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Lovely deep snow on Pittern Hill – just missed this passing animal by a hare’s breadth… that’s a clue if you want to know who made these nice fresh snowprints…

Lots of deer footprints and plenty more hare marks to be seen. But few birds of note – just one redwing between Pittern Hill and Combrook. But a pair of red kites over at Compton Verney and for a while both were perched atop a tall isolated tree.

The snow has a very different composition on top of the hill compared to down in the village – much more powdery, and all the hedges coated in spiky rime.

PS… The phrase ‘hare’s breath’ is a malapropism which is commonly used by people who mean ‘a hair’s breadth’. While ‘hare’s breath’ at least makes sense, other variations of this malapropism, such as ‘hair’s breath’ are totally illogical. The confusion about this phrase reflects a common problem with homophones in the English language: because ‘hair’ and ‘hare’ and ‘breath’ and ‘breadth’ sound so similar, people sometimes mix the words up when they are writing, especially if they have never seen the phrase written out before. Got it?

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Two hundred miles from Kineton but definately worth a mention…!

I was up in the Lake District last week and was left gobsmacked/speechless/slightly shaking with excitement (delete as appropriate) when a pine marten (the Holy Grail for British wildlife watchers) clambered up a tree less than ten metres away from me! At first I thought red squirrel (having seen one two days before) but it was immediately obvious this was no Tufty. Even better, it climbed the tree, came back down, went up again and then climbed the next trunk. The experts are already on the case… I’ve had excited emails from Cumbria and there’s hope my sighting will lead to night camera traps being set up in the vicinity.

Two years ago it was announced that the first English pine martens to be seen for a hundred years had been spotted in deepest Shropshire… so my sighting is likely to be significant. And just two weeks ago I had actually been over in Shropshire to spend an evening with their pine marten team – checking their cameras whilst looking out for the proverbial needle in a haystack… The cameras are tripped every night by mice, hedgehogs, deer, badgers, etc and – just very, very occasionally – a pine marten. In fact, they reckon that since they were installed two years ago, on average only 1 in every 2,500 video clips has been triggered by a pine marten! But their patience has been rewarded with some glorious short clips.

Roger

Giant puff balls!! Delicious when fried up with bacon – and one lasts two or three days! Only the second time I’ve ever come across these so I’m sure I did a little dance when we found them.

Also, look out for the huge fairy ring on the left hand side of the road up to Burton Dassett – there are so many horse mushrooms it looks like it has been snowing. Again, tasty when fried up…