31st January, in a half hour sheep feeding session we manage to see Red Kite, some displaying Buzzards, a pair of Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk. Add to this Raven and 2 Green Woodpeckers and you wonder if anything got fed.
20th January, A gang of Wrens are roosting in an old Swallows nest. From a distance, they look like a cupful of Ferrero-roche chocolates. A Woodpigeon is wanting to nest above my porch door. I can tell this by the dropped sticks and poo that greet me first thing. Aconites and Daffodils join the Snowdrops and Primrose, in flower. Great-crested Newt seen on the move. Dean has a pale albino/leucistic Dunnock in his garden and reports a Little Egret and Grey Heron together below Oak Tree Farm.
17th January, a layer of snow to start does not stop us tree planting at the park. 20+ Yellowhammers are seen off the Brington Road, and 3 Common Gull and 2 Black-headed Gulls are seen on The Long Buckby Rugby Club pitch. Peter has Nuthatch, Yellowhammer and Chaffinch at Grange Farm. Blackbird and Mistle Thrush are reported singing. I hear Song Thrush singing for the first time this season. A female Hornet is an unseasonable record then again these days…anything goes.
16th January, Fieldfares and Redwings, the thrushes that spend the winter with us are starting to move back through. A flock of 250 ish are reported. I sneak into the Bird & photography hide at Cotton End Park and flush a Snipe within 1 second of opening the window flap. I am trying to work out how to see one without disturbing it so I can show someone else with a camera. But to get anywhere near a good view of a Snipe on the ground is now seriously testing my field-craft. Jo sees 2 Red Kites together and David sees a Blackcap in his garden. Blackcap, Tree Sparrow and Reed Bunting are birds that come into the gardens of the village when things change in the countryside. It could weather conditions, food availability, or local population movements, but records of them seem to coincide.
14th January, Neil reports Goldcrest and Treecreeper from The Banks. Buzzard, Red Kite, Raven and Kestrel also reported. My cold, North facing garden is adorned with two flowering Daffodils. I find Jelly Ear and Yellow Brain fungi, and whilst moving some hay bales a pile of scat from a predator. Something like a Stoat or Polecat. I have a sniff and take a photo. Size-wise they would suggest Polecat. The monotonous ‘see-saw’ or tee-cher’ song of the Great Tit is being heard.
10th January, a work party discussion at CEP is suddenly brought to a halt when almost predictably I wonder away half way through, looking intently upwards. “What’s he got now?” I heard as I watched a female Peregrine Falcon slice the flock of Rooks and Jackdaws in half. The fun doesn’t end there as now we are all looking upwards a Red Kite is seen as well. Talk about Wales on your doorstep!
8th January, just when we thought it might be a bit too mild to attract oddities into the garden, a Reed Bunting is sitting in my neighbours’ hedge looking expectantly at the feeders. Having asked several regular dog-walkers it appears the Short-eared Owl may have moved on. Snowdrops out on West Street and at The Wharf.