The river Gartemps is completely frozen over in parts and even here where it flows really quickly its beginning to go at the edges as you can see.
Balloo still thinks he can go in for a splash around though .... no chance matey, look as longingly as you like but you're staying just where you are!
Its lovely to see the sun out, making the fresh, crisp snow positively glisten and I just love the crunchy feeling under-foot as I walk and that hint of warmth on my face. Could have done with sunglasses this morning it was that bright!
I disturbed a Common Snipe (right) and a Woodcock (left)during my trek out, both long billed birds (the latter is often shot at) that really struggle to penetrate the ground and therefore feed in cold snaps. Snipes are usually to be found probing around on the edges of ponds whilst Woodcock favour the forest floor but in weather like this they can often be seen in unusual places such as roadsides or even gardens as they search for soft ground to probe.
On the way back up the hill to La Macherie I was trying (unsuccessfully) to photograph a couple of Wrens when I noticed this Blackbird sunning itself on one of the few bits of earth not covered in snow ..... he wasn't giving up that spot for anybody, never flinched a feather as I walked right up to him. Ok, probably one of the commonest birds in France, especially at this time of the year but even the most ubiquitous of birds can look good in the right light!
Later on in the day I managed to capture a few decent photographs of Long Tailed Tits as I walked along a hedgerow just outside the village, again a common enough bird but in the right light ....
In actual fact I spent nearly 20 minutes and took maybe 30 pics trying to get some good shots and by the end of it my fingers were so numb with cold I had to give up but these 3 shots came out pretty nicely. The big problem was that although they were quite close they were flitting about like mad in a very twiggy tree which meant that many of the shots were obscured .... ah but it's all in the challenge and worth nearly getting frostbite!
Well I've just succeeded in raising the temperature in my kitchen to 10 degrees C with the aid of both paraffin and electric heaters so time to leave my cosy lounge and cook some food!
I leave you with another nice sunset, yesterday it was Askam Bryan, Yorkshire ... today is an equally chilly La Macherie sundown .....