As Christmas Day was quite mild and sunny, though rather windy, I went for a walk around my local patch. Although I live in suburban southern Cambridge, I am fortunate to have Cherry Hinton Brook near me. The Brook rises from springs at Giant’s Grave, near the crossroads at Cherry Hinton High Street, Cherry Hinton Road, Queen Edith’s Way and Fulbourn Road and runs roughly north-west, through the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall to eventually reach the River Cam on Stourbridge Common about 4km from its source.
Near my house I found some of the usual street weeds still in flower: Chickweed, Shepherd’s Purse, Petty Spurge and Annual Mercury, while there were Daisies in some of the lawns. There was not much in flower along the Brook until I got to near St Bede’s Gardens where one or two of the Sweet Violets were already out. Also already in flower in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall was Butcher’s Broom which has inconspicuous greenish flowers which eventually produce bright red berries.
But instead of flowers there was birdlife. I got several good views of a Kingfisher, as it flew upstream, stopping from time to time to perch on an overhanging branch. Then I spotted a large white bird on the path: not a seagull but an elegant Little Egret. It flew off but did not disappear from sight for long and soon I noticed that there were two. Little Egrets have been expanding north-west from Europe for the last few decades and have been seen near Cherry Hinton Brook in winter since 2014. In the hedge there was a Robin and various Tits: one sounded as if it was saying “CwistmasTwee; CwistmasTwee”. I also saw a Moorhen or two on the Brook, Blackbirds, Wood Pigeons and Seagulls swirling over the lake in the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall.
Not a bad tally for a short walk. I was only out for about an hour and mostly within one 1km square (TL4757) though Cherry Hinton Hall is a different one (TL4856) and I briefly passed through a third one.