New Year’s Day, Friday – Home – The temperature hovers around freezing and at nine o’clock in the morning it is still semi-dark. There is a strange tingling on the skin from water, hardly rain or snow, in the air.
Off down the street an hour later. The sky is still overcast and there is light rain in the air. Small patches of ice remain on the pavements making them unpredictable underfoot. Jackdaws chatter from the rooftops. Across an icy railway bridge to the River Lugg. The water level has fallen and it is running much clearer, reflecting the grey sky. The bed of Butts Bridge is covered in ice. A Manchester-bound train is in the station. It is one of the old Class 150 DMUs, Sprinter Class, built in the 1980s. A large flock of Wood Pigeons and Jackdaws rise from Sydonia Park and fly off in different directions.
Through the churchyard. The priory church is open but empty, just a Christmas and a nativity scene is tree lit up, otherwise it is dark and gloomy. Along Church Street. Jackdaws sit in pairs in trees by the Forbury. A Wood Pigeon calls persistently from a nearby roof and a pair of Collared Doves sit nearby and watch. The town is very quiet. Savers, the bookies and the newsagents are the only businesses open.
Sunday – Leominster – Yesterday evening there was a sudden downpour of snow coating everywhere white. This morning it has nearly all all thawed away leaving the usual Leominster grey. It is a couple of degrees above freezing and there is a light, chilly, easterly wind. Down the street. Starlings and Jackdaws sit on rooftops.
Up onto Butts Bridge. An Otter appears on the downside stream side of the bridge carrying a fish but unfortunately catches sight of me and dives immediately. A second slips off of the bank almost under the bridge and swims off downstream. Down the far side of the bridge there are large piles of hedge trimmings. Back up onto the railway bridge. Above there is the beating rush of the wings of three Mute Swans flying northwards. Through Pinsley Mill. There is still enough wet ice around to make walking precarious.
Tuesday – Home – Just five days into the new year and here we are again, in lockdown. There have been 60,000 new infections of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and over 800 people have died. We can leave the house just for one period of exercise and essential shopping. I make a couple of trips to the shops to pick up supplies. It is a fine, cold day with blue skies. Blue Tits and House Sparrows take advantage of the feeders. Jackdaws are flying to and fro all the time. A rasping Mistle Thrush leaves the Holly tree and heads off down the road. All around the garden are the shoots of spring flowers. Small buds are growing on the purple sprouting broccoli. The hens are still only producing two eggs a day, both from the new girls. The recent egg from Russet looks like a one-off. By late afternoon, dark clouds have moved in, in more ways than one.
Wednesday – Home – A Robin and a Dunnock are singing in the garden but the Song Thrush seems to have fallen silent over recent days. Signs of spring are still appearing, now rhubarb is beginning to shoot.
Down the street for my lockdown constitutional. Sky is a mottled blue and grey. Starlings gather in in the London plane tree outside Norfolk House. They chatter and burble happily. A very few flakes of snow descend. The railway bridge is frosty. The River Lugg flows steadily, the water level down a little from last week. A Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Mistle Thrush are calling from the trees upstream.
Back over the railway and past the White Lion. Three Cormorants fly north. A Blackbird feeds on the few remaining haws on a Hawthorn beside the railway. A near empty South Wales bound train slows for the station. Into the orchard where fresh molehills have been thrown up. Blackbirds feed on the few remaining apples under the Dabinett tree. A few more flakes of snow are falling now but nothing of any consequence. A pristine black and white Magpie flies up onto one of the dead trees beside the River Kenwater. More Blackbirds search the leaf litter. There are dozens of Blackbirds around here many of which will be winter visitors from the continent who winter. The Magpie flies down to investigate a mole hill and is attacked by a Jackdaw. There is a brief skirmish before the Jackdaw retreats.
Treasure, the historic building maintenance company, has started work on the minster. In the church porch is a supermarket tray of packets of sprouts, free but somehow I suspect they will not be that popular.
Thursday – Leominster – The day starts with a thick mist and heavy frost. The temperature is several degrees below zero. The desiccated remains of garden plants are covered with fine white crystals. Of course the chicken and bird bath water are all frozen solid.
The River Lugg remains unchanged from yesterday. There are only the occasional tweets from birds in the trees, no songs today. The southbound train draws into an empty station. Along to the Mosaic Bridge under the A49. Tall umbellifers are pure white with frost. The normally muddy paths are frozen solid. A Cormorant follows the river southwards. A Grey Wagtail flies upstream.
On to Eaton Bridge. Mosses in cracks between the bridge stones are covered in frost; the sporophytes are tiny shards of white. Up Wigeon Meadow. New molehills have appeared in the old track down from Eaton Hill towards the A44 running behind the new plantation. A strange call comes from one of the trees beside the track. It takes sometime to identify the source which turns out to be a Great Tit. A Wren churrs and Blue Tits chatter. I pick some frozen green leaves for the chickens. Along the top of Eaton Hill. There are deer slots in the frozen mud. The hedgerow is a pristine shining white with frost crystals. A large flock of probably more than 100 Chaffinches flies a few at a time out into the field. Suddenly in a whirr of wings they all fly back over the hilltop to return again to the hedgerow and then back out into the field and the whole process is started again. I search through the birds in the hedgerow and eventually find a single Brambling. There are also a few Linnets, Goldfinches and Redpolls in the flock.
Down the track off of Eaton Hill. A pair of Bullfinches flash their white rumps as they cross from one thicket to another. Down to the A49 and then up and along Mill Street. Into Paradise Walk. A watery sun is making little impression on the low temperature. House Sparrows chatter in the hedges. The sun is, however, bright enough to make the trees outside the rectory shine brilliant white. The town is very quiet.
Friday – Leominster – Yesterday evening a heavy frost was developing but the temperature rose overnight to just above freezing and by the early morning it had all gone. It is now very damp and grey. The Friday market has few customers. One stallholder comments to another that it will be a long day. There is still ice on the steps to the railway bridge catching out unwary namely me. The ripples caused by obstructions underwater and branches hanging in the water of the River Lugg make complex patterns. A House Sparrow is calling from the station. Blackbirds search leaf litter. The Manchester train draws in, just a couple of people mount.
Along past the new houses at Pinsley Mill. Over the other side of the railway a Common Buzzard flies being harassed by two Jackdaws. The latter land on one side of a huge Black Poplar and the Common Buzzard lands on the other surrounded by balls of mistletoe. A near empty South Wales bound train passes. A few tiny specks of snow fall. At least half a dozen Blackbirds are still feasting on the remains of the fallen cider apples. Around the Peace Garden, Magpies occupy with top of a pair of trees chattering of each other. A third flies in followed by a flock of finches.
Through the lower part of the graveyard and onto the site of the lost part of the minster. The Great East window is dark from here. The window has lavish ball-flower decoration surrounding the intricate Decorated design. To the right is a classic Norman window to the left another Decorated. The perpendicular windows both have royal heads either side of them. Below is a short wall with the remains of an early English arch.
Across the Grange and into Etnam Street car park. A small skein of Canada Geese flies over heading north east, however one decides to strike out on its own and is heading south east.
Home – A small pale green egg is in the nest box – Emerald’s first for several months.
Sunday – Home – Another grey, frosty morning. Quiet twitterings coming from the bushes in the garden. A pristine Blackbird stands on the patio, his orange bill gleaming and his jet black plumage shiny. We have another Emerald egg, so it could well be will now have a regular supply from her. Some boiling water is poured into the birdbath to break the ice.
Yesterday I made a dozen jars of marmalade. Despite boiling for ages and getting the temperature to the setting point, it is still a very soft set. However, the peel is already a bit chewy so boiling any more will only make it less palatable so I decide to keep it as it is.
Leominster – Off down the street. A Carrion Crow bobs at the very top of a conifer behind The Checkers pub as it caws loudly. There are the occasional bursts of Robin song. Unusually silent Jackdaws are on the rooftops. Over the railway to Butts Bridge. The water in the River Lugg is becoming clearer and the level dropping slowly. The Song Thrush is back singing loudly near the railway.
Through Pinsley Mill and up through the churchyard where are half a dozen Blackbirds and a couple of Grey Squirrels search the ground. There are various tweets and twitterings but little real song.
Home – The plastic compost bins are full to the brim, so two are emptied into one of the new wooden bins. It is still cold, around freezing, so I hope the worms I have disturbed survive.
Monday – Leominster – It is slightly milder today but still grey clouds cover the sky. Through the empty streets of the town. Some of the shops that are permitted to open have remained closed today. Up New Street and into Green Lane. Past the Methodist chapel and Townsend House. House Sparrows are chattering. Jackdaws call from the branches of a Wellingtonia. A large mid-Victorian house, Hollymount, near the junction with Pierrepoint Road has been converted into bed and breakfast accommodation in the most insensitive way.
Into Ginhall Lane. From a gate view directly north is towards the Mortimer Forest then across the tops through Bircher Common with Croft Ambrey just visible above the treeline, then the woods drop down to Aymestrey with its church tower just peeping out, then up again to the chain of hills north of Shobden and then west into Wales. In between here and the hills are the river valleys of the Lugg and Pinsley. In the trees behind me a woodpecker drums.
On along the lane. Wood Pigeons and Blackbirds sit silently hedgerow leading down to the Pinsley. Half a dozen Blue Tits, several Great Tits and a Dunnock move through some scrubby bushes. Despite the coolness of the weather there are still some small flying insects dancing in the air above the road. Large numbers of Ivy berries remain uneaten. Fresh shoots of Cleavers are already growing under the hedges. Other new growth includes Dandelions, umbellifers and Wild Arum.
Onto the main road into town. A pair of very curly chocolate brown sheep are in a field. A small flock of Starlings chatter and whistle in a tree above the Conods lorry yard. Down through Barons Cross and Bargates into town.
Tuesday – Leominster-Woking – We drive to Woking for Kay’s mum’s funeral. A sad day but she reached the magnificent age of 100, a long and well-lived life. We leave in the dark. The journey is relatively easy as there is far less traffic on the roads because of the lockdown. Only the immediate family are at the service because of lockdown rules but nevertheless it is a moving and very personal send-off.
We return immediately after, no wakes allowed. We saw no Red Kites on the journey to Surrey but now they seem to be everywhere. An oddity is an apple tree beside the M4 with dozens of apples still on the branches. As we head across Herefordshire towards home, a fair number of telegraph poles have a Common Buzzard on top, surveying the land below.
Wednesday – Leominster – The weather has turned wetter and milder, a balmy 9°C. A lone Starling chatters half-heartedly from a television aerial. Jackdaws chack on the rooftops and in trees. There is a light mistiness across the area. Up onto the railway bridge. Below a Bullfinch with his bright pink breast, grey back and jaunty black cap alights in a thicket of brambles. From nearby comes the two-tone call of a Great Tit. On to Butts Bridge. A Great Spotted Woodpecker calls from one of the Black Poplars. The Manchester bound train draws into an empty station.
Back to the White Lion. A Dunnock sings his short song repeatedly. Through Pinsley Mill. The South Wales bound train passes; as usual these days it is virtually empty. A council worker is hoovering up leaves in the playground where few children seem play nowadays. Hazel catkins are growing larger and more yellow. Blackbirds seem to have exhausted the fallen apple supply and there is only one in the whole of the Millennium Park. The Kenwater flows with a translucent grey-green colour.
Into the churchyard where is appears all the Blackbirds have retreated to the search the grass for invertebrates. Two Great Tits are calling their “squeaky bicycle wheel” spring song. Past the Minster and into a near empty town.
Sunday – Leominster – An expanse of thin cloud spreads across a blue sky. The sun clears the hills to the south east. The temperature is low but not low enough for a frost. A Wood Pigeon calls my toe bleeds Taffy. Jackdaws chack and Starlings chatter from the rooftops. A small skein of waterfowl head north moving very quickly. The brief glimpse suggests they may have been Goosander.
Onto to the railway bridge. The resident Song Thrush is in full flow in nearby trees. Blue Tits flit from tree to tree. The sun is now blindingly bright in the south eastern sky. The water level in the River Lugg has fallen a little.
Back over the bridge and round Pinsley Mill. A Pheasant croaks from the far side of the railway. The sound of a drumming woodpecker comes from the same direction. Fresh molehills have appeared in the Millennium Orchard. Snowdrops have appeared by the old Sycamore in the south east corner of the churchyard. Fresh leaves of Foxgloves, Stinging Nettle and Wild Arum are appearing. More Snowdrops are just emerging along the eastern border of the churchyard by the course of the lost Pinsley Brook. The minster bells toll nine o’clock then the compline bells ring in vain as church services have all been cancelled because of the pandemic. A Robin sits on an old post where an interpretation board once was displayed.
Into the Peace Garden where more Snowdrops flower. The Kenwater’s level has also fallen slightly but the river still flows swiftly with numerous ripples. A pair of adult male Blackbirds squabble in the garden. Resident Blackbirds are busy establishing their territories now.
Through the churchyard. Wood Pigeons bill and coo on the green sward. A good number of Blackbirds search the leaf litter. Crab apples are now shrivelling and rotting on the tree. On to the Grange where a Nuthatch calls from the trees.
Monday – Leominster – Another mainly grey morning with a few patches of blue peering through the cloud. And again the temperature is a few degrees above freezing. Through a very quiet town. Many shops are not bothering to open on Mondays now and of course many more unable to open at all under the lockdown regulations. Down Broad Street and into Bridge Street. There are still a good many houses for sale here, mainly in poor condition. The River Kenwater flows under Kenwater Bridge. The river is clear enough to be able to see the stones on the river bed.
Into the old Ludlow Road as this part of Bridge Street was known. Aladdins, a general store serving the area, has closed down and the building been sold. Workmen are in but is not clear what is going to happen to it. A chorus of Wood Pigeons cooing and House Sparrows chirruping continues all the way up the road.
Into Summergalls, along the route the old railway line to Kingston. Carrion Crows search a field of stubble on the other side of the River Lugg. On this side, Great and Blue Tits seek food in the trees that separates the track from the rubbish tip. A small construction of brick topped with dressed stone stand by the track. I suspect this may be the last remnant of a bridge carrying the line over the River Lugg before the river was rerouted in the 1960s.
Over the River Lugg and along the track runs beside the brook from the mill. This brook was originally the River Lugg, now rerouted as mentioned above. Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Blue Tits are in the trees side the brook. Out in the field a Mistle Thrush stands at the top of a large Oak. Large Common Alders are covered in small purple-red catkins.
Back down the road towards The Broad. The other side of a brook is a play area part of the Muddy Puddles adventure playground for children. Beyond that is a field containing llamas. Closer to farm is a large open shed containing a herd of Herefords whose heads are stuck through the bars to feed upon silage. A pair start head-butting each other but soon lose interest and return to munching. The lane joins North Road by New or Marsh Brode Bridge.
On down Bridge Street. A Song Thrush sings from the top of an Ash tree. The public footpath out onto Ridgemoor remains completely impassible. The path eastwards from New Lugg Bridge, again the route of the old railway, remains closed for flood prevention works. The western side of Bridge Street has just a couple of timber-framed buildings, on from the early 17th century, a mid Georgian house, a couple of late Georgian or early Victorian dwellings and the number of modern houses. Sadly, Marsh Mill was torn down just a few years ago. One of the modern buildings is a box-like construction completely out of character with the rest of the buildings in the street.
Tuesday – Leominster – The morning is brightening although clouds are travelling rapidly from west to east ahead of the impending storm Christophe. It remains mild for the time of year.
Into Worcester Road. The wind is building. A Wood Pigeon with a damaged leg limps across the road. Into Clinton Road and the major town industrial estates. An illuminated sign at the BFI plastics factory states it has been 218 days without a notifiable accident. Past the towering aluminium tanks. The next site is Mifflin Construction, their farm buildings can be seen all over the area. At the top of the road is the large warehouses, offices and call centre of a mail order company. The road turns and turns again past a food distribution centre and the sheet metal works. On past various units, often just name without any indication of their usage. One is clear, it is Chinese kick-boxing and Leominster Police boxing academy. It is unclear which units are permanently closed and which are simply closed by a lockdown. The road turns again and leads back to Worcester Road.
Back along the Worcester Road to the old road bridge over the railway. The Manchester train, with a few passengers for a change, approaches to station. Across the A49 and along the old section of road. The 4x4 that somebody is living in is still beside the road. It is jacked up on two sides with the wheels missing and the piles of detritus are growing around the vehicle. On to Eaton Bridge beneath which the River Lugg flows quietly and grey-green.
Up Widgeon Meadow. A number of Redwings fly off from the young trees. Up the drovers’ steps. The wooden steps beside them have lines of orange fungus, Orange Jelly, Dacrymyces stillatus, on them. The path up the hill is slick with wet mud. The sunken track is a quagmire. The wind is livelier on top of the hill. There is no sign of the large finch flock but a couple of Chaffinches are pinking in the bushes below. A lot more Chaffinches are in in trees that run down the edge of the solar farm field. Progress along the hilltop is slow and steady, every footstep slips slightly on the wet mud.
On down the track. Passing Jackdaws chack as they ride the winds overhead. Blue Tits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Blackbird and a Magpie dash between the bushes. Across the fields to the A49. The tower of the minster looks strange with its crown of scaffolding. Over Cheaton Brook, which is flowing rapidly. Along Mill Street then down the eastern bank of the River Lugg. The water boils as it passes over the obstructions in the Kenwater just a short distance up from its confluence with the Lugg. Back over the railway as another Manchester bound train leaves the station.
Thursday – Leominster – Storm Christophe moves through. The air pressure drops to 964mB and there are high winds and long periods of heavy rain. By morning, the pressure is rising again and it has stopped raining.
A strong northerly wind brings cold air. The sky is cloudless the sun gleams strongly from the south. Off down the street. A sign in the care home states “We have been vaccinated”.
Onto Butts Bridge. The water level in the River Lugg has risen considerably after yesterday’s rain. However water in the fields suggests that it has fallen slightly since it peaked, probably during the night. Environment Agency officers have a small floating contraption on a rope in the river, measuring the speed of the current. The water, which was relatively clear a few days ago, is now now is a milky coffee brown.
Back round to the Millennium Orchard. A flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls passes over, flashing white and grey. Robins sing in the trees. A small flock of Jackdaws flies over swooping this way and that in the wind. Many more Snowdrops are now in flower. Daffodil shoots are rising from the sodden soil.
Saturday – Leominster – Another bright morning with just a few clouds in an azure sky. A heavy frost is melting on the roofs facing the sun. Wood Pigeons coo, Starlings chatter and whistle. Across an icy railway bridge and across to Butts Bridge. The water level in the River Lugg continues to fall. Robins and Blackbirds sing in the riverside trees. The meadows are pale green with frost. A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers argue noisily before one departs. Looking south the sun shines blindingly off of the river water and a thin mist rises. A Moorhen half flies, half scuttles across the water.
Into the Millennium Park. A small flock of Chaffinches flies over twittering quietly. The River Kenwater is flowing rapidly. A large clump of Dogwood by the riverbank has branches shining red in the sunlight. The Mill Street crossing gate alarm sounds as a Manchester bound train approaches. Into the churchyard. Frozen dead leaves crunch underfoot. High in a tree, a Wood Pigeon plucks ivy berries.
Sunday – Leominster – Snow has been falling for a couple of hours and a couple of inches lay on the ground. As I head down the street, the flakes have become smaller. Wood Pigeons still coo and a Blackbird screeches in alarm. On to Butts Bridge. A Cormorant flaps noisily off of the surface of the River Lugg. It joins a second one a short distance upstream. A Dipper flies rapidly upstream.
Back round to Pinsley Mill. Jackdaws gather the top of a Black Poplar. The two Cormorants fly back downstream. Then a few moments later, they head back north again, but less than a minute later back they come, heading south. Into the churchyard. Rabbits have ventured out into the snow leaving their tracks but seemed to have retreated again. Blackbirds still find time to squabble over territorial rights. There are more people around than have been seen for quite a while, especially children playing in the snow.
There is another light flurry of snow in the early evening and then it starts to get very cold.
Monday – Leominster – The sun is shining in a sky almost completely clear of clouds and it is cold. In a few places the snow has already melted and gone but most surfaces are still frozen. Up Ryelands Road crunching through the ice. Tiny bright green sporophytes of mosses growing on a wall rise through the snow. A Robin moves through thick undergrowth ticking loudly like an erratic clock. Blue Tits search the bushes above.
Along the path that was Cockcroft Lane. Meltwater pitter-patters down from the trees. The snow covering across the fields to the west is thin and the conifers on the hills are black. The distant Black Mountains are shining white. There is considerable floodwater down around the River Arrow.
Down to Hereford Road and into South Street. Jackdaws chack from rooftops.
Tuesday – Home – The sky is a uniform grey and the temperature barely above zero. However the thaw continues, albeit slowly. A Great Tit sings his rusty bicycle wheel song loudly. The snow which was causing the fruit cage and chicken run netting to bulge down has mainly gone. The hen’s water is barely frozen.
Leominster – Down the road. Patches of ice make it necessary to be careful where one’s feet are placed. The footbridge over the railway is treacherous with ice. The river level continues to fall despite the thaw. A Magpie and Mistle Thrush are high in a Black Poplar. Robins sing. House Sparrows chirp around the station. Blue Tits are active flitting from tree to tree.
Into the Millennium Orchard. Fresh molehills have been pushed through the snow cover. More Great Tits and Robins are in song. Wood Pigeons call. It seems to have got colder and the thaw has been suspended. Through the churchyard. Workers are in their vans by the Minster. It would seem a bit risky working high on the tower scaffolding in this weather.
Home – During the afternoon the temperature rises slightly, the thaw resumes and there is a fine drizzle in the air. A Blackbird is in full song in a garden tree. There are sprouts on the purple-sprouting but they are developing very slowly.
Wednesday – Leominster – Fronts moving in front of the Atlantic have brought milder air but it is wet and more rain is forecast. Through the Castlefields estate. House Sparrows chatter and Jackdaws chack in good numbers. The east side of the estate is a mixture of 1920s and post-war houses mainly semi-detached. To the west the houses are mid 1960s, still mainly semi-detached with some bungalows too. A footpath runs between the estate and Worcester Road industrial estates. A Carrion Crow barks from a tree.
A muddy footpath runs beside a drainage channel into Southern Avenue industrial estates. A laundry lorry passes apparently based in Burton-on-Trent which seems a long way to get your laundry done. Further on there is a large lorry and trailer from Slovenia. Into the cemetery. A large majority of the late 20th and 21st century headstones are in black marble with gold lettering. Earlier headstones are almost always in pale stone.
Southwards down the Hereford Road. A Hereford bound bus passes. It is usually full as it is the first bus of the day that people with older person’s bus passes can use, however this one is empty. Past the splendid Georgian, late 18th century, Broadward Hall. A Pied Wagtail stands on the roof. On to Broadward Bridge, first recorded in 1535; the current bridge dating from 1924. The water level in the River Arrow is high but the flooding has subsided somewhat. However a pool in the pasture on the eastern side is the road had attracted two Little Egrets.
Back up the Hereford Road and into the Enterprise Park. The huge shed constructed by Dales still seems to be virtually unused. The original plan was that their site in Mill Street would be closed and the land used for housing and a supermarket but this all fell through. At the south east corner of the industrial park is an area of what look like slurry pits and wet woodland. Four Bullfinches preen in a Goat Willow. Several Robins are in song, Blue Tits fly to and fro and Wood Pigeons sit motionless at the top of trees. Several Goldfinches are feeding on Knapweed heads. A Dunnock and a Song Thrush both start singing. Seven Goldfinches fly up into the trees, enough to be called a charm, methinks. A watery sun pierces the clouds. The gate on which I am leaning sports some fine specimens of lichen.
Back along the Worcester Road. All of the plant hire equipment has been removed from the yard next to the White Lion. The air thrums from the diesel engine of a Manchester bound train standing in the station.
Sunday – Leominster – Yesterday it rained throughout the day. An attempt to turn to snow in the afternoon came to nothing. This morning the rain has ceased but the sky is still grey and threatening. The temperature has fallen to zero creating patches of ice to catch the unwary. A Song Thrush sings from a tall evergreen behind the houses down the street. A Wren disappears over the wall into the plant hire yard. Over a slippery railway footbridge. The water level in the River Lugg is high and the water is coloured an
orange-brown. A Cormorant takes off and heads south. The two Otters have been recently seen up the Kenwater by the bridge in Bridge Street. A Robin sings and a Blackbird dashes across the water. A light frost lays on the meadows. Another Wren sings in the brambles at the entrance to Lammas Meadow.
Back round to Pinsley Mill. A Song Thrush and a Chaffinch are sitting bushes across the other side of the railway whilst both Blue and Great Tits chase to and fro past them. One Great Tit flies off and the other begins to sing his two-tone song. The Song Thrush moves bushes and also start singing. A Cormorant flies upstream. Into the Millennium Park. A Robin, Song Thrush and several Blackbirds feed on the grass. Snowdrops are in flower all along the edge of the churchyard. The River Kenwater is flowing rapidly. A Cormorant speeds past diving as it does. A Magpie shakes its feathers as it stands at the top of an evergreen.
Into the churchyard where that are bunches of Snowdrops everywhere. It is depressing to see broken and fallen gravestones laying around the base ancient Yew. Even more depressing are the discarded drinks cans and snack wrappers.
Home – Into the summerhouse to undertake the annual RSPB Garden Bird Survey. Blue Tits are the first to arrive at the feeders, followed by Great Tits. A couple of female Chaffinches are lurking. Then a great surprise, a male Brambling! He sits near the feeders but just watches. It looks like he may make a move to feed then the Grey Squirrel arrives and everything departs.