Yet another hard frost greeted me this morning, and it felt colder than yesterday morning. I started out determined to find something good for the year list, as this was the last of my holiday walks, and it's back to work tomorrow. After walking the short distance down ashes lane, and going into the tree nursery, LINNET joined the day list, along with the ROBIN, BLACKBIRD, MAGPIE, GREENWOODPECKER, DUNNOCK and BLUE TIT that had gone before. A lone SISKIN called as it flew over, and just before adding BARN OWL - which was out hunting for a short time - 56 FIELDFARE went NW. On the way to Migrant Alley GREENFINCH, MISTLE THRUSH, HOUSE SPARROW and GOLDCREST went on the list, it was all looking like a repeat of yesterday's walk. At migrant alley there were already 100+ LAPWING on the stubble, numerous BLACK HEADED GULLS were with them, and above, a SKYLARK called as it drifted slowly over. Along the stream by the college a GREY HERON flew up, but little was seen around the college grounds, the lawns and ponds were frozen solid.
As I came out from the college grounds a small piece of excitement, gave me a bit of inspiration, as a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL (55) went over, one more for the year list! The second walk to Migrant Alley gave me just a PHEASANT, that was by the greenhouses and a group of 3 BULLFINCH in the hedgerow.
The woodland part of my walk again started with a visit to the wild bird crop at the west end of Ashes lane, here i found the usual YELLOWHAMMERS, which had now increased to around 30 birds, with them were at least 4 REED BUNTINGS. Walking to the lake area via the wet woods yielded just 1 more bird for the day list - a NUTHATCH. The pools in the woods, and the lake were frozen solid, and all was very quiet. I decided to go down the side of the wet woods that joins the tree nursery, after I had recieved a call from my mate (who watches a patch north of me) that he had found a group of Snipe, maybe I'd be as lucky ? It wasn't to be, however better things were to come, as I walked through some young Oaks, a WOODCOCK (56, 122) flew up and went into the woods a short distance away, superb, a patch tick, and a long awaited one, my heart hadn't even stopped pounding, when just seconds later 7 GOLDEN PLOVER (57) flew over SW, This sighting alone would have made my day, it took me until the 30th of December to get this species last year! So after a samey sort of start, it all ended in great excitement, and I got my ''something good for the yearlist'' big time.
A suggestion by steve of http://newhythe.blogspot.com/ was to put a yearlist for 2009 on my side bar, as he has done. that way all can follow what's been seen. My list should appear under the barn owl photo. Any new patch ticks will appear in capitals.
Above: A female Pheasant, and below a quickly taken pic. of the Golden plover as they flew over the tree nursery.