Today was the last day at work until January 4th - so its birding all the way until then! Well nearly, I might not get time on boxing day :-(
Meanwhile, todays patch visit was limited to the walk home from work and a short visit of just 45 mins later on this afternoon. The walk home from work was more productive, in that I saw a KINGFISHER fly across Migrant Alley and on past the Greenhouses towards the lake area - no water for it there i'm afraid. There were also two SNIPE in the thawed area at Migrant Alley, and as I neared home the first GREY HERON (68) sighting for this month was had, it circled over before moving off westwards. A LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL also went over, looking extremely attractive, the lying snow reflected back off the birds underparts, making them look brilliant white, and contrast even more with the dark wings.
A little later I set off out into a biting North wind, and although the temperature was 3-4 degrees above freezing it felt bitter, on top of that, pellets of ice started blowing into my face, stinging like biting insects. I braved a trip round the Tree Nursery, which unsurprisingly was almost birdless, just the odd WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN and a KESTREL which looked stunning against the reflected snow, I did feel for it in the cold, lets hope it got a meal of some kind.
I decided to go and check on the 2 Snipe on the thawed area of snow that I'd seen earlier, and was pleased to see that there were at least 6 there now, there may have been more, but I didn't want to flush them in these conditions just to get an accurate count, they were actively feeding, and didn't need that imposed upon them. It was whilst watching the Snipe, that my fingers started to get burning cold, and the wind was making my eyes stream, so i made my way home, i'll have plenty of time to catch up over the next ten days.
Hopefully, over that time, I can find the 6 new species needed this month to pass the best December total of 73, achieved in 2008, but i'm not confident, unless the lakes thaw out, looking at the forecast, there will be frost up to Boxing day. Even if I cant beat the December record, this December has still been the the 2nd best on record, with 68 species seen.
It certainly wasn't a day for photo's, but above is the thawed area that the Snipe feed on, below ive cropped the photo and zoomed in, and you can , if extremely patient, see 3 of the 6 Snipe :-) try clicking on photo to enlarge it!