Out yesterday morning at first light to wander the patch to get things off to a start. An hours seawatch seemed a good way to start the ball rolling. As it turned out it was very quiet but when every species is a new addition it wasn't so bad. The highlight came about 50 minutes in when a Great Northern Diver flew north at about a quarter way out. A great start with a bird that is a tricky one to get in some years.
Other species noted were to be expected, but a lone adult Gannet, a few Kittiwakes, 3 Razorbills, 1 Guillemot, 2 Red throated Divers and 4 Goldeneye kept the interest going. Out of a good northerly movement of Herring Gulls were three or four obvious argentatus types, big brutes with darker mantles and restricted black primary tips.
Later on a walk down to the pond with Jane and Bunty added more of the commoner woodland species plus a Stoat in half ermine pelage. Apparently some residents were out with pitchforks and burning torches as this chap is in the frame for killing a few chickens the night before.
More interesting, on the way back, a flock of chattering finches attracted attention overhead as they dropped into a roadside alder. Consisting of Siskins and Redolls I returned after Jane and Bunty had gone home more prepared to scan the flock. There were 20+ Siskins, 11+ Lesser Redpolls and 2+ Mealy Redpolls. One of these birds was very pale at distance, so this morning I went back for seconds.The flock was now much smaller with only 3 Siskins, 6+ Lesser Redpolls but 3+ Mealies. The very pale one didn't appear to be present today.
While watching these, 2+ Water Rails showed them selves for a change with at least one adult and one first winter, but I suspect a third bird is present on call alone...
I know these pics are poor but they shows enough to id Mealy...
Above - Shows two distant cropped pics of the very pale bird taken yesterday. This may have been the one below, taken today but I'm not sure?
Above - The two pics above are the same bird. Although it has a nice white rump, it was structurally a Mealy. Not seen here, it had a single large broad streak on the undertail coverts.
Above - Shows the standard Mealy from yesterday. Now this might be the bird pictured above, taken today, it looks more like it than the very pale one but I can't be sure.
There is a lot of speculation with these birds because they are so mobile. Its like that trick with the three cups and a ball, once they are shuffled around, its hard to find where you were. Fact is, there were a minimum of 2 Mealy Redpolls present, but I reckon there are more in the part of the flock that disappeared.
As its back to work tomorrow they will have to wait until the weekend for further scrutiny.
How did the patch list go? Well, so far I'm on 57, all within 1km of home.