All clear skies and icy everywhere, with Winter Hill blue/white on the inland horizon this morning as I went to Lunt Meadows for an hour or two.
Several Grey Herons were hunting mices in the frozen fields, with Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Shoveler clamouring about on the patches of unfrozen water.
37+ Blackwits around the edges.
At least four Water Rails were calling from the ditches (or maybe just one hidden squealer following me as I completed a circuit of the reserve???).
A Cetti’s Warbler spluttered in the south east corner of the reserve, but was as invisible as the Water Rails.
The frozen water and soil seriously discomknockerated the Snipe on the site – hard work to probe with those bills in these conditions – and small groups frequently took off to circle the area.
I was watching three burst from the grasses when a plumptious Woodcock (sorry, I’ve come over all Doddy for some reason) flew up behind them and pot-belly paddled through the air towards the Forestry Commission woodland, where Siskins and Fieldfares called above the bare branches.
Elsewhere quite a few “owl-arazzi” were set up anticipating a performance from the wintering Short Eared Owls, in the north east corner, but I left the big lenses to it and kept on birding.
Just three Redwings breakfasting on cotoneaster berries at Dempsey Towers earlier this morning, but they were joined by seven Fieldfare and five Blackbirds stripping the shady branches as the sun rose behind them.
Should any Waxwings ever arrive they’ll go bananas when they discover all the berries have gone.
I suppose I could always put a few bananas out for them if it comes to it….