding Nuthatch at head height and 3 metres away . The confiding part ended as I got the camera out , and it flew off calling , exactly what I couldn't quite make out , but I do know what I called it . In the Sandwalk woodland , I came across a female Roe Deer , which bolted for the mist , before turning for a look . Down on the large meadow , I came across another two , but they didn't hang around either . I late found all three on the edge of the golf course , but once again , they were gone in a flash .
Yet another senior moment . Thank you to Julian for pointing out that the Deer are in fact Fallow and not Roe . No excuse , but this is my first , thanks to Julian , recording of this species on site .
The only other interest was on the main lawn behind the house , where 10 Grey Squirrels were seen together on a snow free area under a large Yew . Must have been holding a convention .
Finally got down the bottom of the garden this afternoon , to find a big old multi stemmed Damson tree filling the bottom corner , having collapsed under the weight of snow . So that was me sorted for a couple of hours .
Writing this , the 16'' of snow is now down to 2'' and the 'snow-o-meter' has returned to being a bird bath again . They said we would get a thaw , but I didn't expect this , not that I'm complaining .