The first day of 2009 is here and it is cool this morning. Temperatures are hovering around -1 degree and all is frosted and frozen. We ventured out to see some old friends in Nottingham and on the way we diverted to the village of Ruddington to locate the local museums. Afterwards, we found the local nature reserve and walked in the cool January air. The reserve at Ruddington is a man made space with woodland, meadows, an artificial lake and a railway heritage centre at the heart of the park.
The lake was frozen and a forlorn looking flock of black headed gulls were standing out on the ice. Rails, like this moorhen, were walking amongst the reed beds looking for suitable food.
A chorus of chatter came from the resident magpies, who were perched high in the trees on the lookout for anything that captured their interest. Most of the small birds were active, with chaffinches, sparrows and redstarts flitting amongst the branches with the various tits.
No such hassle for the mute swans - they just break up the ice and swim where their food is. Even in this weather they will graze near the edge of the lake. They are large birds.
In the village we parked up to seek refreshment. We were accompanied by a grey wagtail which would not come too close, but maintained our company for the crumbs of some home made biscuits. This little bird was traffic wise and took the crumbs from the roadside onto the pavement to consume them, then came back for more.