It might well be below freezing this morning, but it’s the wind in the past week or so that’s been causing problems with nest-building for a pair of Kites, busy in one of Wallingford’s many aging Lime trees. They do often start early giving their young a potentially harsh start, high up in late winter’s naked trees. The timing is probably aimed at cashing in on the harshness itself though – feeding as they do on the dead creatures their parents find.
Though this winter so far has been relatively kind, other birds tackle the season in groups. Thrushes and blackbirds gather with Fieldfares and Redwings in big gangs. Most of them are probably Russian or East European. They clatter over fields and blanket shrubs and hedges, stripping any stray berries and seeds as they go.
If you hear gentle high-pitched whistling tinkling above you in the woods, just be sure to look up. Blue Tits and Great Tits in their striking bold, blue, green and yellow. Black and white occasional Coal Tits with telltale white head patches and then the miniature monkey troupes of pink, black and white Long Tailed Tits flitting in the tips of Birch and thorn. Look closer at the trunks and you may find a slate blue and peach-coloured Nuthatch tripping down the trunk passing a tiny brown and white Tree Creeper, always hopping up – both looking for insects in cracks of bark. Highest up, the smallest and often hardest to see is the olive green Goldcrest; thin reedy whistle, thin stripe of gold above the eye.
So take a moment to look around for the colour and listen to the sounds that brighten up these cold, wintery mornings. They are all there – riding out the lean times.