After missing out on a patch visit in yesterdays sunny weather, due to a Christmas trip to meet up with the family, I was eager to get out onto my patch for some fresh air and exercise this morning, but of course, the sunshine had gone ! :-)
I took the usual route through the first half of my patch, walking along Ashes lane, through the Tree Nursery, Pub Field, Migrant Alley, then onto the College Grounds and back through Migrant Alley, lastly looking round the Greenhouse complex, before home and a halfway break - 2 hours in all.
The regular resident species filled the early part of the list, MAGPIE, BLUE TIT, CARRION CROW, ROBIN, GREAT TIT, BLACKBIRD etc, then the first SISKIN was heard going over, one of many heard and seen throughout my visit, the most of which was a large flock of at least 100 feeding in the Alder trees along the college stream. I had seen a CORMORANT fly over Migrant Alley a little earlier, and both COMMON and BLACK HEADED GULL were hawking over the Pub Field, but that was as exciting as it got until I walked through the College Grounds.
It was there that I stopped to look at the feeders put out by the staff at the College garden center, and as i did I became aware of a familiar trilling!!!! Could it be ? I looked up, and heard the trilling again, yes!! There it was flying across the grey sky, my first patch WAXWING (134, 113, 69) . Fan -bloody -tastic !! My turn at last, they seem to have been reported everywhere this winter, and I thought I was going to miss out, id even seen them at work, but now they were on my patch, well, over it to be exact, but that still counts :-) I excitedly sent out a few texts, and whilst doing so another little triller flew over, my second patch Waxwing :-) :-)
I carried on through the College Grounds, not seeing much around me, but again it was the sky that brought me a reward, two LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS along with my first GREAT BLACK BACK GULL (70) this month, went over heading westwards, a little further behind them were 11 HERRING GULLS, making up 5 species of gull for the visit, the first time I've ever achieved this feat !
The rest of the first part of the patch visit went much as expected, I found just one SNIPE by the Greenhouse Complex, there may have been more but I didn't go and flush them, and a few FIELDFARE were noted going over.
The second part of the walk, through the Small Holding, Wet Woods and Lakes area was less exciting, but it was good to record both SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL out hunting, as well as flyovers from YELLOWHAMMER plus only my second GREY HERON of the month. Long Tailed Tits were not about this morning, but there regular companions NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, TREECREEPER and COAL TIT were recorded, the latter two were prompted to sing by the warmer conditions. Also recorded were 6 BULLFINCH, up to 16 REDWING, and two GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS all in the lakeside scrub area, while a flyover of 3 MALLARDS were only my third sighting for this species this month. The MOORHEN, which had a 100% sighting rate until this month, were not seen for the 3rd day running, however there are still 3 coming to my garden. This should all change as the weather starts to warm up this week and the lake will thaw out for the first time since late November.