Sun at last - albino squirrel and kingfisher in Alexandra Park

The weather has finally changed. It is much colder now, but blessedly clear and sunny.  On the first bright day this week, we walked in Alexandra Park.  
   Battleaxe sometimes wonders if she needs one of those SAD-thing daylight lamps - the seemingly endless dark, dank days did get me down....
Blue skies and reflections, Alexandra Park

Blue skies and reflections - Alexandra Park
   We are so lucky to have this wonderful open space in Hastings. In Birmingham, we were used to some large and impressive Victorian parks - like Cannon Hill, but Alexandra Park is better than any I've seen, and for a small town like Hastings, it is colossal. You can walk for miles through the park and its associated woods without ever covering the same route twice. As well as the formal planting areas and wonderful trees, all the reservoirs and associated feeder ponds provide so much watery interest, and a haven for wild life. Battleaxe readers will know of our annual Garlic Walks, to one of the more secret areas of the park. The whole thing must be a massive up-keep job for the council, and we should be very grateful.
    On  this walk, I kept my eyes trained on the tree tops looking for an albino squirrel, seen and photographed by lots of others. Unfortunately it did not appear for us. These photos were taken by Jackie Lewis - thanks to Jackie for letting me use them.
Albino squirrel in Alexandra Park (Jackie Lewis)

Albino Squirrel in Alexandra Park (Jackie Lewis)
   I just googled up albino squirrels, as clearly, they are very rare. Their albinism means they do not see or hear as well as other squirrels, making them vulnerable to predators. However, this guy seems to be surviving well. Apparently, there are even rarer true white squirrels who have black eyes, not red.
    A while ago I mentioned in a blog post that I had seen a kingfisher. (A very long while, I see, back in 2012, with beautiful autumn colour pictures).
    We were passing the same spot, just at the top of Buckshole Reservoir, and Philosopher was bemoaning the fact that he had never seen a kingfisher in his life. He had just finished speaking when one flew across the path right in front of us - this time I didn't see it. No chance of taking a photo, they are gone in a flash.
    I also recently wrote that the same outfit who run the miniature railway down on the seafront have taken over the railway which follows a leafy and romantic circuit in the middle of the park. It is supposed to be re-opening in February this year, but when we walked past clearly they are having a battle with all the water left over from the recent heavy rains. I hope they manage.
Wet and muddy railway works....
Just past the railway, by the rose garden, we saw camellias in full bloom - this was taken before the frost arrived!
Camellias in mid-January

As you'd expect of us, we stopped for coffee at the Eat Cafe - half of Hastngs seemed to be in there hoovering up huge fry-ups.
    Here are some more photos from our walk, mostly taken by Philosopher because I was watching the tree-tops......





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