Most wildlife is hunkered down for the duration of the cold spell but a visit to Fryerning Churchyard on 5th produced evidence of a good deal of mammal activity the previous night as the snow was crisscrossed with the tracks of Fox, Rabbit, Brown Hare, Fallow and Muntjac Deer, Brown Rat, Grey Squirrel, Stoat or Weasel, and Badger. Unprecedented numbers of Redwing have also been visiting my garden, peaking at 62 on 11th, and they have been stripping everything in the vicinity with a berry attached to it!
On 7th I 'twitched' 6 Goosander on the River Chelmer at Chelmsford, close to the ERO, a regular site during severe weather when they are forced to flee their usual haunts - gravel pits at Great Waltham.
Blue House was bleak to the eye during a visit on 9th and there were few birds on the frozen fleets. At least 200 Skylarks, though, were grubbing a subsistence living in the few patches of bare ground on the seawall and saltings, and there was a Great Northern Diver fishing for crabs in the River Crouch. He had a macabre way of dealing with the larger crabs, revolving the unfortunate gastropod in its bill and neatly nipping off each of its legs in turn until - rendered legless in the most literal sense - it was dispatched stomach-wards with a quick toss of the head!