Great Tit

Out of the house before sunrise to pick up the turkey and finish the rest of the Christmas shopping. Pete and I emerged into glorious sunshine, which stayed for most of the day and gave me a chance for a good lunchtime walk round Ferry Meadows after I'd finished wrapping the (thankfully few) presents.

The valley is still very flooded, which has attracted a good range of birds including wigeon, shoveler and a gang of loafing common gulls, as well as quite a few foraging crows. I managed to find a route with only a few areas of shallow flooding, until I got close to the end of my walk, when there was a deep area of water. I didn't want to get my boots soaked again so I ended up backtracking and climbing over a rather precarious, backward leaning fence to get on a higher path.

On my way round I made a detour to the bird hide which was mercifully free of other people allowing me to stand quietly and watch various small birds (mostly blue and great tits) hopping around in the sunlit alder trees. While I was doing this a squirrel approached along the fence I was leaning on - if I hadn't moved I think it would have walked right up my arm! A minute or two later a pheasant almost walked across my feet.

In the late afternoon Pete and i went out again to try and get one or two last minute presents from a store that I'd never visited before on the edge of the city. It was heaving with people, and most of the contents were rather tacky, but there were some quite nice picture frames, a good range of art materials and a varied set of preserving jars that might all come in useful in the future. Trying to leave the car-park proved to be a bigger trial than the shopping - an appalling design led to total gridlock, and at one point we thought we were going to be there for the night! Glad to get home to a small but festive gin and tonic.

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