FRIDAY 6 JANUARY
A much calmer day than of late with a light westerly wind and predominantly blue skies. In fact it felt very pleasant with temperatures reaching 11 degrees C. Completely dry.
Despite both species being seen this morning, I managed to miss both the Tyttenhanger Tree Sparrows and the Hilfield Little Gull. Highlight was censusing roosting Bramblings..........
CHAFFINCH HOUSE, LITTLE CHALFONT (BUCKS)
A solitary Long-tailed Tit paid a brief visit to the garden
TYTTENHANGER FARM AND MAIN PIT (HERTS)
Although Tony Blake had seen two by the feeding station in the morning, I completely failed in my quest to locate any Tree Sparrows at Tyttenhanger. I was also horrified to find that the Coursers Road site had been trashed and was no longer - a bank of mud now replacing the Tree Sparrow hedgerow and feeding station. The gravel workings have extended.
The main birding pit produced 2 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Cormorant, 4 Mute Swans, 8 Common Teal, 33 Tufted Ducks, 34 Coot, 128 Lapwing, 100+ Black-headed Gulls and a healthy 76 Common Gulls whilst the hedgerow and neighbouring countryside yielded 6 Red-legged Partridges, Common Pheasant, Green Woodpecker, a singing male Song Thrush, Robin, Chaffinch, a female House Sparrow, Common Kestrel, 3 Common Blackbirds, a Fieldfare, 2 Common Starlings, 6 Great Tits and 4 Blue Tits. The game strip held just 4 Yellowhammers and 8 Reed Buntings.
ALDENHAM COUNTRY PARK AND HILFIELD (HERTS)
A wasted visit. Despite being seen at Hilfield earlier, I could not find the first-winter Little Gull at either Aldenham Country Park or Hilfield Park Reservoir - highlight were the 6 MANDARIN DUCKS still (4 drakes).
PENN WOOD ORNAMENTAL WOODLAND SSSI (BUCKS)
This was my first opportunity at a comprehensive survey of the roosting finches of Penn Wood this winter and I was delighted at the presence of so many birds, despite the relatively mild weather so far.
By 1600 hours, the main Penna drive and its dense Rhododendrons held 368 roosting fringillidae. including 307 Chaffinches and a surprising 61 BRAMBLINGS - my first of this winter at the site. A single male SISKIN was also amongst them.
One hundred yards away at the Holly roost-site, no less than 398 Greenfinches roosted and 175 Redwings. There were also a further 15 Chaffinches here - and two male BRAMBLINGS - but it is possible they were part of the main Penna Ride roost.
Other species encountered included Jay, Coal Tit, Common Buzzard, Song Thrush (singing male) and 3 roosting BULLFINCHES.
At PENNHOUSE GROVE, 22 RED KITES roosted.
CHESHAM FISHING LAKES (BUCKS)
In addition to the hand-tame first-year Mute Swan and Atlantic Canada Goose, wildfowl today included 12 GADWALL (6 pairs), 32 Tufted Ducks and 3 Northern Pochards. Chris Pontin also saw 2 Reed Buntings - the first in the Recording Area this year.