Warm in the sun, with a strong cold wind from the south.
Many signs of early spring in the last few days. Earlier in the week, a Chiffchaff offered a few weak chiffs and chaffs beside the Shire House. Primroses out beside the allotments, perpetual Skylark song along Firle Bostal.
Today, most small birds had their heads down. Unseen Long-tailed Tits whispering on the way up the hill, and Goldcrest.
A Green Woodpecker cried loudly from the escarpment, where the sun’s now high enough at 10am to warm the walk right down to the bottom.
Partridges’ mechanical noises down the Bostal. At New Elms pond, two drake Mallard loafing and a Moorhen prospecting again.
Dull and damp. A party of seven Blue Tits feed where the ground is cleared, under the young ash and hawthorn beside the school field.
Hundreds of Woodpigeons burst from the game cover, among them a very few Stock Doves.
Goldcrests on the escarpment, in the plantation and along the track. After two mild winters they abound.
Little sound, but one or two thrushes and crow calls carry far in the wet air.
The path through the plantation runs wet too, in places washed to chalk pavement. In the grey of the winter, under the hanger of ash, the bare pale chalk and the green bright mosses appear lurid.
By the track down to the Coach Road from the Beacon, the powerful boughs of beech are exposed, growing parallel to the ground, muscular but forced northeastwards even so.
Overcast but dry, and not cold.
Treecreeper singing among the high ashes in the Plantation.
Ten or more Song Thrushes out of the game cover. Two Fieldfares.
Grey Wagtail again on the muddy track at New Elms.
Early morning on the escarpment beside the Plantation, New Year’s Eve. Quizzical notes from an unseen Brambling (just out of its roost in the woods?), then a Red Kite, circling low over the hillside, my first and last of the year.
Down Firle Bostal, a Stoat sped past a roadside gap along the chalky field edge.
At New Elms pond, a Grey Wagtail flashing its white bits and trilling.