It was chillier this morning, and foggy, with a slight frost, only the second I can remember this winter. Cloud soon rolled in and it became overcast by 08:30hrs with rain by mid afternoon.
The new birding year started early this morning, 02:15hrs to be precise, when I heard a TAWNY OWL calling as I lay awake in bed, a good start to 2016 I have never had Tawny Owl on my January 1st list.
Five hours later, in semi darkness, I headed off out for the first full patch walk of the year, finding a further 47 species for the year list in the almost five hours I was out, here's what I found in the order of appearance :-
ROBIN, BLACKBIRD, JACKDAW, MAGPIE, COLLARED DOVE, WREN, WOODPIGEON and SONGTHRUSH were the first few species in the book, all recorded as I walked along Ashes Lane towards the Greenhouse Grounds, where I added DUNNOCK, GOLDFINCH, BLUE TIT, CARRION CROW, LESSER REDPOLL, SISKIN, and PIED WAGTAIL, of which around 100 were still awaiting release from the greenhouses where they roost.
CHAFFINCH, GREAT TIT, STARLING and PHEASANT were found as I passed the Greenhouse Copse, then entering the sheep pasture and paddocks of Migrant Alley I recorded ROOK, HERRING GULL, BLACK HEADED GULL and COMMON GULL for my years tally. Just as I was leaving, the female KESTREL flew over, heading for the Greenhouses.
The Pub Field and Ashes Lane Fields only added MEADOW PIPIT and FIELDFARE to the year list, the latter was a single bird, the only one seen today.
Heading to the lakes, I found GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, MISTLETHRUSH and STOCK DOVE, all were singing, but at the lakes only a couple of CORMORANTS had joined the usual MALLARDS and MOORHENS. The adjacent Scrubby Woods yielded NUTHATCH, BULLFINCH and a flyover SKYLARK as well as a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER and a flock of LONG TAILED TITS.
The Wet Woods had the first GREEN WOODPECKER of the year, as well as JAY, SPARROWHAWK and TREECREEPER the latter being with 5 Goldcrests.
The small holding added nothing new to the 2016 list, while the walk along High House and a scan of Bustard Hill Lane only added HOUSE SPARROW.
With a few of the semi regular species like, Yellowhammer, Greenfinch, Buzzard and Redwing still not found, I headed off for a second look around the Greenhouse Grounds and Migrant Alley, where of those species mentioned, only the GREENFINCH was located, but finding a GREY WAGTAIL was a bonus, a second species never recorded on January 1st. Even more of a bonus was seeing that a MEDITERRANEAN GULL had joined the Black headed Gulls out on the sheep pasture in my absence, another first for a January the 1st list. I finally headed home just before mid day, as I did so, the automatic windows of the Greenhouses opened and out poured the100+ Pied Wagtails, what a sight and sound to behold! A LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL flew over Ashes Lane as I neared home, my fifth Gull species of the day, quite an achievement for my patch!
So 48 species on the first day of the year, very nearly half of the total seen in the whole of 2015! Dont forget, you can follow what has been recorded on my patch this year by visiting the ''2016'' tab, which is under the main header photo..................which will be updated around 17:00hrs :-)
Oh! no photo's today....that's a good start to the year! LoL