I wanted a lie-in today, after all of yesterday’s shenanigans, but it wasn’t to be because I had an appointment for a haircut in Stow-on-the-Wold this morning. When I hauled myself out of bed at grumpy o’clock there was a frost, and a bemused woodpigeon was trying and failing to drink from the frozen birdbath, so I knew that if I shaped myself and got out in the garden with the macro I would at least have the chance to photograph some ice crystals, and thus bag the day’s photo nice and early. This, I think, is a tiny alpine sedum, which grows (through no effort of mine) on top of our garden wall.

When I was driving back from Stow there were red kites in two places I’d never seen them before: the first was hovering above Trooper’s Lodge, where the Stow road joins the main A44, and the second drifted over the Roman road as I was approaching the Honeybourne industrial estate. While it’s exciting to have these beautiful raptors working their way towards us, I’m a little worried as to whether they’ll be able to co-exist with the resident buzzards, because the two species have much the same diet. There are several buzzards living around us, usually keeping a little way away from the village unless flying high over it, but R tells me that he saw one in a neighbour’s paddock a few days ago, which suggests to me that they’re already under some pressure to find enough food – unlike the smaller, faster raptors which are efficient hunters of live prey, buzzards and red kites eat mainly carrion, and in a harsh winter their existence is pretty marginal. Nothing ever seems to be as simple as I would like it to be!

Before I go I’d like to say a huge thank you for your generous reaction to my 2000th blip yesterday – I’m thrilled skinny that you liked the murmuration photos, and charmed by the lovely comments some of you left. I will try to get round to answering everyone individually, but for now please know that you made me feel all warm and fuzzy – and just a little pink around the ears. (:-)