This morning was the last full patch visit of January, so I was on the lookout for that one species needed to set the January record. The day started promising, with the sun rising into some clear sky ( below)
However, that was as good as it got, and cloud soon streamed in on the cold NE wind, although later, as I was finishing my walk, the cloud cleared again and it became sunny - typical!
I went over to the Lakes first thing, as this is where I may well find that one new species I need, a Coot would do, or a Mandarin Duck, maybe even a Little Grebe if I was extremely lucky, but I wasn't !! Only 3 MALLARD and 4 MOORHEN were on the water, but a KINGFISHER broke the monotony of seeing the latter two species when one flew across the main lake.
I spent an hour searching the lake side habitat and Scrubby Wood area nearby, and came up with all the species that could be expected here, notably NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, TREECREPER, COAL TIT, LONG TAILED TIT, and BULLFINCH.
I left the lakes area and decided to search the wet Woods, maybe i'd get lucky with a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, but much scanning of the treetops didn't produce one, however, a feeding flock was located, most likely the one i've seen over the last few visits, the 6 Goldcrest were scrutinized carefully, but I couldn't turn one into a Firecrest. At least a dozen SISKIN were in the Alders here, and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was drumming, the sound of geese had me searching the sky through the twiggy tree tops, and a pair of GREYLAG GEESE flew over low, only the second record this month.
After failing to find Firecrest and LS Woodpecker in the woods, I walked over to the rest of my patch. Migrant Alley had at least 250 FIELDFARE on the sheep pasture, with fewer REDWINGS, I gave up trying to find the Redwings amongst them, it was just too cold in that wind, but there were at least 30.
The College Sports pitch had 33 BLACK HEADED GULLS on it, and the rest of the grounds helped the daylist along, with SONGTHRUSH, GREENFINCH, MISTLE THRUSH, and a KESTREL.
In a last ditch attempt, to find a new species for the month, I returned to Migrant Alley for a skywatch, as any new species would be likely to be a flyover. I stuck out the cold wind for 40 minutes, and recorded flyovers by HERRING and LESSER BLACK BACK GULL, SPARROWHAWK, YELLOWHAMMER, REDPOLL, PIED WAGTAIL and STOCK DOVE, but that one new species eluded me, maybe my short afternoon visit tomorrow will turn it up :-)
As it was the RSPB big garden birdwatch today, I did my bit and spent the allotted hour counting the visitors to my garden feeders, the results were :
Blue Tit - 10. Great Tit - 4. Greenfinch - 4. Goldfinch - 3. Chaffinch - 6. House Sparrow - 5. Dunnock - 2. Collared Dove - 6. Robin - 2. Blackbird - 3. Starling - 1. Nuthatch - 1. Marsh Tit - 1. Wren - 1. and Goldcrest - 1.
After the alloted hour, 4 Siskin arrived, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Woodpigeon, and 3 Jackdaws.
Later in the afternoon I went out to photograph some of the garden birds as the sun was out, with the following results.