Why ice can be nice
It's been an eye-wateringly cold start to 2009. However this has led to some glorious crisp days and with the sun low in the sky it brings out all the shapes and contours of the surrounding countryside. If you take a camera out with you it makes for some great photo opportunities.
Like many rivers my local, the Sirhowey river in Caerphilly, froze over creating strange formations and intricate ice patterns.
I spent a good few hours walking up the river taking it all in with just a hungry grey wagtail for company. As well as the visual transformation there's nothing quite like the sound of walking on ice for sheer enjoyment of the crunching and crackling that one gets.
The big freeze has meant that many birds are now coming to bird feeders looking for an easy meal. Birds that would usually stay away from gardens have been pouring in and it's been a real treat over the festive period to see a myriad of our feathered friends. These include a posse of long-tailed tits (that look like lollipops!), a Zorro-like nuthatch and even a woodpecker turned up.
Continuing the bird theme, be sure to check out the recent Natural World: Cuckoo programme on iPlayer. The cuckoo is one of nature's true hustlers and con-artists and this programme looks into tricks the cuckoo employs and the science behind it - magic.