A hard fost had formed overnight, turning all the puddles and pools on my patch to ice, and the thick mud had set like concrete, becoming ankle breaking to walk on!
It was very quiet birdwise, most birds have moved off to less frozen habitat, but a few hardy individuals have stayed around. The roost of LINNETS seem to be surviving the cold, I watched at least 40-50 birds come out of the Tree Nursery shrubs at first light. At Migrant Alley there were plenty of REDWINGS picking over the frozen ground at the horse paddocks, where a single YELLOWHAMMER was seen, and a single SKYLARK flew over, but mostly the sky remained big, empty, and blue, just HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS were seen going over.
The first of two additions to the year list was seen as I looked across to the Greenhouse Complex, the KESTREL had returned to hunt there, the second addition was a GREY HERON that flew up the stream by the college grounds, the 50 species mark has been reached.
The second half of my walk felt colder, probably because I was in the shade most of the time, it really was bleak in the Wet Woods, all the water had frozen again and the only birds around were BLUE, GREAT and LONG TAILED TITS. The disappointing visit was compounded when I reached the lakes, they were once again frozen from bank to bank, and there is little prospect of them thawing any time soon looking at the weather for the next few days!
I saw a few SISKINS, a COAL TIT, and a NUTHATCH, as well as a few BULLFINCH'S, as I looked around the scrub, but nothing much more to note than that. On the way home back through the woods I saw a JAY driving off a SPARROWHAWK through the tree tops, and a quick glance at the LITTLE OWL roost showed that it was home. A total of 44 species was good for the conditions, I think it will get tougher if next weeks frosts come to fruition, and the lake stays frozen for any length of time, it could prove very detrimental to the January and year list, not to mention the affect on the smaller birds - I better get some more sunflower hearts for the garden feeders!
Speaking of which, the only photo's I got today were of the garden birds, (apart from the last pic) they are really making heavy use of the suplemented food.
Above: A female BLACKBIRD warms herself in the sun, below a male GREENFINCH does the same.