My wretched strained calf - leg, not bovine - is still bothering me a little, so I nursed it very carefully this morning in a 10km run around the two lakes, Clay Lane and Beacon Hill reserve.
The sky was cloudless, and the low sun was providing a beautiful illumination, making the frosted grass shimmer, and giving the mallards' on the lakes dazzling emerald heads. You can tell the wind has dropped; the black headed gulls on Balderton Lake are less numerous than they are when the weather is bad. There were only about 20 fighting and scrapping upon the water, as opposed to the windy days last week when there were hundreds.
I'm keeping an eye out for goosander, but for so far only tufted duck and the mean muscovy duck are keeping the mallards company.
Clay Lane was muddy, but not impassable despite a particularly gloopy patch trying to eat my shoe at one point. A flock of what I think were fieldfares took flight at my arrival, heading off to a copse unpolluted by the heavy footsteps of radio 4 listening joggers. I think there were redwing hiding in the trees too, I kept seeing distant glimpses of slender thrush shapes in the branches.
Lots of chaffinch were on the woodland path on Beacon Hill park, white tail bars flashing as they flew from tree to tree, but the prize of the day was found in the nursery area. As I reached the middle of the young trees, admiring the rich crop of berries sported by many of them, a white rump flashed across my path from right to left, before settling in one of the young trees. It was of course a bullfinch, and it gave me a few seconds to admire it before it flew off.
In the sunlight, its pink breast was completely aglow. It was so bright it looked like a strawberry split ice lolly, looking so refreshing the sight of it made me suddenly very thirsty! I'm used to seeing bullfinches along Clay Lane, but it's a rare sight for Beacon Hill, and I was greatly cheered I saw it. Glorious birds.
The main field was empty. All the rabbits were underground telling stories like they do in Watership Down. It was time to head home.