Fourth weekend of the 2017 and finally I've gone out birding albeit a local walk rather than a big trip.
Went back to work last week, still not over the nasty cold and spent much of the time with a hacking wheezy cough that just won't go away-thats why I didn't feel like doing anything much yesterday. The really severe frost and cold were a bit of a put off as well, but with the clear skies it isn't too bad locally once the Sun has come up, so I went round Aston End this morning.
I wasn't expecting to see much in the way of wildlife, with the recent cold nights so I took some new camera equipment out to get a feel for it and do some landscapes.
The walk through the plantation produced a few tits and magpies but not much else. Bit too cold for the Goldcrests. The lack of birds continued through Aston End, with some sections of Long Lane thick with ice courtesy of an overflowing lane, but two singing Greenfinches and some House Sparrows was good.
Turning off and heading down to the ford, I found a single Buzzard, a few crows and several Blackbirds foraging in the hedge bottoms. The fields were completely frozen, hence no larks, buntings pipits or finches. Also frozen was the river, though some water was still flowing at the ford, and a Robin was doing a very nice Dipper impersonation hopping around on the ice floes.
I followed the river upstream with very few birds still, and it wasn't until I reached the paddocks that I encountered a few Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Robins and Dunnocks. No sign of the Little Owls again but three Stock Doves in their old tree was a bit different as they aren't regular. Another oddity was a flyover Grey Wagtail.
I finally found the (rather small) thrush flock up near the radio mast, feeding under the trees in one of the fields. Seemed to consist primarily of Redwings-maybe 15, five or six Blackbirds, a couple of Song Thrushes and a single Mistle Thrush. I guess most of the birds have dispersed due to the weather.
Not a massive bird list, though its bright the year up to 32 (!) but at least I got out for a bit.