When I left home this morning it was cold and clear, when I got to Brooklands car park it was even colder and quite misty. I wanted to catch up with the goldeneye reported by Steve yesterday. After much peering through the gloom I gave up and walked into the small wood alongside the sunken marsh to check for waders, gulls and egrets on the river but apart from blackheads all I could see were teal, not to be sniffed at I know but I was expecting them and it was the unexpected that I wanted. A few minutes later I got the unexpected when a figure in the shape of Alan Roman suddenly emerged from the mist. I told Alan about the goldeneye not being around so he raised his bins, looked at the lake and said "there it is"! I hate it when that happens.
To cut a long story short highlights were few and far between, we skipped the sunken marsh due to the visibility and walked along the river path without seeing anything of note save a somewhat poor view of a couple of bullfinches. No shelduck on the river or Abbey Mead where there had been one on sunday. I'd decided to keep a list today and ticked off most of the usual stuff here including gadwall, great crested and little grebe, pochard etc. We headed for the east scrub bumping in to Den & Doreen Capeling who declared the area a no fly zone so we then decided that one of Alan Woodcock's six woodcocks in the west scrub would be nice, but despite a concerted effort we failed miserably. So if I was going to add a New Hythe year tick today it would have to come from along the millstream, and so it did in the shape of a feral pigeon (sorry Warren, I was desperate) kindly found for me by Alan. I paid him back with a pair of mistle thrush which I spotted on the grass behind the old cafe. Unusually there were three shovelers and numerous tufted ducks on the stream this morning, presumably displaced from the lakes by the ice. Before I left I had a last look around Brooklands and had my first flyover lesser black backed gull, so forty species and three new year ticks, not too bad in the end. Lastly, we found this super nest in the east scrub, question is "who lives in a house like this?" Answers on a postcard please.