I decided to head out early this morning just as it began to get light (8am), I headed out to a local spot where I had Brambling earlier in the year, it was bitterly cold just 2c but the wind chill made it feel more like -2c!
3 birds flew over as I approached the lane with a flight call I didn't recognise, I think they were Corn Bunting but can't be certain. As I carried on I noticed deer footprints heading into the field where I had previously seen Brambling, as I carried on two Roe Deer sprung across the field, always lovely to see, especially in the snow! Unfortunately too quick for me to reach for the camera.
In the same field were c15 Brambling mixed with Linnet and Chaffinch. As I headed back I heard the thin 'Si' calls of my favourite little bird, the Goldcrest. Two of these were in a bush next to me but the scrub was too dense to get a photo. I also heard another two calling from across the field.
I called in at the other side for a quick look, as I entered the car park 30+ Tree Sparrow flew into the car park, for those of you not versed in birds the main difference from the house sparrow is the black cheek spot and the chestnut cap to the head as seen in the photo below taken today.
I had a short stay here as the wind was bitterly cold and almost impossible to see in the scope as it was shaking so much (that may have been me not the scope!). Not much else about that wasn't viewable from the other side.
By this time I was contemplating returning home as I could no longer feel my hands or my feet, but I decided to man up and go to Duffield Carrs for a while and I'm so glad I did!
From the Geoff Smith hide I observed 19 whooper swans, 3 Goldeneye (one stunning male and 2 female), hundreds of Tufted Duck, plenty of Pochard, Wigeon and Teal. Also present were Greylag Geese, Canadian Geese, Lapwing, Fieldfare, 2 Shoveler and finally... A greater Scaup, thanks to Andy Walker for pointing this out, I was looking for about half an hour before he joined me in the hide and picked it out sleeping in the distance. A few more year ticks bring me on nicely, but still a long way to go yet!
Until next time...
P.S. Here's a nice photo I got at another location the other day.