The Levels of the River Stour between Ash and Minster are a strange nether-world, unintensively farmed - a land of curlews, corn buntings, tree sparrows, stock doves and bullfinches, with a ring-tail hen-harrier eerily hunting overhead. Fieldfares by the hundred flew up from the nearby apple orchards, though most of the fruit seemed rotten.
In the dykes were mute swans and teal, but also some wigeon, which surprised me as I'm more used to seeing them on lakes.
On a tree adjacent to a dyke was some new fungus - after a bit of research I concluded that it was velvet shank, one of only a few that appear after the frost. I was quite pleased with myself with the identification, until I read Abbey Meadow's blog today, in which he got their first (he is a fungophile, so it's only to be expected).
I also found some Jew's ear in Kingsdown, after a while of not seeing it. And A. Meadows got that today too. Only small bits were found, though, so not enough for a taste.
On the sea, not a lot in the calm conditions, but the heads of two or maybe more common seals kept appearing, looking around and disappearing, so presumably they were fishing. Also, a strange large pristine-white bird on the surface caused a little perplexity until it struggled into the air - an adult gannet, soon joined by seven others - rarely seen close in and on the sea.
It had been reported by the local sea-anglers that the fish had gone offshore in the cold weather, so now it seems they're back.