Having had a few days in Leeds where to an occasional visitor like me doesn't know where the city centre green spaces are, birds and wildlife have been in short supply.
So today I took a 7 mile trip past London Road lake - where the totally out of eclipse mallards have gathered, including the pure white domestic interloper that has been lurking a few weeks, but no Tufteds. Young Moorhens are growing up, and plenty of white headed Black Headed Gulls were there too.
The bushes are red with berries, but the Buddleiah by Barnby Lane Bridge is still in purple bloom, unlike mine. No butterflies though, the frosts have seen to that I think.
Ran the length of Clay Lane hoping for a glimpse of Bullfinches, Yellowhammers or the newly arriving fleets of Fieldfares I've read about, but nothing doing. However, as I ran through the nursery in Beacon Hill Reserve, a flash of black and white erupted from one of the low Hawthorns so close to my face I could just about feel its wings beating on my face.
I just thought "oh, magpie" but as it flew away and I carried on running, I could see it had no tail. And then it sat in a tree, high up, but the flash of red at the base of the tail stuck out like a wound.
A Greater Spotted Woodpecker! A first for me here, even though the Wildlife Trust info boards mention them as something to look for. But then they are probably easily spooked by me crasing about. This one wouldn't let me get close to it.
A lovely spot, on a bright, crisp day.