It was 6 am, dark. I leapt out of bed and looked through the window, no snow! I go back to a warm bed disappointed like a child expecting a day off school but not getting it. I could have stamped my feet but its difficult when you’re in bed and it causes a serious draft! They promised snow, not just snow, but heavy snow!! I checked my phone and find that snow is not forecast until 8.00am. I obviously hadn’t read the forecast very carefully yesterday! I laughed to myself, how boring things would be, if weather forecasts were that accurate. What would we British have to talk about? I set an alarm clock in my head for 8.00am and drifted back to sleep.
I am awake now it 8.05 am. I suddenly remember why my brain alarm clock has woken me up. I leap from bed and look through the window, it’s snowing. I make a mental note to apologise to the met office regarding my early morning cursing of their inaccurate predictions. I’m happy, I like snow. Armed with binoculars, camera and recorder and stout walking boots, thick socks, I dash from House.
I want to know what the village looks like before the virgin snow is spoiled by foot, paw and tyre. I also want to know, what do sparrows think of this snow? The snow is now falling in large 50 pence flakes and melting into the fibres of my woolly hat. My task is to wander the village and listen, take photographs and check out anything that might be of interest.
I say listen because listening is one of the much underrated skills of the naturalist. I walk to the roost site of the Old School Sparrow Clan. I pass the three foot hedge (Have I told you about this? later later!) on route from the back door. The hedge is empty, well actually only empty of sparrows. A male blackbird sits quietly on top and a robin rests inside. They too, visit the 3 foot hedge, after all, its not the sole property of the sparrows
I hear that satisfying crunch of fresh snow under walking boot. It’s like the first bite into a crunchie. The sparrows are at home, still roosting, but they a little subdued. They are not full of their usual muddled joyous twittering.
So I am now walking the village street. The matched tracks, small paw and big foot, cross my path here and there. Dog walkers round here are keen! Having checked a hedge or two for activity I make my way to the roost site of the Bayley Hills (that is Bayley not Beverly!) clan. They too are not committed to their early morning choral service but sit resigned in their mixed hedge and small tree roost.
The Blind Corner Clan is relatively quiet. I walk on. The Village Hall Clan, despite access to a wonderful village hall conservation area, are not in the best of Christmas spirits either. So that leaves the Mac Clan (aptly named because my friend Mac lives nearby. Both he and his good lady wife love the birds in their garden). This particular sparrow roost is the noisiest of them all, but given the relative performances of sparrows at roost this morning, that is not saying much! So it seems, that from this morning’s investigations, Sparrows, unlike me, just don’t like snow!