Winter lull

Bright, dry but indifferent yesterday with a cold westerly on my back walking from Rye to Lydd via Camber. A lack of cold winter visitors and the stalwarts reduced to their core gatherings, a hundred Barnacles and many more Greylags at Scotney, although a fair number of Wigeon. Flocks of Coots widespread. Starlings and Lapwings, a hundred Golden plovers. Two Buzzards out on the fields where a Peregrine falcon hovered repeatedly above a reedy dike. What was perhaps the same falcon was seen later, dashing over fields in the manner of a hunting Merlin. The plumage showed a mix of blackish and ashy upperparts and along with the behaviour suggested an impression of other than typical for an adult Peregrine.

An Egyptian Goose was at Northpoint and later a flock of seven were among Mute Swans beyond Scotney. In the chill wind some of the fields appeared barren of birdlife, new plough stretching far between straggling hedges. Perhaps the cold and the lateness of my walk meant that finches and buntings were keeping their heads down.

As I neared Lydd in sundown a flock of sheep in a potato-strewn field had gathered on a small mound of concrete rubble, perhaps engaged in a ritual in memory of their more montane relatives. They watched nonchalantly as I reached a new steel gatepost, the sight of which had lifted my spirits, contrary to my usual affectation for country crafts.



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