By way of shaking off the New Year hangover / blues Mrs BW and I left the teenagers sleeping and nipped into the Goyt for a bracing walk. It was chilly and the red grouse, normally further up the hillside were close to the road, even on the side of the road. We forget that what might look pretty to us makes the daily struggle to survive even harder for the birds and other animals that live here.
We were pleased to see the owls out hunting. We have not spotted them for a few weeks. They are such magnificent birds. So quiet and graceful, they use the minimum of effort to hunt following the contours of the hillside catching and working with every breath of wind.
Down in the valley the temperature was a fraction higher and the smaller birds were busy collecting what they could. On the upper reservoir the various ducks littered the surface and a shag dived for fish before noisily flying off in an confusion of water and noise. Far off we heard the harsh cry of a raven and as we crunched our way back up the hill he flew over the frozen pond.
We drove home for tea and toast and the warmth of our centrally heated house, glad that we could and did not have to live out in the wild.