Whatever the season, one of my favourite locations for watching wildlife is along the Thames towpath from Canbury gardens, under Kingston bridge and upstream.

In summer, nesting swallows house martins and common terns command my attention but in winter, there is still so much to see.

At the mouth of the Hogsmill river mute swans throng the water waiting for bread thrown by passers by. Many squabbling black headed gulls congregate, their chocolate brown heads moulted and showing just a black patch behind the eyes. A few herring and lesser black backed gulls also spend the winter here. Mallard and coots abound and join in the melee for bread while cormorants dive for fish.

Beautiful great crested grebes are here in pairs, their summer crests subdued now. At one time the birds were critically endangered because Edwardian ladies demanded their plumage for fancy hats. Fortunately grebes are protected now.

There is even a small population of house sparrows living here, so good to see and hear their 'tweets' as the species is rather scarce nowadays. (female pictured). Pied and grey wagtails love the riverside and nest by Clattern bridge.

Herons perch on tall buildings surveying the scene below and sometimes plunge into the Hogsmill aiming to catch chub swimming by the bridge.

With luck we may see one of the resident Kingston peregrine falcons flying serenely above on the lookout for feral pigeons.

There is also a colony of fairy bonnet mushrooms living on a low wall along the embankment.

So much to see indeed and a winter walk where wildlife in variety is guaranteed.