I set off across Migrant Alley towards the College first thing, as i haven't been here for a few days now. A flock of 6 YELLOWHAMMERS came up from the new paddock, and flyovers by both CANADA and GREYLAG GOOSE were seen, a pair of MALLARDS came up from the flooded ditch at the extreme NW of my patch, but the hoped for Snipe didn't show. LESSER BLACK BACKED, HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS all flew over heading South.
The College Grounds produced some of the woodland species I normally associate with the lakeside scrub area, such as BULLFINCH, SISKIN, LONG TAILED TIT, and two singing TREECREEPERS, as well as the regular Tits and finch's, plus SONGTHRUSH, MISLE THRUSH and JAY. Two MOORHEN seen on the small ponds in the gardens, meant I had now already seen everything that would of been seen over on the lakes!
I returned back through the Pub Field, where a KESTREL was sitting in a Sycamore tree, along with 157 FIELDFARE, I made out just a single REDWING with them, but there were probably more, it was hard to tell in the gloom!
I didn't have a halftime break today, I went straight over to the lake area, the expected pairs of Canada Geese were on each of the lakes, and only 1 pair of Mallard - very disappointing again :-( The scrubby wood was searched through, and the MARSH TIT was found, along with NUTHATCH, GOLDCREST, and another Treecreeper, plus both GREEN and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER.
The final leg of my walk through the Wet Woods and Small Holding, didn't throw up any surprises, but more Long Tailed Tits were seen with another 2 Goldcrest.
I got home at 10:00, having recorded 40 species, not a very satisfactory result, I had rushed a bit because of the poor conditions, so i had breakfast, and went off out again. I scanned the Tree Nursery and came up with a PHEASANT for the day, then went for a watch over at Migrant Alley, where two things cheered me no end, the first was a singing SKYLARK, the first one to sing this year, and the second was a fantastic sighting of 27 GOLDEN PLOVER (58) going over NW, the months list gets a little nudge nearer to the 60 species mark :-). I added PIED WAGTAIL and STOCK DOVE to the day list whilst there, making a more realistic total of 46 - much better :-)
Now the following photo's ( taken in my garden this afternoon) might not be every bodies cup of tea. However it has to be remembered that nature goes on all around us, day in, day out, as if we didn't exist, so our getting all upset about things being predated is, although understandable, quite irrelevant to the workings of the natural world.
The Female SPARROWHAWK that has been prowling my garden, finally took one of the Great spotted Woodpeckers this afternoon. As I said, a very sad moment, but it happens.
A fight ensued for some minutes, in which time all the local birds came in to mob the Hawk, including two MAGPIES, they are not exactly immune to a bit of predation themselves! Irritatingly, a troop of Long Tailed Tits also came in, understandably they left immediately, but they were the first I've had in the garden since last March!
After dragging the still screeching Woodpecker over to the edge of next doors garden, the final struggle began, but it was a battle that could only end one way now.