At last a bit of sunshine, and out of the wind it felt quite warm. The LITTLE OWL was thinking the same thing, as it sunbathed in its usual place, in the old apple tree in the small holding. In the wet woods, I immediately flushed up a party of REDWING feeding on the floor with a few CHAFFINCH, and a couple of MOORHENS scampered off for deeper cover. Two TEAL swam away into dense undergrowth, but didn't flush up. I went deeper into the woods and stopped by on old yew tree, where I could hear a GOLDCREST calling. I stood here for half an hour watching not one but at least 6 of them, they would feed for a while, and then make there way down for a drink from one of the pools. I checked each one carefully, but couldn't turn one into a Firecrest! Whilst I was watching, a COAL TIT came into view, as did the pair of MARSH TITS a TREECREEPER and a NUTHATCH, they all came exceptionally close, giving some good photo opportunities - I was like a kid in a sweet shop, I would focus on one bird, then another would come closer, so I focused on that, then it would move off, and i'd get neither pics! All this went on with a flock of 5-10 SISKIN feeding over head in the Alder trees.
Eventually I moved off, and checked out the lake, but it was dissapointing again, just 15 MALLARDS, and 6 CANADA GEESE were present. Not surprising really, as the shotgun blasts and gas cannon were booming overhead all of the afternoon. I back tracked along the footpath, and through the woods into the tree nursery, as I passed the rows of young beech trees, with their brown leaves still showing, a WOODCOCK flew up and alighted futher down the plot. I really am being spoilt for this species this winter.
At Migrant Alley the fields were bare, something had been through before me - probably a dog walker, but maybe it was the peregrine ? I did see a large female SPARROWHAWK fly low in a wide arc, maybe it was her. The nearby Raspberry canes had at least a dozen BULLFINCH feeding on the old fruit seeds, a good count for this colouful finch (another one of my favourite birds!) A bonus for the end of the afternoons walk, was the sighting of a Fox, sleeping amongst the rows of raspberry canes, it raised its head looked at me through one eye and went back to sleep!!
Below. the Little Owl sunbathing at its usual place