Just two days after severe storm Ciara roared in off the Atlantic I'm in Richmond Park walking across the wide open space leading to Pen ponds.

The afternoon is bathed in sunshine with small fluffy clouds scudding across the blue. But the gusty winds have barely abated . I had hoped to listen to my first singing skylark of the year but no self-respecting lark would attempt to ascend in these conditions as his territorial song would be whisked away unheard.

A flock of jackdaws is tossed about like black plastic bags near the tree belt ,'chacking' to one another but no other birds can be seen.

Walking along a path adjacent to bracken a movement on top of a log attracts my attention. It is a male kestrel.

Normally we would see him hovering above (pictured) but today, unable to hover in such a gale he employs a different hunting strategy by perching just above ground and scanning the scene below. Suddenly he flies a couple of metres and plunges into the sward. Moving closer I see he has caught a small vole which he covers with half open wings and tucks into his prey, tolerating my approach as he has probably not eaten for a couple of days.

Reaching the pond, huge 'white horse' capped waves crash into the shore in front of me. A pair of mallard bravely breast the waves while in the shelter of an island, a few coots, gulls and a male shoveller duck can be seen.

Someone throws bread and seemingly out of nowhere come jackdaws, gulls, a couple of squabbling crows and the pair of resident swans, all anxious to feed up before hunkering down to await the next named winter storm Dennis the menace!.