December 31st. A day of relaxing, of preparing oneself for the rigours of the night ahead.
I may not be any kind of expert in bird calls, but I've become quite attuned to knowing when a sound in the garden isn't normal. I had such a moment yesterday, when as I lay on the sofa reading, I heard an unfamiliar double whistle coming from the bare sycamore tree outside.
I looked out, and the brilliant pink breast of a bullfinch was perched on a windswept branch. Bullfinches are not regular visitors to the garden, and I was pretty darn chuffed to see it; the neighbours have just started putting out their winter feeders and I suppose this is probably what tempted it into quite a cat strewn locality for a shy bird.
But the bullfinch wasn't the only visitor I had. When I went outside, there was my endlessly singing local robin, a wren, a squadron of long tailed tits making their way through the trees hunting for spiders, and up above my head another unusual visitor; the soft grey belly and black head of a blackcap.
A little later, I was out running, the back way up the hill to Coddington, and as I made my way to the top of the hill, the setting sun burst out as a weather front went over, and illuminated everything with yet another glorious golden glow, a light I have been fortunate enough to witness many times this winter. And in it, redwings were to be seen in the hedges along the Sleaford Road back to Beacon Hill.
I still haven't decided which is the more attractive bird, the redwing or the fieldfare. For now, I will call it an honourable draw.
Copyright Cream Crackered Nature 01.01.14