I wore the running shoes again today, but this time it was to go for a walk. I thought I'd take a tour of the two lakes, to see if the cold weather had brought in any winter ducks onto my local ponds.
It hadn't, but there were other oddities to see.
As I started walking around the Balderton Blue Lake, the omens were good. A goldcrest put on one of its best hummingbird impressions in the waterside willows, and a little way round the corner, a flock of long tailed tits - always one of winter's most attractive sites - seeped and zupped among the branches, even the slimmest twigs easily supporting their weight.
ALong the next side of the lake, a flock of canada geese were grazing on the grass, but it was a huge greylag goose that caught my attention first. Even though it was a different species, it seemed determined to show it was the boss, honking loudly like a donkey and puffing up its throat to show its dominance. But after this, I caught sight of a much smaller interloper.
It was a pink footed goose, a bird I have only glimpsed thousands of feet up in their huge skeins.
You'd have thought it would be a rather wary wild bird, but it wasn't. It fed happily with the more domesticated species, and I was able to approach to about 5 metres to take some shots.
Then, after twenty minutes walk to London Road pond, I could see a mile off there were some very large ducks on the water. Although black and white, I was able to tell quickly from the bodyshape they weren't goosander. And no goosander would ever come sailing towards me expecting some bread.
It was a couple of big ugly muscovy ducks, probably escaped from a farm for some R and R!
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 02.12.17