Just after sunrise.
Four hours out on my patch first thing, provided a few bits and pieces for me to enjoy, the SISKINS and GOLDFINCHES at the Greenhouse Grounds were joined by 7 LESSER REDPOLLS and a CHIFFCHAFF, but before I could get any photo's a SPARROWHAWK came speeding through and put everything up, or sent them into hiding.....(more tales of the Sprawk later)
A few MEADOW PIPITS were on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, but little else apart from the WOODPIGEONS, JACKDAWS, ROOKS, MAGPIES, and CARRION CROWS were with them. A few HERRING GULLS and a BLACK HEADED GULL were the only early flyovers noted.
Crossing the Ashes Lane Fields I scanned the fence line that runs along the drainage ditch, seeing firstly a ROBIN on a post, then a DUNNOCK a few posts up, then bingo, a superb male STONECHAT (59) was a bit further along o the wire, that made my morning :-)
I couldn't get anywhere near for a proper photo, so had to settle for an identification shot :-)
Stonechat......superb birds :-)
After that bit of excitement, I headed off to the lakes, but my luck ran out here, with just 28 CANADA GEESE, 4 GREYLAG GEESE and 2 MOORHENS seen, not even a Mallard! The adjacent Scrubby Woods had a flock of LONG TAILED TITS moving rapidly though it, but BULLFINCH and GOLDCREST were the only other scarcer woodland species seen there.
A LITTLE OWL called from the Small Holding area, where there were 3 MISTLETHRUSHES feeding on windfall pears, not the hoped for Redwing or Fieldfare yet though :-)
A short skywatch from my seat back at Migrant Alley was unremarkable in the main, a group of 5 CORMORANT heading North being the highlight.
As I said earlier in the post, here's more about the Sprawks :-)
Sitting at home, in my garden, camera in hand, waiting for the birds to arrive at the feeders, I was continually frustrated by the male Sparrowhawk as it kept flying through every 6-7 minutes. Eventually it settle on its usual ambush perch in the leylandi tree at the bottom of the garden, well I was having none of that! So down I went, ''pishing'' and clapping my hands to scare it off, but it just sat looking at me, I chucked up a few small sticks, and some ripe tomatoes :-) All to no effect :-(
As I wondered what to use to shift the Sprawk, I heard an horrendous, loud, cackling scream coming from the nieghbours garden, I poked my head over the wall to see a big female Sprawk some 40 meters away, fighting with a GREEN WOODPECKER, of course the Woodpecker lost, but it took some time for it to be subdued, not a nice thing to witness, as the pecker was screaming for ages :-(
Meanwhile the male Sprawk was still up in the leylandi, by now I was seriously peed off, enough to go and get a step ladder which I lent up against the wall, and climbed up into the tree, taking a broom with me, which I use to bang on the branches....that shifted it!!