Weather watchers soon nicknamed this front The Beast From the East although towards the end of the week it had also combined with a European storm called Emma - much less fierce sounding but the one that hit us with the most snow.
One advantage of the freezing temperatures and the ground being covered was some new visitors to the gardens. Photos appeared everywhere of people seeing fieldfares and redwings for the first time. And where the little birds feed the bigger birds follow with sparrow hawks and buzzards being seen brazenly sitting on fences and sheds.
I made a point of putting out more food each day, topping it up and keeping the water from freezing.
Watching the birds it was interesting to see their behaviour change. The robin who would normally see off any other robin reserved its energy - at one point we had three in the garden - the blackbirds stopped chasing each other for a few days too. But bring in a few outsiders and the dynamics changed again. The robin took exception to a male blackcap who appeared one afternoon, the jackdaws saw off a stray gull and the blackbirds and a fieldfare fought it out over an apple - the fieldfare arrived on the second day of snow and having found some apple stood guard over it for the next few days.
As the snow eventually thawed and the visitors disappeared back to the woods and the fields the garden became calm again and the regular birds went back to the job in hand - spring!