Early December and the first real frost of the month. The grass on the Long Meadow white and brittle. A Kingfisher whirred away downstream in front of us along the Mermaid and, not finding a nearby wide ditch to it’s liking, it doubled back towards us calling loudly and flew up and over the railway embankment in search of quieter reaches. At this time of the year the rich orange breast of the bird glowed in contrast to the dazzling blue of its back.
All trees except the Oaks have lost their leaves. Around the Field Maples there are pools of yellow leaf-carpets. The Poplars have changed their note in the breeze, now the branches emit a low moan and no longer the sibilant whisper of the leafy early autumn. Strangely, some of the Oak leaves are still quite green and have yet to succumb to the ochre and orange of the discard.
The finches, mostly Linnets and goldfinches, have gathered in flocks along the ditch side Alders. Their contact calls drift on the breeze.