The weekend snow has left Minsmere looking even more picturesque than ever. The snow is criss-crossed by the trails of rabbits, muntjacs, red deer, foxes, pheasants, moorhens and a variety of smaller birds. There is a clear patch around each low bush, especailly gorse, where the rabbits have been busy browsing, with the grass remaining innaccessible below the snow.
The feeders around the visitor centre have been a hive of activity, with large flocks of tits, finches and blackbirds vying with the robins, pheasants and grey squirrels for access to the seeds. In the woods, flocks of redwings, fieldfares and other thrushes are searching among the leafl litter for any tasty morsels. There have also been several sightings of a typical bird of snowy conditions, the woodcock.
Although much of the Scrape is frozen, there are open water patches on both East and South Scrapes, where the water is more salty. At least 11 smews have been there today, among good numbers of the common ducks. Waders have, predictably, mostly headed to the unfrozen stretches of nearby estuaries, but a few lapwings, dunlins and curlews remain. So, too, does Fiona. It seems very strange to be watching a flamingo wading along the edge of the ice, but she seems to be feeding well so let's hope she survives the cold.
With the cold weather, our flock of tundra bean geese has returned to the Levels, while the Bewick's swans move between Island Mere and their favoured field alongside the Westleton to Dunwich road, where they are feeding on sugar beet tops.
With the cold weather set to continue, Minsmere may remain a snowy winter wonderland for a few more days yet.
Fox, rabbit and muntjac tracks in the snow
I am looking forward to coming to Minsmere in the better weather.