The snow has now gone, and the sun has returned to give a bright blue sky Sunday - so we're all back to the glum normality of life, following the smiling friendliness after the snowfall. OK, some of us may bear the scars of trips and slips on the ice, and some businesses may be the poorer for missing a week's trade, but at least it gave us all something to talk about.
Back to normality then - let's see what's still the same:
Each year for the past three years there has been a kittiwake perched on the flagpole at the end of Deal pier, and sure enough one was there today. Is it the same one? Stumpy the turnstone returns each winter, so maybe the kittiwake does the same?
Kestrels nest each year on Kingsdown's cliffs. I haven't seen one there for a few months (if I were more assiduous with my record-keeping, I could say precisely how many months) but today a male had arrived, mewling from the usual ledge, then flying down to the ground to chew a morsel.
In the garden, the male blackcap maintains his vigil, keeping other birds off his suet supply. If small birds need to consume 30% of their body weight each day to stay alive, I think he's over-eating....he's quite a porker now.
The run of northerly winds has brought a lot of rubbish onto the beach, from lobster pots to far-eastern toothpaste tubes. However much we clean from the beach, there's plenty more to replace it.
Conclusion : despite unusual events, things soon return to normal.
Except that sometimes something special and out-of-the ordinary does happen...... in the hide at Pegwell Bay yesterday, sheltering from the rain that preceded today's sun, I met Phil Milton for the first time; his reports were among those on the Planet Thanet website that reawakened my interest in birds and the natural world over four years ago, and it's been this long before I could thank him.
In his usual enthusiastic way, he managed to entertain and educate in misty wet conditions that would usually drive one home to the dry and warm. Not only that, he managed to explain the differences between Caspian and herring gulls, finding examples out on the mud.
For me, however, the most impressive sight was the Sandwich tern overwintering among winter gulls and waders - presumably the same bird has been present for the last 19-20 years.