7th November- pink-footed geese and bramblings

A glorious afternoon for a walk. Lingering fog had only just started to clear by early afternoon, revealing a clear cerulean blue sky. It was lovely to have Tolly with me again having shared this route with him so many times during the spring lockdown. The weather was so calm, with many leaves still hanging on beech and oak trees. In fact it was so still that the few falling leaves we did see seemed to clatter in the silence. We refound features of our spring lockdown walks including a great spotted woodpecker hole high in a beech tree and patches of wood sorrel that we grazed from on warm April mornings.

We hadn’t been walking long when the sound of pink-footed geese filled the air. We watched a large skein of perhaps 75 head south east over the village. This is a sight I feel so privileged to see. Like each flypast from swifts in summer a skein of migrating geese is always special. They are probably well on their way to North Norfolk now, or perhaps the Humber estuary. But it it shows how birds can connect us all; I immediately thought of friends in Norfolk and the magnificent sight of thousands of geese I have had at places such as Holkham bay.

We found a large flock of chaffinches at least two hundred strong, under a magnificent old beech. Careful searching revealed a couple of brambling and we had stunning views of very bright puffed up male in an ash tree.

As we returned to the village, fog was starting to reform in the valley. Our thoughts turned to lighting the fire; sweet chestnuts gathered at the arboretum this week will be roasted and Tolly said he was looking forward to hearing them explode amongst the flames! This morning we awoke to fog reducing visibility to little more than fifty metres. But today was a day filled with autumnal atmosphere. The very dull foggy morning making this afternoon’s gin clear sky all the better!

Male Brambling- watercolour in sketchbook.
Pink feet arriving at Holkham.

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