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Ethan Cutler's December journey along the Stour

Posted on: 31/12/2020

It was a cold, calm, crisp, sunny December day and the river was very fast flowing which meant it had overflowed onto the path (I'm so glad I remembered my wellies this time!). The water level was really high which meant it was extremely muddy. As I squelched through the thick mud, I spotted a kingfisher sat on a low branch which was about two metres away from me. I got some photos while I could because it didn’t stay for very long. I carried on through the murky puddles when I saw a bullfinch on the far side of the river, its colourful plumage shining in the morning sun. I didn’t get a very good photo sadly but I will always get another chance. After I'd seen the bullfinch, I spotted another beautiful bird: The Grey Wagtail, a mainly grey bird with a long tail and a dazzling yellow rump. It was skipping across the surface of the water and then landed on a low branch jutting out of the river, its distinctive bouncy tail bobbing up and down as it searched for food. Continuing on my walk, I glimpsed a speck of blue out of the corner of my eye and thought it was the kingfisher again. I quickly realised, however, that it was a smaller bird and when it landed in a tree full of bright red berries, I saw that it was a blue tit. It has an unmistakable blue cap, white cheeks and pale-yellow underparts. Finally, the bird that we most associate with this time of year is the robin. This charismatic, cheeky chap quite often bobs along the path in front of me on my walks sometimes flying up and landing on a nearby fence post or branch. Its musical song is very loud for such a small bird. I love to listen to the variety of warbles and trills throughout its song. On this day, I managed to get a gorgeous photo of it puffed up like a Christmas bauble sat in a tree with the sun revealing the bright orange-red breast. This was a really fantastic day for spotting wildlife and I hope this inspires you to go out and discover wildlife in your local area. I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

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