...as I set off at 9am for a very bracing and occasionally sleeted on walk.
London Road lake was very lively as I went by on the cycle path. Large amounts of yarking squawking black headed gulls fighting over a single flake of bread, moorhens and coots, a Great Crested Grebe and many many mallards dabbling furiously as if they know the ice is on the way.
Feeling brave but still frustrated I can't run on my gammy leg, I walked the whole length of Clay Lane, happy that colder weather has temporarily at least driven away the fly tippers. Along here, unconfirmed because as you know I'm a rubbish birdspotter I think I spotted my first two redwing of the winter, alas not close enough. I did however have a lovely view of an unselfconscious female blackbird in beautiful condition stuffing herself with haws like she'd never heard of Britains Next Top Model.
Over Beacon Hill estate a Coromorant flew, high. Unusual sight there, but on Beacon Hill reserve the flocks of Chaffinches were not so. Also a pretty little flock of Long Tailed Tits - are they never not pretty? - was working through the woodland on the edge of the site. The Chaffinches are all puffed up for winter like blushing little pom poms.
Greenfinch still all but invisible.
As I came to the marina on the river, I was greeted by the most interesting sight of all. A Kestrel was working the fields and bushes on the edge of the marina, hovering with intent before sliding out of stationary like a sharp knife over the top of a block of butter to perhaps a more promising location before commencing to hover again, tale splayed, wings making whipped cream with the air.
It was a great spot to take to my usual museum tea and twitter session! I become more of a gentleman with every passing day.