15th - did some conservation work on the banks of the River Cray for the first time in a couple of months. It was noticeably colder, and the frost stayed put, down here in the valley, compared with 'up the hill' in north Barnehurst. The stink of traffic fumes along Thames Rd was palpable, kept low to the ground by the cold air. There was an unbelievable accumulation of plastic and other rubbish part-buried in the soil where rank vegetation had been removed along a section of riverbank. Civilization. Allegedly. Helped coppice some rather large willow - which involved hanging on the end of a long rope with four other people to stop the trunks crashing down across the river and being hard to get out again.
17th - enjoyable evening at the 'Bear and Ragged staff' in Crayford town centre to mark the 'end of season' for the Cray riverkeeper volunteers. Making my way back across Barnehurst Golf Course some time after midnight, two foxes were seen near Perry St. playing in the several inches of snow that had come down whilst we were in the pub. A Poplar tree had come down onto the 'rough' wildlife area. Lots of fox tracks were seen along the local roads.
18th - making its now traditional Christmas-time appearance (or perhaps it's just inconspicuous when the leaves are still on the trees), the 'local' Great Spotted Woodpecker was noticed making its way up the main trunk of the large Horse Chestnut a couple of gardens down the hill from mine in Barnehurst. I rushed indoors to get some binoculars, and took a while to relocate it on my return. This time it was hammering away at a dead Silver Birch, slightly obscured by the Chestnut.
19th - Late morning and an adult Fox was out in the sun and the snow in the next garden up the hill. It ran off with its rear left foot kept lifted off the ground. Hopefully it's a temporary injury. Several House Sparrows were seen in Northumberland Heath, including 7 in a scrappy hedge by the car park behind the Co-op. They allowed an unusually close approach. A single Pied Wagtail was seen in Northumberland Close.