The gig was full with maybe 80 guests, and I only knew a couple of them. Makes me wonder where all the people do their wildlife watching?
As John wasn't out on Sunday, I was up and out shortly after first light and continued training for the 2019 Banstead / Howick Patch Challenge. I started off with a very slow seawatch at Cullernose, where I had time to ponder things to do on patch to keep the interest going. I think I might do a BBS style transect count each month next year? Maybe?
The seawatch was only half an hour from 7.30am on a nice cool, calm morning. The only birds of note were 1 ad Peregrine coming in from its breakfast hunt off shore carrying small prey, possibly a wader, 3 Red throated Divers flew N and 1 S, 23 Eiders N and 1 Purple Sandpiper was on the rocks.
A measly 9 Golden Plovers sat out the tide before flying south.
From here I had a short walk north along the rocky foreshore hoping for a Desert Wheatear, but saw....nothing.
Next stop was Craster where the wooded and scrubby Heughs were worth a last ditch try for migrants. There were only 43 Blackbirds, 3 Redwing, 4 Goldcrest and 1 Redpoll S. Amongst the locals were 3 Willow Tits, 1 Treecreeper and a male Bullfinch.
|Tchay chay chay....|
A walk with Peggy around the back field and down to the pond had 71 Pink footed Geese S, 5 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, an amazing count for here of 200 Jackdaws with 150 Rooks, 5+ Yellowhammer, 1 Brambling, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Treecreeper, 2+ Bullfinch, 25+ Goldfinch, 17+ Siskin, 1 Grey Wagtail and 1 Heron. The wildfowl on the pond didnt put up much competition for Fenham Flats with only 8 Teal, 3 Mallard, 2 female Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Moorhen and 2 Mute Swan. Still, its a change of habitat and my only bit of standing freshwater for any ducks so I'll be happy to monitor them.
Overall the patch had a quiet wintry feel to the day. Some leaves still on the trees with wonderful vivid colours and the pond looking mirror calm and oily black. The usually wet wood remains dry an expected product of this year ...