Rain fell on and off this morning, which was dull and overcast throughout, but at least it was reasonably warm with virtually no wind, you have to take what you can at this time of year!
The birding was anything but dull though, the full patch walk yielded a reasonable species tally of 44 in the four hours I was out, with some good patch birds being found.
Over at the Greenhouse Grounds the KESTREL pair were seen, all about them GOLDFINCH were flitting around, a look at the water intake area produced a GREY WAGTAIL again. The nearby Greenhouse Copse had a singing TREECREEPER and a calling GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, while a circuit of Migrant Alley produced at least a dozen MEADOW PIPITS out on the sheep pasture. Flyovers from HERRING and BLACK HEADED GULLS were frequent, as were SKYLARKS, 3 YELLOWHAMMERS were a pleasing sight as they flew past, and a single CORMORANT also went over, plus my first decent flock of FIELDFARE, 35 in all, just singles have been seen until now.
A BUZZARD flew low over the Ashes lane Field as I made my way to the lake area, where I found a few MALLARD and MOORHEN, plus the KINGFISHER and at least two of the MANDARIN DUCKS, I think the others were well hidden by the overhanging branches. The adjacent Scrubby Woods was full of BLACKBIRD, SONGTHRUSH and REDWING, all of which were coming and going, plus at least 8 BULLFINCH were noted, five in the same Ash Tree. GOLDCRESTS were up on recent visits, with a minimum of 5 birds seen, and a NUTHATCH called along with a COAL TIT.
Whilst in the Scrubby Woods I heard a distant call, which I thought was a Curlew, I quickly made my way to a clear area, so as to see the sky, I looked up and heard the call twice more, enabling me to locate a high flying bird, and it was exactly what I thought it was - A CURLEW (110,72) ! A blinding species to have here, even just as a flyover! Only one other year has the Curlew made it onto the year list, that was in 2010, when in September four birds flew high over my house, then the harsh winter weather of that year gave me flyover sightings in November and December. 110 species for this year now, thats the second highest achieved in the 12 years of recording, and just 3 behind the record tally set in 2010 :-)
I was feeling quite pleased with the sightings for the morning, but was frustrated towards the end of it, for as I neared home, walking along Ashes Lane, I was overflown by 23 Ducks, I had just a few seconds of a silhouetted view, Mallard sized, maybe a touch bigger, quite long necks - Pintail maybe? i'll never know though :-( they were headed in the direction of the lakes, so there was nothing for it but to get back over there! Unfortunately they had not dropped down onto the water, so my yomp over there served only to keep me fit! :-)
No chance of any photo's today, from the garden or otherwise, and the blog photo folder is empty!