Set out just after 830am - note to self, get out of the house pre 8am to get real praise from yourself - for a ten k walk to take in the air and see how easy or hard a ten k run will be this afternoon. Some hard ice about, mixed with slushy and clear patches. Cycle track looks good though.
London Road Lake is most covered with what looks like a rather porridgey ice, and Clay Lane has an attractive mess of sludgy half frozen mud like a dessert.
It was on the railway bridge I first watched a pair of fieldfares fly over, white undersides with a sort of russet triangular patch, like a sort of avian superbird logo. These were the first I'd conclusively seen in town this winter, I'm surprised I haven't seen big flocks of them or redwing, the cold tends to drive them into town.
I followed Clay Lane along and then up to Beacon Hil, along the path where the snow is still abundant and unsullied white. A few Goldfinch and possibly Greenfinch - an uncommon sight in town these days - were in the Hawthorns. I kept walking, relishing the cold air about my face, although not my raw and bloodied hands.
On Beacon Hill, the oilseed rape field was being occupied by that same flock of ground loving finches that I saw before, but alas too far away to get a good look, about 50 of them. Still inclined to think they are Brambling.
Another two fieldfares flew over near Timico, but it was in a grubby car yard car park that I had a really good view of one. Struggling with a frozen looking hip berry, a fieldfare was trotting about amidst the muddy tire tracks and patches of dirty slush. On the ground, it is the slate grey head and long slate grey rump that is the dominant feature, and this fellow was not afraid to let me watch him for a few minutes, shoving his hard found berry about, driven into town for food and into the eyes of towny wildlife lovers like myself.