Before we'd even left, I could hear the piercing call of a buzzard and looking up, I counted not one but five of them circling just ahead of where I stood. This was the second time in recent weeks that I'd seen buzzards hunting as a group, something I only recently learnt that they do. When I set out walking, three of them had dropped down and I watched them hovering just above the tree canopy. I always find it fascinating how birds of prey can hover so perfectly even in high winds. They must have incredible strength in their wings.
There was plenty of song from other birds, most noticeably great tits and robins, the latter spotted frequently on our walk. We also came across several clusters of snowdrops, a sure sign of Spring waiting in the wings! Not only those but bluebells and daffodils have started sprouting.
On the side of one bridleway, we found a fungi we hadn't seen before so I snapped a photo for ID when we got home. It turned out to be the scarlet elf cup (what a fabulous name!), an edible fungus found in late Winter and early Spring. Not that we tried to eat it-I can't stand regular field mushrooms, let alone bright red ones!
I was absolutely thrilled to catch sight of both a goldcrest and a treecreeper in the same minute and only a few feet from our driveway. I've seen the treecreeper a few times before but this was only the third time I've seen the goldcrest so I was pretty happy. I'm surprised I saw it because of its size and speed but there was no mistaking that strip of yellow on the head and pale colour around the eye.
I'm glad I managed to grab a breath of fresh air because it's pretty likely I won't have another opportunity for a few weeks at least. Bring on Spring!