Just over an hour was spent out on my patch this afternoon after work, the weather remained grim, and the camera stayed at home again.
There was a work crew in the Tree Nursery, and with the lakes frozen over I didn't really have much of a patch left to look at! I decided I would go and check the progress of the lakes anyway, at least I could check out the Small Holding and Wet Woods on the way.
A large garden butts onto the Small holding, and Alpacas are kept here, the boundary is made up of hornbeam trees and the seeds drop down into the enclosure, attracting finch's down to feed, as I passed it today there were at least 15 CHAFFINCH and 8 GREENFINCH, also 2 REDWING, a few BLACKBIRDS and a SONGTHRUSH, hopefully continued checking of this area might produce a Brambling for the year list.
Other adjacent, large lawned gardens had attracted 4 GREEN WOODPECKERS, a theme that continued into the Wet Woods, where at least 4 different GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKERS called, the GREAT TITS were also in fine spring voice here, despite the cold gloom.
On reaching the lakes I was pleased to see some progress at last, the ice was now covered in a film of water - shouldn't be too long now before they open up, but how long will it take for any wildfowl to arrive ? Regular woodland species were noted around the lake and scrub area, with the COAL TIT, TREECREEPER, DUNNOCK, ROBIN and Songthrush all giving some song, while NUTHATCH called loudly.
I decided I would go over to Migrant Alley for a short skywatch, just as a SPARROWHAWK whizzed through, no higher than 6 inches from the floor, they really can fly!! On exiting the Wet Woods again, I walked over to the Tree Nursery, and at last saw something to add to the month/year list when a CORMORANT (54) flew over, a KESTREL was seen at the top of an Oak at the Tree Nursery.
My skywatch at Migrant Alley was very poor, my pulse only being raised briefly by three large shapes coming in from over the College, these turned out to be more CORMORANTS :-) The only birds out on the paddocks and pasture were ROOKS, and JACKDAWS, with 28 BLACK HEADED GULLS and 2 COMMON GULLS - I was really hoping for a flyover Waxwing, but other patchwatchers seem to be hogging all these, especially one not far from me - see Adams blog. http://dittoneastmallingbarming.blogspot.com/
Oh well, at least I got a Cormorant for the year list!