The thaw continued today, but with it comes the fog, the slush and the mud, not a very good mixture to be out and about in. I contemplated staying in and watching the garden feeders today, and might well have done so if it were not for the continued disturbance from the neighbours grand gardening schemes. I did watch the garden whilst eating lunch though, and was pleased to see two male SISKIN come in for the Sunflower hearts, the second record of this species already this year.
I spent just over an hour, in the foggy, damp, cold and utterly dismal conditions ( can it get any more unwelcoming on my patch ?) walking over to the lake and back, via the Small Holding and Wet Woods. Despite the unpromising conditions, I was surprised to see there were many more birds about today than recent days, a flock of 8 CHAFFINCH fed with 4 GREENFINCH under a crab apple tree at the small holding, with the usual GREAT and BLUE TITS in good numbers, also a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was seen hiding behind one of the pear tree trunks. I think most of these birds would be associating with my garden feeders that are only 50 meters away, and were just biding thier time waiting for an interlude in the work going on.
In the wet woods, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of calling birds heard, I tracked down the culprits, and found myself in the midst of a feeding flock of LONG TAILED TITS, with a few Great and Blue Tits, as I scanned through them the Great Tits were calling ever louder, mimicking both Marsh tit and Nuthatch remarkable well, and they had me fooled, if only for a minute. I watched for some minutes, hoping for a sighting of the rare and elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, but it wasn't here today, however I found two TREECREEPER and a GOLDCREST - nice to see they have come through the worst of this cold spell.
I left the wet woods and went on to the lake area, finding a couple of NUTHATCH'S on the way, the real thing this time, as well as another Treecreeper. I checked out the lake to asses it's progress in the thawing department - coming along slowly is the answer, there were at least some puddles on the ice now. A quick scan round the scrubby area and large garden, didn't turn up much at all, except the BULLFINCH feeding in the usual Ash tree - 3 of them today.
I decided I would go back into the wet woods, and re-locate the tit flock, maybe I missed something feeding with them the first time, a Chiffchaff, or a Firecrest would of helped the year list along, but it wasn't to be. I caught up with the Tit flock as they were leaving the woods and entering the small holding, and despite much scanning I was still Looking at Long tailed Tits!
The year list is stagnating again, I had a look at my blog for last January, and by this time I was on 63 species, well ahead of this year, and some good sightings too. However January is only halfway through, and once the lake thaws, who knows what might turn up!