Yesterday was my first free one after my shift, and I celebrated by getting up early, faffing about for two hours with bits and bobs in my flat, and finally heading out on the Coddington route. Few goldfinches about, and on the way up beacon hill, a lot of starlings on the farmland at the top, decorating the power lines like gothic baubles.
I'm not seeing many Yellowhammers in 2012 - normally they are all over the hedges when you go out onto the country, but this year have only seen the odd one. Still seeing plenty of Goldfinches in small flocks.
No sign of flocking Chaffinches yet. They are a common winter sight up at Beacon Hill park.
In the afternoon was a rather sad occasion, my last visit to the Millgate Museum cafe before it's permanent closure at 4.30pm - I rather fancied staying to the grim end but I had other stuff to do. It's been a wonderful place, nice cheap and generous pots of tea with two colour lollipops; little polystyrene bird or butterfly gliders to buy and sit upon my dusty mantlepiece amongst the Quiz League trophies wioth the decals falling off and endless flat batteries.
Everyday I'd sit and watch the river go by, dream of owning a houseboat, and watch the swans, mallards and wagtails - Pied in winter, Grey in spring. The big rusting barge fascinated me, its cloak of many oxidies colours, its collection of plants growing in the bilges. Dragonflies bluely glittered over the island.
And I sat with my tea, amidst the olde worlde toys and games that always fascinated me, sometimes talking to the excellent staff, or usually just reading and learning and dreaming of many many different escapes.
It's a terrible shame to lose a facility such as this. Sadly, I never saw it busier than on its last day.