View through the very wet Tree Nursery, looking north to the high ground.
The rain was being lashed against the window by a gale force wind as I drank my tea at 07:30 this morning. I gave it half an hour, and although the rain eased off slightly the wind continued to blow as I set off out.
I decided to visit the lakes first thing this morning, as there would at least be some token cover from the elements in the small holding and wet woods. It proved nigh impossible to find any birds on the way to the lakes, just 9 species were seen, ROBIN, JACKDAW, HOUSE SPARROW, WOODPIGEON, MAGPIE, GREEN WOODPECKER, GREAT TIT, JAY and a TREECREEPER in that order!
I took shelter from the rain and gusty wind in one of the old out buildings that stands beside the main lake, where I was pleased to see 75% of it ice free - at last, the first time since mid November !!
As it got a bit lighter ( but not much! ) I picked out a 8 MALLARD on the main lake, and also two MOORHEN, a MISTLE THRUSH gave its rattling call as it went over, and in the next few minutes small flocks of REDWING and FIELDFARE were also seen flying over. Staying in my dry shelter, I could see across into the scrub area, where SONGTHRUSH, BLACKBIRD and the white flash from the rump of a BULLFINCH were seen.
The rain eased further, and I left my shelter to look around the two small lakes, 7 more MALLARD were found, but no other wildfowl. Before leaving I checked out the nearby garden, which has some feeders, here I managed to add GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH, CHAFFINCH, BLUE TIT, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, MARSH TIT and PHEASANT to make the daylist a bit more respectable.
I left the lake area via wet woods and crossed the Baron field of sheep pasture, and onto the Tree Nursery. There was a small flock of LONG TAILED TITS flitting amongst the saplings, and the KESTREL was perched up in an Oak tree, at this point the sky started clear, and the sun appeared, which gave a SPARROWHAWK the chance to get out and hunt.
I only went as far as Migrant alley, not bothering with the College Grounds, as I could see no less than 12 dogs between 4 owners on the sports pitch, nice, I wouldn't want to play football on that pitch later! This is the price I pay for going to the lakes first, the College Grounds become infested with dog walkers by 10am :-(
On a more positive note, it was nice to walk round the sheep pasture and horse paddocks at Migrant Alley in some sunshine at last, not alot was out there, just the regular ROOKS, Jackdaws, Woodpigeons, and 32 BLACK HEADED GULLS. A flock of 12 YELLOWHAMMERS flew over the Greenhouse Complex, as did a pair of STOCK DOVES.
The sky clouded over again, and rain started to fall not long after, but I just avoided a second wetting, I also had a small piece of fortune with the last species seen for the patch visit, a LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL (58) that flew over Ashes lane as I neared home, so the visit eventually yielded a new species for the month/year list :-)