After spending yesterday hedgelaying near Lingfield , in glorious sunshine and blue skies , although Carol wasn't as lucky at home , today was the total opposite . Dull , dank , miserable , with occasional drizzle , and the temperature reduced by half .
Regardless , the bird survey at Down House was overdue , so off I headed , with headlights on . The grounds were enshrouded in mist , and the cat thermometer showed that the temperature had fallen another couple of degrees since leaving home . Well wrapped for the conditions , I set off to almost silence . Just a single Wren scolding me from one of the formal flowerbeds . Absolutely nothing was seen in the walled vegetable garden , I think that was a first since staring the survey here . The large meadow produced a few common species , the best of which were two Green Woodpeckers feeding on the ground . I tried to approach them for a photo , but they were off well before I got anywhere near . The small woodland , the path around which Darwin walked whilst thinking about his theories produced a single Stock Dove and 4 Jackdaws . Looking down to where the path loops around to return on itself , something moved in the gloom . Having found Deer in this area in the past , I got the camera ready and waited quietly . Then , from behind the trunk of a large Beech , a female Roe Deer emerged , casually browsing the pathside vegetation . The lens focused on her , but , because it was so gloomy , the inbuilt flash clicked up , and she heard it . I took the shot and as you can see , the flash was caught in her eyes . It didn't seem to scare her , as she just had a look around , giving me another opportunity of a shot , then strolling back behind the Beech and out of sight . I made my way as quietly as I could , using the Beech for cover , but when I got to the tree , there was no sign of her . Getting back to the bird survey , the Cricket Field and the two small meadows produced just a few more common species , and by the time I got back to the house , a measly 13 species was all that I had got , apart from very cold hands . Only other interest was that the Jacob's Sheep are grazing the meadows , but even they looked pretty fed up with the weather conditions .
On the way home , I stopped at Keston Ponds , now finally defrosted , to check on the Mandarins . I counted 15 , split 9 male and 6 female , all roosting on overhanging branches .
I arrived home just in time for the week ahead's weather forecast , which looks as if we are returning to the 'W' word , especially in the east , with overnight temperatures below freezing .