I noticed Terry Laws' car in Brooklands car park this morning when I arrived for a pre lunch wander. I met Terry on the path between Brookland lake and Abbey Mead and he'd already seen Common and Green Sandpiper on the river as well as a Redshank, a nice little trio for New Hythe. I would have liked those myself but i'll hopefully get them before the month ends. We watched the sunken marsh for a while hoping for something unexpected to appear and it did, two late Martins turned up! No, not Sand and House but Warburton and Coath and very welcome additions they were.
Some of the birds seen included Redwings scattered around the site in small groups and a couple of small flocks of Fieldfare. A Great Black -backed Gull cruising over the river. A single Goldcrest, spotted by Terry near the SE corner of the sunken marsh, with at least three others heard calling in various places but not seen, as was the case with the local Bullfinches. A kestrel balanced precariously on the pylon in the sunken marsh and a Sparrowhawk which performed a spectacular sky dive from high over the river path, disappearing from our view and no doubt causing pandemonium among the many Wood Pigeons which reside in the riverside trees.
On the river were at least three Little Grebes which still seem to favour it over the still water at the moment. Various small groups of Teal and a Grey Wagtail were all seen at the far southern end of the river as was a splendid Kingfisher which flew fast and low across to the far bank. This superb bird seems to be on the up at New Hythe, I see them regularly now in three or four separate locations, despite the fears of decimation from last winter's severe cold. This might be the case in some areas but maybe the proximity of the river helped these birds when the lakes were ice bound.
There were a few Pochard on Abbey Mead and several more, plus a couple of Gadwall on the Railway lake, but generally duck numbers remain low, especially on Abbey Mead where the Tufties, coots and Great Crested Grebes look particularly lonely at the moment being spread over such a large area.
Having bumped into Dennis and Doreen, who later reported another Goldcrest and the elusive Bullfinches, we arrived at the divers' car park alongside Streamside. While scanning the lake Martin (Coath) heard a short burst of Siskin call nearby, shortly followed by a small flock which arrived in the Alder tree which we were standing under, we weren't sure at that point how many there were but we later saw five flying out of the same tree. My last recorded sighting of these at New Hythe was on 6th January 2009 and this takes my NH year list to 99!! The champagne is in the fridge ready for the surely imminent 100. But with just 49 days of the year left i'd better get my skates on.
Along the Millstream on the way back to the car park we spotted three Pied Wagtails and these, together with a Collared Dove seen earlier on the paper mill, the GBB Gull and of course the Siskins bought my November NH total to 51 species.
By the way, I didn't get any pictures today so for decoration i've posted the Robin above which I took on 9th January 2009 at New Hythe in the big freeze up of that year, just to remind you of what's to come........