Back to work this morning, and I left half an hour later due to the hazardous conditions caused by a hard frost on yesterdays melting snow. This meant I walked to work in the light, and could do some birding on the way in, which proved very eventful, when first I saw both the local PEREGRINES over Migrant Alley, half heartedly chasing a flock of 8 REDWING, very nice, but better was to come !
Whilst walking through the College Grounds, I purposely walked the edge of the drainage ditch hoping to put up a snipe, I did just that, but this one was a JACK SNIPE ( 133, 112, 66), !!! it came right up in front of me, flew about 15 meters then turned back, it was about to alight from where it had flown from, but two cars passed by and it flew just over a nearby hedge and dropped down. Wow! A patch tick !! This years species list now goes 3 ahead of the previous best yearly tally set last year :-)
Chomping at the bit to get out after work, I left in some much appreciated sunshine, but it didn't last long :-( The disappointment was made up however by seeing 2 COMMON SNIPE in their usual place by the Greenhouses/Migrant Alley, also 5 LAPWING flew over during the walk home.
After lunch, I walked over to the Lakes area, to check out the water, IT WAS FROZEN SOLID STILL :-( Whilst there though I found a small flock of mixed LESSER REDPOLL and SISKIN feeding in the Silver Birch that they seem to enjoy. I also had some good views of four BULLFINCH, but they thwarted my photographic attempts. In the scrub, I enjoyed watching a feeding flock of LONG TAILED TITS, with the usual species that hang with them - GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH, TREECREPER were the more notable.
I headed off to the Tree Nursery and Pub Field next, seeing more Treecreepers and Goldcrest on the way as I passed through the Wet woods, the former gave some bursts of song, so it would seem it's not too bothered by the cold :-) As I exited the woods a SPARROWHAWK flew over, as well as the odd Siskin and FIELDFARE. The pub Field was devoid of birds, just a white blanket of snow was seen, but the Tree Nursery had 8 PHEASANTS plus the regulars - SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD, WREN, DUNNOCK, and ROBIN. Looking skywards, 3 more LAPWING went over, then a few moments later a GREEN SANDPIPER casually flew past me! just the second this year, both in this month!
I was feeling pretty pleased with my sightings today, and headed home to fill the feeders in my garden before it got dark, as I did so, I saw a COMMON BUZZARD fly along the Wet Woods, mobbed by about 15 JACKDAWS, but just as I was finishing up, I glanced skywards and blow me down, not one, but 3 CURLEW (67) went over !! This only went on the patch list in November, so its a fantastic record. It also helps the ''seen from the house list'' reach 92 species now :-)
What a fantastic day !!