The dying embers of the year, and the penultimate walk around my patch, produced another of those memorable days that have made this year such an exciting one on my patch. After finding not much at all around the wet woods and frozen lake, apart from the skating MALLARDS, I made my way over to the farmland part of my walk. I checked the BARN OWL shack, and was pleased to find it at home, then made my way to migrant alley, where the Maize stubble held 90 LAPWING, but it was the college grounds that was to hold a surprise for me, in the form of a GREEN SANDPIPER (105), it flew low over my head and weaved it's way through the tree's and over in the direction of Migrant alley,calling as it did so, a year tick on the second last walk round of the year, what more could be asked for.......well another year tick that's what!
An afternoon visit to Migrant alley, to sit and watch the fields, produced no less than 27 GOLDEN PLOVER (106), they flew in to join the Lapwing, but left almost immediately. I was feeling pretty pleased with my haul for the day, but a further surprise was in store, when a COMMON SNIPE dropped in, just beside the hedgerow that the summer whinchats had found so attractive. I would have settled for any of these species when started out early this morning.
The Snipe had taken the monthly total to 72, the joint best ever monthly total recorded, I also had 72 species in the September just gone, but..........as I sat and watched the excitable Lapwing, and another two golden Plover out on the sheep pasture, everything went up in panic. This means just one thing - PEREGRINE FALCON, and yes, I scanned the sky and found it! I watched as it flew from over Migrant Alley, and back behind the Tower at hadlow, fantastic! 73 for December, and that has set a new monthly record.
It may have been an even better! I was sure I heard a Curlew flyover, in fact i was more than sure. I heard the cur- lew call just once, but a long scan of the sky didn't reveal anything, close, but for me, I wanted a bit more to covince myself, one that got away!
Above: A ROBIN, fluffed up in the cold.
Above. You'll have to take my word for it, the 27 Golden Plover.
Above. Some of the Lapwing out on the stubbles, the grass field behind had 2 Golden Plover on it.