After a welcome couple of days down South, were sadly tropical temperatures were not in eivdence however, I returned last night to a crisp white world under a moonlit sky full of haze.
Today, with the hard freeze of the night already thawing away, I strapped on these WinterTrax crampon things, and set sail on slushy - but I think still slippery - paths.
London Road lake was frozen but thawing, apart from a hole down the far end where there was clear water and here most of the waterfowl were congregated. 3 ducks made a fascinating circular appoarch and landing, which one of them cocked up rather.
On Clay Lane a Mistle Thrush watched me from a treetop, and Dunnocks, Wrens and Blue Tits flitted about the frozen hedgerows.
On Beacon Hill I noticed a large flock of songbirds, perhaps a hundred or more, with what looked like white undersides and black underwings. I followed them to where they had landed in some trees and shrubs, and got close enough to them to realise that they were Fieldfares. They were wary rural birds - you never see them in town in these kind of numbers unless the weather is really bad - and didn't get terribly close to them, but the white undersides and slate grey rumps were very distinctive.
After they had flown off, I inspected a couple of the ornamental berry laden trees of some kind they had perched in. They had absoloutely raped it, discarded half eaten fruit littering the pavement and driveway like squelched meteorites. A pretty sight though, and now I hope for Redwings in town. Or dare I say it, Waxwings.
After that, things were a little flat. The slush was worse, but Beacon Hill reserve was weirdly lit under a ghost of a grey sun. Nothing to see though, a flatlit grey white landscape where anything sane was underground.
I felt the same! That's why I went to bed for the afternoon to read in warmth and peace.