Cold, grey, with spits of rain this afternoon,but as I walked home from work across Migrant Alley, I was able to forget the biting wind for just a few minutes, for 100yards ahead of me a large flock of WOODPIGEONS were flushed up, about 75-100 in all, I scanned the sky for a raptor, and soon found one of the local PEREGRINES toying with the scattering pigeons. It 'carved' the flock neatly in two, then shaved another small group off one of the halves, it was like watching a sheepdog with the sheep! The falcon then dropped down, halfheartedly, on to a single pigeon, but didn't capture it, instead the pigeon dropped like a stone into some cover. The peregrine then did the same to another pigeon, it was like it was playing a game with them!
After a bite to eat, I set off out for the lake, as is my usual routine, and will be for a while until the days lengthen a bit more. It was cold and raw, the footpaths were deep in clinging mud and decaying leaves, the spindley tree tops in the wet woods were rattling against each other as the wind buffeted them - a typical January scene. Very little bird activity was noted, just GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a single SISKIN were noted on the way to the lake. The lake itself had seen an increase in MALLARD again, 19 were on the semi-frozen water, but try as I might I couldn't make a female Wigeon, or a female Gadwall from any of the 9 female Mallards :-).
I stayed around for half an hour or so, hoping maybe something would drop in, but it didn't, I did see both KESTREL and SPARROWHAWK hunting around the area though, this would explain the lack of passerine activity seen here!
By 15:30 I was getting cold, and a hot cup of tea was becoming ever more attractive than finding a new species of bird for the year! I stuck out another 20 minutes, but little was seen, except a flock of five BULLFINCH, and the thought of hot sweet tea won me over. I did of course run into a pair of TREECREEPERS on the way back through the wet woods, but i couldn't hold my bins still to watch them, I was shivering so much!
Three raptor species for the day wasn't to be sniffed at, and it's always a pleasure to see Bullfinch and Treecreeper, but I would have loved to have found a coot!