Overcast and dull again ! The birds however, seemed more active, especially in the wet woods where a small flock of CHAFFINCH were amongst the leaf litter, I always scan them for a Brambling at this time of year, but there wasn't any today. A pair of GOLDCREST, a pair of COAL TITS and a TREECREEPER were all very vocal, as were half a dozen SISKIN up in the Alder tree's, sounding like there were two dozen! When I got to the lake area, I saw a CORMORANT on the first, smaller lake, so I crept past so as not to flush it up. The main lake however had a nice surprise in store, in the form of 5 GOOSANDER, Wow!! Quite a gathering for my patch. Not such a gathering has been recorded here since the record number of 9 birds was seen on 14 February 2002. I got as near as I dared without flushing them off, and could see three stunning males and two females, I managed a few distant photo's through the bankside undergrowth, and you can just make them out.
I left the Goosander preening, and loafing about on the lake, and went over to Migrant alley, where a tractor was harrowing the muckspread stubble fields. This normally brings in a few birds, and so it proved, the first bird I noticed was a KESTREL hovering overhead, no doubt hoping for a tasty worm to be thrown up, and in the furthest part of the field at least 5 FIELDFARE were enjoying the disturbed ground. As I sat and watched, PIED WAGTAILS were dropping in all the time, two dozen at least, were feeding when I left. Also dropping in were 28 REDWING, the largest flock i've seen for some time, a lone MEADOW PIPIT was heard and two SKYLARK were occasionally giving some brief song flight. Flyovers included 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS, 1 BLACK HEADED GULL, 2 CANADA GEESE and a few YELLOWHAMMERS. Still no Chiffchaff today, or that early wheatear, in fact the birds seen today were more of a wintery nature - but that will soon change, the weekend is being set up nicely!
Below: The Blackthorn blossom is now just opening, weeks after last years first sighting.
Below are 3 of the Goosander, a real good bird on my patch, and this winter I've been spoiled rotten!