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Minus 11 celsius in Helmsley

The decision to fit winter tyres on the car left me with some time to walk around Helmsley. With the temperature so low I was interested to find how the local birdlife is coping. I had only just left the garage when I heard Waxwings. A flock of twelve descended to a hawthorn very close to me giving some remarkable views. The flock soon departed but I caught up with them again near the A170 bridge. They shared a supply of hawthorn berries with some Blackbirds and several Redwings. All the birds in the hedge were puffed up to the extreme. The Blackbirds and Redwings were looking very sluggish, hardly moving and gaining what warmth they could by sitting in the strong early sunshine. I had super views of the Waxwings again in bright sunshine but I couldn’t help feeling for these birds as they fight to survive the extreme cold. I thought about the length of the night they must survive, roosting at about 4pm and waking at about 7am they had just endured a bitter night 15 hours long culminating in a temperature of at least minus 11 celsius- astonishing.

Puffed up Waxwings- watercolour in sketchbook

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