Friday night I was out feeling what a dull quiet evening it was, so left Bittern hide before dark and then lifted my bins at something near John's bench and to my surprise it was a splendid female Brambling, but off she went toward the meadow then turned right, perhaps heading for the car park field.
Then Saturday morning, I'm hoping for good things, but it never really happened, John picked up a Raven doing the usual SE across the landfill, a female Hawfinch obliged in the car park, 250+ Lapwing overhead, a lone Great Black-backed Gull, but nothing much more.
Back again in the evening, again it felt quiet, but it soon changed at 16:31 when I picked up a Peregrine swooping in over the scrape, scaring the hell out of the Lapwing, before it landed in the remaining Poplar. It sat for 5 minutes checking everything out, before taking another wide circle of the whole lake and returned to the same spot. Off it went 3-4 minutes later out over the landfill.
A Little Egret lingered in the new reed bed diggings and I commented to Pete that it might have been worth a dash to WSL for a Bittern, but I was glad I had not chosen that option and as a result had had my best views of Peregrine in about 5 years. John pinged up Bittern moments later.
I decided I felt lucky and told Pete I was going to have a stab at Woodcock, just 24 minutes later and we were watching 2 doing two complete circles of the our heads as they came around together, barely a metre apart, my best views at Lavell's since 2003.
So on to today and it was bird walk time, just one paying customer. Alan and I escorted our customer and had a splendid walk. Male Hawfinch in the car park field, my first male this year, great views of Goldcrest, Treecreeper and at Bittern hide, the Peregrine came in repeated last night's performance in better light this time.
Lots of Shoveler on Sandford, as we walked under the Alder near to WSL reeds, a mixed flock of Golfinch, Siskin and a lone male Lesser Redpoll, added 2 more year ticks for me, the latter being a park year tick. The 2 Ferruginous were at Middle Marsh, which regardless of origins are still nice birds.
So 81, out of 85 species seen. I'm 3 behind 2017's heady heights on the same date. Missing Kestrel, Green Sandpiper, Shelduck and Tawny Owl. 2017 offered Chiffchaff, Golden Plover, Jack Snipe, plus the 2 big ones Brent Goose and Caspian AND we ticked Ferruginous then too.
January into February is fairly predictable so getting ahead is always a matter of tiny margins, the expected additions, more or less in date order are;
Wild card species always possible are;
I hold on to the hope we might yet get;
Great Grey Shrike
Great Northern Diver
And why not?