The partly cloudy sky became clear and blue as I walked home from work today, the wind had dropped out, and it felt quite warm in the sun, ideal to try and find that one new species I wanted to beat the January record of 68.
I had just over two hours, and decided to cover as many of the habitats on my patch as I could. First up, of course, would be to make my way over to the lakes, virtually any Duck species would do!
On the way, the regular species were seen, a GREEN WOODPECKER and a small flock of mixed CHAFFINCH and GREENFINCH were in the Alpaca enclosure at the Small Holding, along with the numerous BLUE and GREAT TITS. In the Wet Woods I found two TREECREEPER, 4 GOLDCREST and two NUTHATCH, with a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER nearby, but they had broken away from the Long Tailed Tits today, which I couldn't find.
Nearing the main lake both MARSH TIT and COAL TIT were heard calling, but the call and song of SISKIN was the most obvious sound, I only counted 14 but it sounded like forty!
Scanning the main lake, then the ornamental lake, it became apparent I was not going to see a new duck species, once more it was a MALLARD and MOORHEN only zone, bah! I checked the smaller lake, which only rarely has anything on it at the best of times - I was not let down :-)
I gave the woody scrub area the once over, checking out two more Goldcrest, just in case they were Firecrest, but they weren't, and after seeing some BULLFINCH, and more Siskin I moved off over to the Pub Field and Tree Nursery. I checked out the BLACK HEADED GULLS on the Pub Field, and thats what they all were, no Med. Gull lingering with them.
The Tree Nursery had two PHEASANTS, and two MISTLE THRUSH, of note, but nothing much else, despite checking all the shrubs and young tree's. Finding that extra species for the month was looking very slim, and a last ditched attempt to find it was had over at Migrant Alley. More Black Headed Gulls were on the sheep pasture, with around 25 REDWING, 110 FIELDFARE, 34 STARLINGS and at least 50 WOODPIGEON. I had a forty minute skywatch, which was hopeless! However it felt good to be sitting in the warmth of the last bits of sun. I checked the boundary hedgerow with the Greenhouse Complex before going home, and found more Siskin, but a little bird flitting around in the bramble below them had me checking it out carefully - Bah! another Goldcrest ! :-)
So in the end I had to settle for equalling the best January species total, which is fair enough, considering the gloomy weather that was endured throughout!
A few January Stats:
Combined January species total for the ten years is now 80, with two species joining it this month, the Waxwing, and the Tufted Duck.
The mean total of species seen for January is 60.4 for the whole ten years, for the first 5 years it was 56.6, and the second 5 years it was 64.2, the increase in the mean is due to the increased visits in the later years, a mean of 67 has been achieved over the last 3 years though.
Photo's today are of Siskin - what else, they were everywhere!