It was 07:20 before it grew light enough to get out this morning, and although heavy threatening clouds hung low overhead, it remained dry for my 3 and a half hour visit.
It was hard to pick out any bird calls with the strength of the wind, making the early visit to the Lakes via the small holding and Wet Woods uninspiring. MAGPIE, CARRION CROW, DUNNOCK, WOODPIGEON and ROBIN were quickly on the list, but incredibly just 2 more species were added before reaching the lake, one was PHEASANT, a gathering of 14, only one being a male, were seen in one of the large gardens adjacent to the small Holding, with them was a MOORHEN - 7 species!
At the lakes there were fewer MALLARD than yesterday - just 9, with about the same number of Moorhen. A WREN called loudly, and a BLACKBIRD alarm called, also two BULFINCH'S softly called, all from the Scrub. A TREECREEPER was heard, along with COAL TIT, MARSH TIT, GREAT TIT, BLUE TIT and GOLDCREST with only glimpses of them had in the gloomy light, but at least the wind was dropping out.
A check of the feeders in a garden next to the lake, had more tit species feeding there, as well as a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and GREENFINCH'S, a SONGTHRUSH flew over, a JAY screeched from way over in the Wet woods, and as I left a flock of 9 GOLDFINCH dropped in.
I headed over to the Tree Nursery, through the Sheep pasture in Marchants Field, where a CORMORANT was seen flying over high, as were HERRING GULL and SKYLARK. I stopped for a few minutes when reaching the Tree Nursery, and had a listen and skyscan, STARLINGS dropped down on to their favoured laurel berries, a few CHAFFINCH also dropped in and 5 MEADOW PIPITS flew up, a STOCK DOVE went over and the last of the PIED WAGTAILS flew from the Greenhouse roost, and dispersed into the surrounding fields. The first small flock of BLACK HEADED GULLS were noted going west, further small flocks went over for the next 2 hours, numbering at least 60 birds.
I made my way over to Migrant Alley via the Greenhouses, checking the boundary hedgerow. In it were at least 14 BLACKBIRDS, a mix of Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, and Goldfinch, and then my old mate the SPARROWHAWK flew in, made a grab at a finch - missed and carried on across the sheep pasture and paddocks, as a result nothing but ROOKS were seen as I walked over to the College Grounds.
Here I added COLLARED DOVE, GREEN WOODPECKER, NUTHATCH, which is not usually seen here, and the first JACKDAW of the morning to my day list, better late than never! The colony of HOUSE SPARROWS were seen at the stables, where overhead a GREY HERON headed towards the Lakes and a pair of GREYLAG GEESE flew over headed in the opposite direction, taking the days species total to 40.
Another check of Migrant Alley proved fruitless, so I headed over to the maize stubbles in the Pub Field, a scan of the stubbles and a check of the hedgerow that leads me back to the Tree Nursery only gave me one other species for the day, a REED BUNTING, a very welcome sighting on my patch, as they are very scarce here. My final act of the walk was to once again pass through the Tree Nursery, and in doing so added a MISTLE THRUSH to the list as well as FIELDFARE, 13 of them dropped in to a well stocked apple tree in a private garden. 43 species for the day was more than I expected at the outset of my walk, and although nothing new was added for the month or year lists, I enjoyed every moment of it :-)
No Pics today - too dark :-(