The very strong gusting wind blowing when I walked the Ridgeway today Friday was so cold, and it made me wonder just how any living thing not only survives but why it should want to, it really was most unpleasant and I had the advantage of waterproof clothing and as the rain and hail pelted down I certainly needed it. A Kestrel took refuge in a wayside hedge not far from me initially being buffeted by the raging storm and then just hanging on through the worst of it eventually being pushed from its relatively safe harbour by a damned dog walker who had driven up walked his blasted dogs for about two hundred yards and then retreated back into the warmth of his car. With the lessening ferocity of the storm a flock of about sixty Fieldfare were noticed feeding on the upland grassland and I guess they had probably been there through the storm doing one suspects their best to find enough food to see them through another cold winter night.
Motored down to the valley eventually arriving in Buckland to have a look at the floodplain alongside the river Thames, another storm broke and I took refuge in a small wood where the only birds I saw were a Buzzard and a flock of Blue and Great Tits a little further on a small flock of Chaffinch were active, with the storm abating somewhat it gave me the opportunity to cast my eyes over the flood water and although it was too deep to get all the way to the Thames I did manage to get to within some two hundred yards of the river albeit the water breeched my wellie tops but apart from the discomfort of cold squelching feet I rather enjoyed the walk or perhaps I should say paddle the only disappointment was the lack of life especially bird life. I saw a flock of some one hundred Fieldfare and as with my sighting up on the downs they appeared without the usual accompaniment of Redwing although I did eventually find just five Redwing in a hedgerow about a half mile further on.
The Oxon Feather.