The weather yesterday was spectacular, and as mentioned in my previous post, I am really enjoying the shapes and colours of the January landscape. I am fortunate that I can walk through some fantastic countryside without having to travel, and there is a route I enjoy if I have a couple of hours which takes in arable fields, pasture, hedges, the river, mature trees, and coppice. The bird life is wonderful despite being the expected selection of woodland and farmland birds: bullfinches, fieldfares, buzzards, robins and blackbirds, but there is always something a little different, and in any case, merely seeing the more common species is like meeting friends. At the moment – in national lockdown in a topsy-turvy world – this feels comforting and reassuring.
This walk’s highlight was kingfishers. I’ve not seen them along the river before, or at least, not that I can remember! A short sharp “chee! chee!” alerted me and I turned to see a pair flying past. The sun was completely obscured by cloud for the whole day so there was no flash of iridescence which is so common with our kingfishers, but their blue against the frosted bark-grey and alder-purple was impressive nonetheless.
We sat for much-needed hot chocolate astride a fallen tree, and I noticed that the upper branch was covered in tiny feathers. A plucking post for [presumably] a sparrowhawk. I’m guessing the hawk’s meal was a robin or a dunnock judging by the feathers:
Slightly macabre perhaps but an interesting find.