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A small flock of Golden Plover brighten up and otherwise nondescript morning. At first we nearly missed them as we walked along the old track, but then we noticed them; 26 Plover milling about quietly in a field of Winter Wheat. They took no notice of us – confident in their security. The light was too low for a photograph. A few low whistling calls came from them, but as we continued to walk on they gradually merged into the background and disappeared from view. I like to assume that they are simply stopping over on their Spring migration north, although they may have wintered here.

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Brampton: The Roman Shore

December 27, 2016

Mist fills the river valley. It is Christmas Eve Eve and I notice that the mists sticks to the hollows and seems to highlight the probably line of the Roman shore (- the Bure was only contained in the 18th Century and, until then, wandered where it wished. Although the Pastons and the millers probably exherted some control in order to protect their stewponds / mill water). In Roman times this was an arm of the Great Estuary and  flat-bottomed early “wherries” probably traded from here – exporting barley and pottery, I guess.

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Eye of Heron

December 27, 2016

What struck me was the cold, glassy eye of the Heron perching on a low fence at Oxnead this morning. The slight frost last night had still not entirely melted and the young Heron seemed to be waiting for movement or a sign of life.

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The hedgerow Oaks have attained a rich bronze after a frost or two. This Oak, on the southern edge of Keeper’s Wood, glows in the sun.

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Oxnead Meadow in late November. Morning mist rising after a frosty night

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It is the Autumnal silence which hits you on an early morning walk from Brampton to Oxnead. Silence punctuated only by occasional sharp bursts of song – a Robin, the screech of a Jay and the repetitive fluting of a Nuthatch in the Keeper’s Wood. Then there were Kingfishers – a pair chasing and calling upstream to the mill pool, another single bird calling from a perch above the sluice. It has been a good year for Kingfisher numbers so far, with numbers increased from a successful breeding season.

A solitary duck springs up from the pool above the mill. It’s long wings and markings characteristic of a Wigeon – normally a coastal bird of salt marsh, this one spent the night at Oxnead. Migration and movement are the themes now.