Having been "rudely awakened by the dustmen" first thing this morning, I decided to take my camera for an early walk. I caught the 8.00am bus to High Bradfield and walked back via Agden, Damflask and Loxley Common.
There was still frost on the grass as I cut through the churchyard at Bradfield. A bird of prey swooped low over the church roof, scattering the jackdaws in panic. Although I only caught a brief glimpse, I recognised the unmistakeable profile of an accipiter - rounded wings and a long tail. I found myself wondering whether it was a goshawk... or just a large sparrowhawk. Whilst the former is a possibility, the latter is much more likely.
I walked on to the ruined farm at Rocher Head, then round to Agden Side. It was blissfully quiet - I didn't see another living soul until I reached Agden Reservoir, where I stopped to photograph the bank voles that scurry out of the dry stone wall to pick up bits of bird seed.
After calling in for a coffee at Bradfield Post Office, I sat by the cricket pitch and watched the swallows skimming low across the short turf. I made a couple of half-hearted attempts at photographing them, but they were just too quick for me. I had a more success with a small flock of long-tailed tits that were foraging in the bushes along the edge of Damflask.