Today was a gloriously sunny, but crisp cold day. This morning we had to get the boys sorted before off-loading them onto my Mum for the weekend - no chance of getting off out for some early morning birding. So I decided that instead this morning would be the ideal time to participate in the RSPB Garden Watch. I'd already loaded the main feeders and distributed plenty of mealworms and fruit in readiness - all I needed now was the peace and quiet after the boys left and a bit of luck with the local birds.
As it turned out, the garden and feeders did okay for species but numbers of individuals were down on previous weekends (obviously I don't get to see much coming and going in the week whilst at work). The total (excluding flyovers) was 41 individuals of 17 species:
2 Blue Tit
1 Carrion Crow
1 Great Tit
2 House Sparrow
2 Long-tailed Tit
1 Song Thrush
I was disappointed at the low numbers of tits, Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Chaffinches, and no idea where the usual Collared Doves have got to. Really pleased though with 2 pairs of Bullfinches, and nice to see a Wren pop up at just the right time. Watching the garden birds is something I still thoroughly enjoy even after all these years of birding - something therapeutic about it. After the counting I grabbed a few photos of a few of the visitors.
I ate the Collared Doves
Later this afternoon, I went over to Sence Valley Forest Park with Nichola for a walk around. Haven't been here for years, so I was interested to see how much it had grown up. Quite a lot as it happens. It was pretty busy with casual visitors and dog walkers, but I was only there for the fresh air and a bit of pseudo-birding (albeit with non-birding wife rather than kids). Click all images for a closer view.
Looking down onto Horseshoe Lake
Stonebridge Pool (looking into strong sunlight) (obviously)
Stonebridge Pool was partially iced over
I really enjoyed the walk, despite nothing too exciting birdwise. Plenty of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard around, with fewer Gadwall, Tufted and Pochard and a Little Grebe on Stonebridge Pool. Good numbers of gulls on Horseshoe Lake - almost all Black-headed with a handful of Common.