A second sunny morning on the trot , so it was early breakfast , and out before any phone calls could change my plans .
I decided on a visit to West Wickham Common , then on to Hayes Farm , but the twitching started at the breakfast table . Within ten minutes or so , 11 species came to the feeders .Blue and Great Tit , Chaffinch , Greenfinch , Goldfinch , Stock Dove , Woodpigeon and Collared Dove , Great Spotted Woodpecker , Jackdaw and Robin . Somewhere in the gardens , a Song Thrush was in full song , and down the bottom of the garden Carrion Crow and Magpie put in an appearance . Not bad , 14 species before turning a wheel .
Up on West Wickham Common , it was obvious that like on Keston Common , large numbers of Redwings were enjoying the ripe Holly berries , every tree seemed to be host to small numbers .
I managed a couple of shots , a bit better than yesterday's effort , but they are very nervous , flighty , and difficult to photograph at the moment . Whilst walking around , the now usual squawking of Parakeets overhead was almost overlooked , but I did look up , only to find three RRPs chasing off a Sparrowhawk , and doing a very good job of it as well . Other species recorded were Nuthatch , Blackbird , Bullfinch ( usual rear end view ) and an overflying Black Headed Gull . The recent frosty nights seem to have decimated the fungi , as most specimens found were just a wet mush , but these Hypholoma fasciculari-Sulphur Tuft were holding up reasonably well on the stump of an Oak . On the way back down the hill to the car , I found a cultivated Holly in one of the back gardens , with yellow berries , growing alongside the usual red berried type .
I think that the best way to describe the conditions at Hayes Farm would be marshy , as many of the paddocks have pools of water all over the place , and even the drier looking ones sound very boggy when the horses walk on them . Unsurprisingly , there were large mixed flocks of Black Headed and Common Gulls treating the pools as ponds , and bathing and preening in them , and around the horses , Pied Wagtails were waiting to snap up anything disturbed . Just a short distance in , I disturbed two male Pheasants , which quickly headed for cover in the remains of the Runner Bean plants . A couple of Canada Geese flew over my head and a Dunnock called from the adjacent back gardens . Heading towards the Trout Fishery , the only further sighting was a Green Woodpecker . As I arrived at the Fishery , four cars were parked alongside it , so I didn't expect to find much . Sure enough , five fly anglers were spread around the lake , and I only recorded Coot , Moorhen , Mallard , Little Grebe and the usual farmyard type ducks , with no sign of the Egyptian Goose that stayed all last Winter . Heading back , squawking at their nest tree , were two pairs of Rose Ringed Parakeets , the argument seemingly about the ownership of the nest hole below them . Skylark and Fieldfare were added nearing the car , when a flock of 25/30 , what I could only describe as Doves from the quick glimpse I got of them , flew in low and settled some 100 metres further on . From that quick glimpse , there seemed something different about a couple of them . I closed the gap between us , and found them settled in a lightly vegetated area behind the area where cabbages had been grown . Searching through the flock with binoculars still at some distance , two strange looking birds came into view , both head down feeding . By now I could see that the remaining grey birds were Feral Pigeons , but still couldn't be sure of the other two . I kept closing them down , then was disappointed to find that the two strange ones were Feral Pigeons too , so bang went the chance of a new species named after me . As can be seen , the last photographs were not in the sunshine , as by now a band of ever thickening cloud had blotted it out just like yesterday , and by 1500 , yet again , it was raining , but I had seen 34 species whilst it was shining .
And finally , part of a charm of Goldfinches , which numbered at least 11 , that arrived just after Carol put out more food after lunch . I make it 8 and a Blue Tit in this shot from the back bedroom window . Also had the first garden Redwing in a neighbour's tree at the same time .
5 hours ago