I was unable to get out straight away when I received the text from Jerry this morning to say there were two Dunlins along the river from the bucket seat. It was probably two hours later when I finally got there, of course they were gone by then, they would have been a first for me on this site and a welcome year tick, maybe i'll try again tomorrow.
I didn't avail myself of the seat today because it was more like an ice bucket. I stood in the sun instead and watched a single Kingfisher fishing downstream, a single Redshank fossicking in the mud upstream, a Little Grebe diving in the icy depths opposite and better numbers than lately of Gadwall and Teal. The latter, like me, choosing mainly to stand on the side and absorb a few weak, but nonetheless welcome rays of sun on the east bank. A couple of Grey Herons and a couple of Lapwings completed the picture apart from the ever present, ever hungry Cormorants.
Before heading for home I walked along the edge of Brooklands lake and got a quick picture of a couple of Tufted Ducks, above. Despite the seasonal weather though, I couldn't find anything out of the ordinary on the water, a few more days of this temperature and maybe a covering of snow could change that though.
The story was pretty much the same on Abbey Mead, but I did find another Goldcrest there to practice on with the camera, a long way to go yet as you can see. Having said that, at least I got something, the two Bullfinches who were seen nearby escaped as usual with their privacy intact.
This afternoon I decided to spend half an hour or so watching the birds go to roost. From the comfort of the dining room I hasten to add. Three Grey Herons flew sedately, in close formation over the garden heading south west, a Sparrowhawk flap, flap, glided in a similar direction as the light faded. At least six Cormorants went to roost on the island in the Ford lake just along from the house and over a half hour period they were joined by four Little Egrets who all followed exactly the same flight path, just past the bottom of the garden and cruised into the trees on the same island. From the west, a long straggly flock of at least 190 corvids, possibly Jackdaws, flew from west to east roughly over the Alders big lake and in a bare tree just to the left of the garden a large bird, which I expected to be a Cormorant was actually a cock Pheasant, presumably roosting for the night. Other sightings in the garden today included a Treecreeper, only the second i've seen and a Fox who brazenly walked around the garden about half past two looking for something to eat. It's obviously getting tough out there.