Riches beyond compare greeted me when I eventually wandered out yesterday and this morning it got even headier. In the afternoon, before light failed completely, which around here is precious early in the day, I braved the ice down to the Tweed. I think the continual snow is keeping the pavements quite slip-free and walkable. There does seem to be a good crunchy, grippable surface to them.
So, an easy descent for me and paydirt in a couple of goosanders and a rather unexpected little grebe. It got better as I strolled further into town. A pair of bobbing shapes by the river’s edge disclosed themselves as dippers – my first for the Borders and an excellent New Year species. That short walk took me up to 26 for the year and all within a snow-covered mile of the house.
This morning I’d hardly stepped a few paces back into town when the unmistakable profile of a peregrine falcon glided over our wee estate. It took my Borders list up to 80. A surprise to get it around here or what? Perhaps Peebles has a resident bird. The town’s iconic church (pictured) may be the perfect home for it.
I continued my journey past the perfect homes of the Craigerne development, where I soon encountered the highlight of the year and a species I’ve not seen since 2007. Goldfinches and siskins buzzed and tinkled to alert me to a mixed finch flock, which also held chaffinches, greenfinches and bramblings. Yes, definitely bramblings with their orange breast band that wraps round to their wing coverts. They look as though they’re ready for dinner with an orange napkin. Dinner being hard to find in the current freeze probably brought them into our realm. Three cheers for snow in that respect.
It’s snowing again now, so pretty. I’m lucky to be up here. What’s it doing in your manor?