Out on my patch this morning at first light (well, it was almost light!) for the first of my walks that will take me up to the end of the year. These last 8 walks will take me to 121 full patch visits for the year, keeping up the average of 120 for each of the last 8 years.
This morning's walk was an above average type walk for December, with 44 species being being recorded in the gloomy and very wet conditions, only one species that I might have expected to show didn't, that was the Mistle Thrush. All the habitats produced their share of birds, Migrant Alley had the bird of the day, when the first COMMON BUZZARD of the month flew over, being persued by CARRION CROWS, as is usually the case! This was a pleasing find, as it now means I have recorded Buzzards in every month this year - a feat that I would never have believed 5 years ago. A couple of LAPWING were on the sheep pasture, and both SKYLARK and YELLOWHAMMER flew over, as did, more surprisingly a GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL, my third record this month, thats more than I see in the whole of some years!
Along the stream that runs adjacent the College, there were a minimum of 75 SISKINS in the Alder trees there. The college grounds and gardens yeilded the usual day list fillers, the best of which included a group of 5 BULLFINCH.
The Small Holding, Wet Woods and scrubby area around the lake was productive today, MARSH TIT, COAL TIT, 2 TREECREEPER, 3 GOLDCRESTS and a calling NUTHATCH were all nice species to find, and the 3 parties of LONG TAILED TITS made for good viewing. The lake was still in the process of thawing out, but a GREY HERON was waiting patiently on the ice for it to do so! There were no Mallard today, this is the first time this species has not been recorded on a full patch walk this year.
Unfortunately in the gloomy conditions, and the fact I didn't get close enough to any birds, I didn't get a single Photo, maybe tomorrow!
Happy Christmas to you all, enjoy the holiday!