The BTO web-alerts have been advising us to look out for redwings and fieldfares, as they are on their way from Siberia to winter here. They are planning a Winter Thrush survey starting in 2012, so we’ll probably be quartering our areas searching for the flocks this time next year. But I was doing my regular walk round my nearest favourite patch yesterday when I heard a scolding sort of ‘chuck’ noise high up in the tree. I couldn’t see what was making it, but it sounded like something I knew but hadn’t heard for a while. Then of course I realised, it was my first fieldfare of the season! Hi, Fieldfare!
Then today on the way back from the newspaper shop, I stopped to look at the river, wondering what had disturbed the gulls, which had been settled on the island left by the low river levels just up from the bridge. As I stood there a gull flew straight towards me and looked like it was about to dive for some fish, and as I looked to see if there were indeed fish there I noticed something skimming through the top of the water very fast coming towards me. It was an otter! A big chap (my fishing friends have been telling of a really big dog otter that’s moved in after the previous male was killed on the road last spring). Think Alsatian sort of length and bulk. He was great, sort of half swimming and half leaping through the top of the shallow water, going straight below me under the bridge to the deeper water the other side. Never had such a good view as that before! Thanks for the warning, seagulls!