I knew it was going to be a difficult full patch walk today, both in terms of physically walking through the deep snow, and trying to find any birds out there!
In the event I found a creditable 42 species, quite how I dont know, because there were long stretches of my walk where I saw and heard nothing at all. It was pleasing to see that the LINNETS had survived the frosty night, I watched at least 50 leave their roost in the tree nursery, quite how they keep warm in a bunch of Laurel bushes I find remarkable.
At Migrant Alley, REDWINGS were seen going over, several flocks of varying sizes from 3 to 28 went westwards, one flock had a few FIELDFARE with them. Also going over were a just a couple of SKYLARKS and 4 YELLOWHAMMER, it's notable that when watching birds going over, how white their underparts become as they reflect the snow, I had to double check some birds as for their ID. This particularly applied to the HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS as they flew low over.
The college gardens were given a thorough scanning, there are lots of berry laden shrubs here, so anything could be utilising this food source in the snowy conditions, but in the event the best of what was found were 3 BULLFINCH, the males looking very colourful against the snow.
As I passed the Greenhouse complex on the way back for my half time drink, I saw two PHEASANTS fly from the grounds, and the KESTREL was hunting what it could over the area. The SPARROWHAWK put in an appearance as I walked back up ashes lane, being mobbed by PIED WAGTAILS.
The second half of my walk was even quieter than the first, the Small Holding, wet woods and Lake area were still very snowy, and walking on the crispy snow was making so much noise I had no chance of sneaking up on anything, it was like walking over bubble wrap! The lake was frozen over and covered in snow, just two MALLARD were seen, but my heart missed a bit as I scanned the lake edge and found two female Pheasants, just for a milli second I thought they were Bitterns !
My fortunes changed a little as I walked back along the edge of the wet woods, here the sun was beating down, and it was sheltered from the breeze, the sun felt warm, I was quite surprised by its strength. The clever birds also found this place and I found a LONG TAILED TIT flock moving rapidly through, and with it were 2 TREECREEPERS, a COAL TIT, a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and the more common BLUE and GREAT TITS, as I watched them all I saw a lone LAPWING fly over the trees. A little further down the edge of the wood i checked the LITTLE OWL roost and found it home.
I spent some time garden watching this afternoon, and the feeders were very busy again. I was particularly pleased when a flock of 5 Fieldfare flew over, two of them doubled back and alighted in my elder tree, this is the first time I have recorded Fieldfare in my garden! It is the 53rd species to use my little piece of habitat in the 10 years I have lived here. A quick dash to the local shop for some apples was had, maybe I can entice them back!
Below is a photo of the scrubby area around the lake, no wonder nothing is in there!
Below is one of the two small lakes than are adjacent the main lake, all frozen up
Below: the only two Mallard left on the lake, to the wright is one of the Pheasants that had me going for a second!