I said it befor and I say it again; winter is on its return! Sure, there will be plenty of cold left, but something has definitely changed. There is a change in the air. A softness, a smell, a vibe... don't know how to describe it, but it's there. I think we are entering what in Sweden is known as the fifth season; vårvinter. We have had a short period of thaw again and right now it's freezing a bit.... but there is more thaw predicted for next week with temperatures around 5C during the day and double digit minustemperatures at night. That will create dangerous conditions on the roads! It seems that the thawperiods are following up on each other faster.
I actually do not like this kind of weather. The air is cold and filled with moisture, the days are gray and I feel cold all day. I prefer temperatures to be below -5, because than I stop being cold. Strange, isn't it?
Speaking of cold.... I really need to get this footwearissue tackled by next winter. That and some other issues on the opposite side of my body... I have missed out on way too much outtime, this year! At least rising temperatures mean I can use the boots I have right now. Downside is that a) the Dutch army boots are very slippery, when cold and an icy surface does not help and neither do these slipoverthings with spikes in them. They give your cramped up legmuscles with prolonged use... or b) there's plenty of water to go around, erasing the possibility of using my huntingboots, which still need one of the soles to be fixed.... They're actually not meant for winteruse either, so they're a bit too small for use with thick socks.
Apart from that I have allready decided to go for the old days-option; footrags. Reading the accounts of both the old days and current ones, I think they will be a much better solution.
On 15 februari we saw a small birds with white heads and long tails at our feedingplace; they were stjärtmes (Aegithalos caudatus). At one time there were 4 of them together, but then they quickly moved off and we did not see them again. So Annalena was right after all. On 16 februari there was a lot of movement in the tall pine in front of the house. Larger brown birds with a distinct plume of feathers on the head and a black face mask . It was a group of at least 8 sidensvans (Bombycilla garrulus), but there were probably more scattered in the trees around the house. They were also quick to disappear.
Yesterday I noticed we have had some more unusual visitors. The flowerpot and dish, next to the deerfeeder had been turned over, allthough it had been frozen to the surface and the snow underneath and around the feeder was turned over and brownish, indicating debris and soil had become mixed in. That must have been a strong animal. Looking at the tracks I was a little surprised to find moosetracks so close to the house! And not just one, but 2 different ones, too. One print was about 11cm across and the other 9cm. A cow and a yearling maybe? They had been wandering through our garden, trudged along our kitchenwindow and frontdoor, less that 4 meters away. I also found some urinemarks in our backyard, distinctly different than the ones from the roedeer. Larger orangy-brown stains.
And just now I had the amazing opportunity to see a bird of prey sitting right in front of the kitchenwindow and I can now identify the bird of prey I saw earlier. It most certainly is a stenfalk. It's size, dark grey coat and the white underside with the reddish brown tinge give it away. It just had made a kill; a blåmes, one of the many birds around the feedingarea. Offcourse, where there is prey you'll find predators. I looked at it for a short while, but when I moved to get my camera it took off.... damn...