December 20, 2009

This week in wildlife

The drowned grass can still be seen beneath the puddles in the fields. In some, the ice has frozen and refrozen in oblique panes. Near the pond the sedge is white with ice crystals flowering into impossible, tiny shapes. Half the water is skinned with ice; the wind rucks up the rest into wavelets that lap the shelf of ice and freeze there, thickening it.

A hundred or so mallards swim there, turning restlessly, and we flushed a snipe from the field edge, his beak heavy and improbable, like a probe or an awl. The air was sparklingly cold and the views went on for ever.

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