Much of the country is in the grip of the earliest snow blanket that I can remember, but so far we've just had a couple of centimetres here.
Even so it is pretty cold with the wind coming from an uncharitable ENE at about 20mph. The temperature remained at about -1 or -2 deg C all day, and Chapel Lane was pretty slippery when I went to the shop this morning.
The Village Pond is completely frozen over and of course all the Mallards have disappeared. With the rather harsh lopping of the tree and vegetation clearance the area looks rather sparse at the moment, but hopefully it will look rather more interesting when there is some new growth next spring.
Today heralded a new era for the village shop with a change of management. They are changing the opening times to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week, which will be a big help to me on Sundays when I used to forget the shop closed at lunch time and then I'd run out for milk for my morning tea! I wish them luck as I think it important that the shop flourishes in the village.
In the garden there are still a lot of berries, but there are still no Waxwings to take advantage of them, I'm still hoping that one or more will arrive while stocks last.
The number of Chaffinches seems to have increased and today there were quite few feeding on the seeds that the other birds drop from the feeders above them.
I've set up a couple of feeders about four feet from the lounge windows and providing I'm not moving about the birds feed happily undisturbed.
Chaffinch have the the Latin name coelebs, derived from the Latin from bachelor. It was given by the great father of Taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, who saw only male chaffinches in his native Sweden, females from its northern breeding grounds winter further south.
The charming Dunnock is still a common bird in the garden, but it is now on the amber list for conservation because of recent decline in the breeding population (1996-2001). In my early days of bird watching the Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow wasn't a bird that visited garden feeders, but in recent years they have learned to take advantage of feeding stations.