I set off along ashes lane to the tree nursery, where, as yesterday, the usual common species were picked up, ROBIN, CARRION CROW, HOUSE SPARROW, GREEN WOODPECKER, WOODPIGEON, BLUE TIT and the likes, but as I reached the BARN OWL shack, with it at home today, my list had only 17 species on it, 5 less than yesterdays at this point, maybe it was going to be a quiet day after the storm last night.
Things livened up a bit at migrant alley, quite a few Thrushes were out on the maize stubbles, at least 100 FIELDFARE and at least 50 REDWING, they were hard to count, as they kept moving around on the large field. Also, with them were at least 20 SKYLARK, and 15 BLACK HEADED GULLS. A GREAT BLACK BACKED gull flew over, always a good species to see on my patch, and a KESTREL was seen flying low towards the greenhouses. The GREY WAGTAIL was again feeding around the manure pile. When I got to the stream behind the college grounds, I found it to be in flood, so I couldn't cross it further down, so that area was missed today. In the college grounds itself, I added LONG TAILED and COAL TIT as well as MOORHEN, GOLDCREST and JAY. I came out the college ground and crossed the sports pitch where around 30 Black Headed Gulls were feeding, and with them were 3 HERRING and 2 COMMON GULLS, four gull species in the same visit ! Not often achieved on my patch. Returning to Migrant alley, I walked the hedgerow and added LINNET, YELLOWHAMMER and REED BUNTING to my now much healthier looking list, I stopped and scanned the small wooded area behind the greenhouses and picked out a LITTLE OWL sunning itself on the tree branches, very nice. walking back up ashes lane on the way back to my house for a half time drink I saw a CORMORANT (66) flying in the direction of the Lake area, the first this year.
After my drink, I headed up the other end of ashes lane to the wild bird crop, and picked up a NUTHATCH calling from the oaks that grow in the large gardens that line the lane. At the bird crop there were at least 20 Yellowhammers and at least 4 Reed Buntings, and as I was trying to assess their numbers, a TAWNY OWL (67) called from the tall trees lining the field. An excellent addition to the year list, and the first time I have recorded 3 owl species on my patch in a single visit! Last year I really stuggled for this species, not recording it until the 29th Dec. I wandered my way to the wet woods, via the small holding, where the only PHEASANT of the day was recorded. In the woods there were a minimum of 6 TEAL, the list was now looking very long indeed passing 50! The lake had 5 CANADA GEESE on, and 23 MALLARD, and the BULLFINCH'S were in their favoured ash tree feeding on the keys. Back to the woods to get to the tree nursery, and as I walked up to the fenceline, yet another sighting of a WOODCOCK, it flew up 20 yards to the left of me. I walked along the edge of the nursery / wood and got the 55th species on my list when a male SPARROWHAWK flew out of the woods and circled round in the blue skies above.
So my thought, earlier in the day, of it being a quiet one, was well blown away! 55 five species is a day list record I thought to myself. Any doubts of that were seen off, when I recorded the MARSH TIT and BRAMBLING at the garden feeders later on, mmmm? If only the Meadow Pipit and Treecreeper had showed, or is that just greedy ?
Below are some SISKIN shots.
Below: Male Great TIT