At Helsington Church birds flew overhead with a brief contact call. So the search was on. They're often found high in the tops of larch, masquerading as cones. Low light and a screen of twigs conceal a scatter of birds then something startles them and a flock erupts in flight. When they feel safe they come down into yew trees to feed on red arils.
After that introductory moment at the church there was silence. Perhaps they'd gone.
Maybe fieldfare, maybe not. The glory of the morning was alto-cumulus mackerel sky, patterns of sunlit cloud against a foil of blue. Then wisps of wind-sheer at altitude. When I reached the yew trees where fieldfare feed the light had faded and the sky was monochrome grey.
At last, I glimpse dark shapes of birds high in larch trees and walk slowly, to come closer without putting them to flight. The light had faded and the yew trees looked sombre but I could make out colour on fieldfare, through binoculars. Seeing them coming down to feed in a yew tree I tried to watch from the shelter of a concealing larch, but it probably hid the birds better than it hid me. I watched them flitting amongst the tops of larch and I could hear a nuthatch trill and a tap, tapping on bark.
Next day the rains would return so this glimpse of fieldfare was the best I might hope for. I love the aura of being in a solitude of woodland and sensing fieldfare and redwing all around.
By chance, I focused my binoculars on a holly bush and sunlight caught moisture on the bush and set it shimmering. I tried to catch the effect in images but it was elusive. Instead, I saw the bush thick with red holly berries which I could not see through binoculars. There's a fine crop of holly this autumn.