Birdwatch: golden plovers flash across the winter sky

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The plumage of these beautiful waders spangles in the icy late afternoon light

A light fall of snow, and our little world is transformed. The birds are, too: their colours somehow heightened by the icy white backdrop.

Rosie the red-fox labrador and I take a walk around “the loop”, the three-mile circuit behind our Somerset home. A slender grey wagtail bobs on the edge of a steep-sided rhyne, its lemon and grey plumage reflected in the murky water. We come across a standoff between a plump cock stonechat and an equally fat robin, each laying claim to the same length of hedgerow. From time to time, a snipe flies up, hurtling away into the distance; while two skylarks call tentatively, a hint of spring to come.

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