Headed out yesterday on the back road to Coddington, mild conditions, sky mainly the grey of an unwashed athletics vest, muddy verges, wetly green vegetation.
As I ran round the tricky farm corner, the little Z bend I always wonder which side of the road is optimum for getting wiped out by a car on (either of them), a flock of thrush type birds was flying over the slightly bleak looking winter farmland. They could have been Fieldfares, they could have been Redwings. My instinct is to say fieldfares, as there have been a few more of them in town lately, although sadly none of the hundred plus flocks I saw on Beacon Hill last year.
As I turned onto the Coddington Road, racing a much better dressed, slimmer, younger, faster runner 150 yards behind me - he didn't catch me until Kwik Fit in town! - I could see a flock of about 40 finches wheeling over the farmland between the A1 and the hill into Coddington. They settled into a tree, and I was desperate to get reasonably close to them. Fat chance, they went before I got within twenty yards, but not before I saw a flash of white rump on a few of them as they flew off and settled in the rough vegetation in the field. Think they were Brambling again, they behaved as the birds up by Beacon Hill reserve do.
A near glowing yellow head, with a brown bird attached to it, then shot across the road - another yellowhammer.
The best sighting I had though was just before the A1 flyover. This is kestrel country, the A1 embankments presumably a good place for mice and voles. And sure enough, as I attempted to sprint up the hill, I could feel a pair of eyes watching me. Peering to the left, I could see the keen eyes, and victorian moustache, of a kestrel perhaps wondering if it could carry me off and eat me, or not. Rejecting this on the grounds of my weight, the kestrel flew off towards the A1, chestnut back and swept wing aspect riding the air effortlessly.
Within seconds, it had covered a distance it takes me long, dragging minutes to attain.