The first patch walk of the new year, and it was in perfect winter conditions, cold, clear and with a slight frost.
As I left my house and set off down Ashes lane towards the Tree Nursery, the first species of the year sang out - a ROBIN, this was quickly followed by calls of PHEASANT, CARRION CROW, HOUSE SPARROW and COLLARED DOVE. As the walk progressed, a steady stream of species were added to the list, nothing spectacular, but all the regulars had turned out to see me.
There was a noticable increase in REDWING, with a flock of 15-20 in every horse paddock and sheep field at Migrant Alley, FIELDFARE'S were just content to fly over. One bird I was pleased to get on the 2010 list early on, was LESSER REDPOLL, at least 5 fed with GOLDFINCH'S and SISKINS in the alder trees along the College Stream. It was good to get SKYLARK, YELLOWHAMMER, and MEADOW PIPIT on to the Jan. list, as it can be hard to find these in cold weather, but today they were all seen at Migrant Alley, as was a COMMON GULL, an infrequent species, and one easily missed in this month.
In the more wooded second half of my walk, I was hoping for the 'not always recorded daily' woodland specialist, and I found all of them, TREECREPER, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, and MARSH TIT, the latter was pleasing, as it will leave in March/April to breed elsewhere, and there is no gaurantee that one will over winter at the end of this year.
Unfortunately the lake had already been disturbed, and just MALARD and MOORHEN were seen here, but on the way back home I checked out the LITTLE OWL roost site and found it home, and I was also treated to a SPARROWHAWK flying low over.
The morning ended with a daylist of 48, a cracking start to 2010, but i'm still exactly 20 species off last January's record total of 68. I think this will be the year when most monthly records will not be exceeded! A list of all this years species can be seen on my side bar to the right, this will be updated as I find new species, in the order they were recorded in, so you can follow my progress as I try to beat last years record total of 109 species!
With the good light today i managed a few photo's, Below is the Little owl at roost
and below is a Long Tailed Tit, one of a flock of 15 seen.
Now this next picture is going to make you laugh, this tree is in the Small holding, it is full of holes, and occasionally has a Little owl in in it. So I checked out the holes with my bins, and what did I see ?