It was out for a full patch walk this morning, the weather was the same as usual, the less said the better.....
I started the walk by going over to the lake area first, rather than Migrant Alley and the College, as I normally do, but I miss getting Linnets on the list by doing it this way round, as they have all left their roost by the time I get to the Tree Nursery.
The idea was to get to the lake before anyone else disturbed it, but it didn't help really, I only saw half a dozen MALLARDS, a MOORHEN and a GREY HERON, however a sighting of a KINGFISHER was a good bonus bird for the day.
On the way to the lake, the Small Holding and Wet Woods provided me with the expected species, TREECREEPER, NUTHATCH, COAL TIT, GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS, were all seen, with the latter drumming again. JAYS were very evident today, as were BULLFINCH'S, two species that are normally heard more than seen, and overhead many small parties of REDWING and FIELDFARE were on the move, probably because of the continual gas cannons firing off every 10 mins on the fields surrounding my patch. 29 species were seen before my half way break, but not one Long Tailed Tit showed up, a species that has been seen alomost daily this month.
I left for the second part of my walk in the now accustomed gloom, my camera stayed inside! The first species added to the day list was a flyover PIED WAGTAIL, quickly followed by a small flock of GREENFINCH'S that were sitting in the bushes around the Greenhouse Complex. As I made my way through six inches of mud that has been torn up by the machinery at the Tree Nursery, I heard some Geese calling in the distance, I stopped and waited for them to come over, and they turned out to be nothing more exciting than CANADA GEESE 8 of them, with a feral looking white one.
The walk through Migrant Alley was quite productive, I added MEADOW PIPIT, SKYLARK, and a group of six YELLOWHAMMER, as well as the usual BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULLS. The stream that runs next to the college grounds had at least 60 SISKINS feeding in the Alders that line the banks, but I couldn'r see any Lesser Redpolls with them. The College grounds yeilded a few more common species that weren't already on the day list, the best being a GOLDCREST. I returned homewards across the sports pitch towards Migrant Alley, and scanned the Greenhouses in the distance for the Kestrel, but it wasn't found today, but as I looked up and scoured the sky for an elusive Sparrowhawk, I found a high up COMMON BUZZARD (62), at last the year list moves on!
In all, 43 species were seen today, about average for a january day, but Linnet could have been added and Long Tailed Tit should of been!
As I passed along the track at the north end of Migrant Alley, in between the young wood and scrub area, I was horrified to see the handywork of the ''Country Management'' team belonging to Hadlow College. They had slashed paths through the scrub area, why? All they have done is disturb the already A1 breeding habitat of the summer migrants, both Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff all breed here, as well as the occasional Nightingale, it is also one of only two places for kilometers around, where Turtle Doves breed, thats without all the resident species that nest there.
On the right of the track, is a 16 year old plantation of trees, they are of mixed species and were planted in lines, and are in desperate need of thinning, so as to open up the area, do they do this, no, they havn't got a bloody clue about land management, useless!!!!!!!
Anyway rant over, i'll have to see if the birds return to breed this spring, thats if the college are not still slashing their way through our resident nesting birds!
I did manage a garden picture or two today, there was a 10 minute ''bright' spell around midday, and I managed to get the ROBIN and CHAFFINCH shot below