First sunshine of December
At last a classic winters day, frosty, sunny and crisp, what difference from that claustrophobic gloom endured all last week.
In the fine conditions I made a full patch walk, the four hour visit yielding an ok - ish 40 species, but the expected Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Jay and Pheasant didn't show this morning. A YELLOWHAMMER flew over the Ashes Lane Fields just after dawn, as did a few BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULLS, the first of 20 or so MEADOW PIPITS also started to arrive from wherever they had roosted.
I was pleased to see the immature MUTE SWAN was still looking well on the small lake after its encounter with the barbed wire yesterday, however it was still separated from its parents, which were on the ornamental lake, I threw over some brown bread for it, but it kept it's distance, hopefully it will find it before the fish get it! The COOT pair, a KINGFISHER and a GREY HERON were the only other birds of note at the lakes.
As I walked the Scrubby Woods, a BUZZARD flew from an Oak tree, plus a few of the scarcer regulars were seen, BULLFINCH, GOLDCREST, NUTHATCH and LONG TAILED TIT. The Wet Woods had GREEN WOODPECKER and GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER calling from them, plus a few MALLARDS dabbled on the pools of water, but not the hoped for Teal.
The Small Holding held small numbers of common regular species, BLACKBIRD, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, WREN, ROBIN, DUNNOCK, CHAFFINCH, GOLDFINCH, COLLARED DOVE and the only HOUSE SPARROWS of the day were seen as I made my way along High House lane towards Migrant Alley and the Greenhouse Grounds.
I found the first LITTLE OWL (54) of the month sunning itself at the Greenhouse Copse, almost a certainty to see it there in this kind of weather :-) Very little was out on the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley, the dog walkers are out early too in this kind of weather, so anything of note will have been flushed whilst I was at the lakes. The Greenhouse Grounds was being hunted over by the female KESTREL, not much more than a few PIED WAGTAILS were there keeping it on it toes. My short skywatch produced a flock of 6 REDWING going west and more pleasingly my first SKYLARK (55) of the month, going NW, keeping the December list ticking over nicely :-)
It was good to get the camera out again today, although my sunrise shots were disappointing. The lens I used was an old Canon 70-300mm, and it just doesn't focus properly :-(
These are much better though :-)