Despite spending 3 hours out in the conditions, I didn't get round to visit all of my patch, the College Grounds were missed, but a good look around all the other areas was possible. A surprising species tally of 44 was recorded, surprising as the likes of Coal Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Mistlethrush and Redwing weren't found.
However, there was a real surprise awaiting me in the Tree Nursery, I had already passed through it and was crossing the sheep pasture towards the Wet Woods, when I looked back, as I often do, and fleetingly saw a CARRION CROW mob a big white bird, they then both disappeared behind a row of shrubs, but I waited, then out from the other side came a BARN OWL (75,69) WOW ! Fan-bloody-tastic!!! This is just the second Barn owl I have recorded in the 12 years of watching my patch, the last one was an individual that overwintered in 2008/09, well that certainly made me forget the cold :-) and of course, it sets a new February species tally :-)
Scanning the field next to me, also sheep pasture, there was a trio of geese species, 4 of them CANADA, 2 GREYLAGS and the feral BARNACLE GOOSE. Moving on to the lakes, all was very quiet, the snow fell heavily and the wind was biting, just 3 more Canada geese were seen, plus the COOT pair and a couple of MALLARD and MOORHENS, but as I was leaving I heard the hooting of a TAWNY OWL, very nice, two Owl species on the same visit :-)
A GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER drummed from the Wet Woods, where two GOLDCRESTS where also watched at close range, I heard a couple of SISKIN flyover, and a JAY squawking, but apart from that everything was staying hidden.
I made my way over to the Greenhouse Grounds, via the Tree Nursery again ( I just wanted more Barn owl views - which I got) but my mission was to get to the Greenhouse Copse to find a LITTLE OWL, which I did, making this visit an historic one indeed, as its the first time I have recorded three owl species on the same visit :-).
A small triumph was yet still to be had, for as I stood at Migrant alley in a near blizzard, I heard the first YELLOWHAMMER (70) this month call as it flew over, extending further the February species patch record, a LAPWING was also seen to battle its way north against the driving snow, and I was surprised to see a pair of SPARROWHAWKS displaying in the sky, clearly relishing the conditions, which I personally found too much in the end, so headed off home, frozen toed, but well happy with my sightings for the day ;-)
Of course, late this afternoon I was out again, lying in wait at the Tree Nursery hoping for a sighting of the Barn owl, Camera in hand, I gave it ninety nimutes, but it never showed, I did see another two Little Owls though, plus a COMMON BUZZARD, a CORMORANT and a couple of REDWINGS, none of which were seen this morning, taking the daylist to a creditable 47 species :-) I'll try again for the Barn owl tomorrow, I just hope it stays around for a while.
|Barn Owl - pellets, found in the shack at the Tree Nursery, that's all i could manage photographically!|