Boxing day dawned bright and sunny - what a change! The first bird I noticed was a KESTREL, hovering in the distance, the cold had no doubt forced it out early to hunt. I saw the LINNETS leave their roost in the tree nursery, where I was also given a treat by the BARN OWL, who was also out hunting along the hedgerow. It was out for just a minute or so, then flew back into the shack, as I was watching, a CORMORANT flew overhead.
Migrant Alley had just a few SKYLARK in the stubbles, with around 35 BLACKHEADED GULL, who's numbers were increasing all the while, as more glided in from the west, later there were also 32 LAPWING on the stubble, with just a few REDWING, FIELDFARE, a couple of MEADOW PIPIT and a single YELLOWHAMMER.
In the alders along the college stream there were 40 SISKIN at least, with a dozen GOLDFINCH. The college gardens produced a GREY HERON and KINGFISHER on one of the ponds and a group of 4 BULLFINCH fed nearby.
A GREY WAGTAIL flew up from the car park, and as I crossed the sports pitch a GREAT BLACK BACK GULL flew over with 4 HERRING GULLS.
I walked up the western end of ashes lane to check out the field with the ''wild bird'' crop in it and found at least a dozen yellowhammer along the hedgerow, with them were 3 REED BUNTING. I think the crop would attract down many more birds, but the nearby gas connon blasting away every 40mins scares off everything, as does the pigeon shooter, who didn't call an xmas truce, he felt the need to kill even on xmas morning!
The wet woods were quiet this morning, but a MARSH TIT was calling, no Teal were recorded there, and the lake was deserted, all bar a couple of MOORHEN, and my long staying COOT!
A very good total of 49 species were seen, which could easily have gone into the 50's had the Pheasant, Teal or Coal tit showed up.
Above: The welcome sight of the sun at last!