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Nature blog - Jenny Bourne

The RPA Nature blog with Jenny Bourne.

Watch the seasons unfold right here at our very own allotments

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Winter birds and old friends

Date posted: Wednesday 21st December 2016

Winter birds and old friends

Yesterday morning a bright, cold early morning sun after what seems like days of drab, dull, mild and damp weather – what a contrast to the previous week of heavy hoar frost and ‘proper’ wintry days! But better for the ground foraging birds when they can actually penetrate the ‘earth stood hard as iron’ to get those worms and grubs… This splendid mistle thrush was busy with the ornamental cherries as I cycled past – a true delight to see on our site, as they have moved further down the rollcall of common birds that are rapidly moving onto the ‘endangered’ lists:

Redwings and fieldfares now a common sight in the trees and foraging around the plots – that distinctive short, harsh call of the fieldfares as they fly overhead is a sure sign that these welcome migrants have taken up residence for the winter months. Not a brilliant redwing photo but can’t always be as good as ‘Planet Earth 2’ snappers!

Going to the allotments this time of year is a particular respite from the Christmas shopping insania that is currently Kingston – stalls, lights, glitter, tinsel, noise and if I have to hear ‘Stop the Cavalry’ on a retail loop one more time there may be a complete Christmasgate event! Around the Parish church the stalls lights do look festive and in the early evening darkness in a nearby tree a robin sings – a sweet, pure, clear sound far more melodious than Jona Louie could ever aspire to!

There’s quite a sizeable ‘charm’ of goldfinches at the moment – more than ever flying about the site, with that ‘delightful liquid twittering song and call’ (RSPB). Apparently many overwinter in Spain but there are more here than I’ve ever seen together:

The weather forecast for the coming Christmas weekend is pretty dire – high winds, rain and storms set to batter the British Isles with Storm Barbara waiting in the wings. Amidst all the gloom, uncertainty and turmoil of this year of loss and upheavals – David Bowie, Victoria Wood, Mohammed Ali, Leonard Cohen, to name but a few, and the appalling prospect of the cabal of climate deniers etc that has been assembled to lead the USA into who knows where… a renewal of contact with an old university friend from too many years back to think about – Facebook may not pay it’s taxes but it does get us back in touch with friends, family and loved ones – the real meaning of Christmas.. A Happy and Peaceful one to us all!