HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Before anything else - have a look at this. Notice anything unusual?
I headed out into the same grey gloom that we had yesterday, well before everyone else in the household was up and less than a handful of hours since we all went to bed. I had a few glasses of wine and whiskey last night, in amongst pigging my face with savouries and chocs, so an in-car coffee was just the job.
First task was to drive around the usual areas in the city looking for crested berry scoffing birds. I eventually saw a large flock wheeling about over the King Richards Road, and as I approached c150 of them dived down. As I reached Kirby Road, I could see that they had descended onto berry laden trees. Sadly, in a repeat of yesterdays effort they soon up and left once I stopped the car and grabbed the camera. I saw the flock again a few minutes later over the houses but I wasn't going to chase them - the conditions were pants for photography so no point flogging it today.
I then headed over to Watermead CP South - part of it is within the City Boundary and the North Lake is an accepted deviation to the boundary as it is all managed as part of the same park. Almost the first thing I saw was this:
This Ruff was loitering about during the harsh cold and snowy weather, but I was surprised to see it still here after the recent mild spell. Did you spot it in the first clip milling about playing hide and seek amongst the Canadas and Mute Swans?
Aside from this it was the usual expected fare, apart from lower numbers as surprisingly large chunks of the lakes are still frozen despite a few days of easily positive temps.
I ended up on 45 species for the day, with the Waxwings and Ruff being the obvious highlights. The gloomy drizzle probably accounted for the lack of any raptors. However despite even driving around a council estate for 15 minutes I failed to see or hear a House Sparrow today before having to head home!
Light was appalling, so here is a photo of the Ruff at the best settings the camera could suggest on aperture priority (1/50sec f/5.2 ISO400 - too slow for the fast moving bird in dull light) and then a few grainy/noisy shots forced at 1/500sec f/5.0 ISO1600 which I've photoshopped.
There are 4 duck species on the egde of the ice/water border - can you see them?
A few gulls loitering - but no Herrings.
Whilst in the wood I noticed this luminous orange fungi - I think it must be Orange Jelly Dacryomyces stillatus?