In some little dips and gullies, the snow drifted to a depth of eighteen inches during the night. I headed out onto the hill in the hope of finding some new tracks, but found that it was actually too deep for the dog. If I were a fox, I would have been spending the day prowling up and down the leeward face of a block of sitka spruces, listening for mice and voles where the snow wasn’t lying in any quantity. During a three mile walk around the bulk of the hill, I didn’t see a single fox track, and the only sign of life on the entire hill was a party of eight reed buntings scuttling gamely through the spindrift, hopping up to pick the last few remaining seeds off the yellow grassheads. It’s a tough life for all the birds on the hill just now, and the snow looks like it’ll be with us for some time. I was sorry not to see any sign of grouse, red or black, but they know better than to be standing conspicuously out in the open on a day when there’s nothing to be gained by it.
On the last two hundred yards back to the car, I came across the tracks of two foxes which had been running together along the boundary fence, ducking back and forth as they threaded their way down towards what remains of the game cover. I will have to keep an eye on those two, but it’s already encouraging to be making plans for 2013’s game cover crop while the snow is still lying a foot deep on last year’s radishes.