Although just above freezing , the sun was shining as I drove down the approach track , pulling over to look through a good sized flock of Chaffinches , feeding on the ground , in the hope of my first Brambling of the year . On fist scan , there was one odd bird , but it was a Goldfinch . I moved further along the track , following the feeding flock , noticing that several of the Chaffinches had been ringed , like this male . Finding the lone Goldfinch again , I noticed something moving behind it . Not my first Brambling , but my first Siskin of the year . No sooner had I got two shots , a car came down the track , and the flock disappeared into the trees . They were just coming back down again , when the car returned , and that was the last I saw of the flock , including the Siskin .
Walking towards the Willow Hide , I heard at least 4 , possibly 6 Bullfinches calling . Obviously , I was the first to visit the hide as most of the birds on the lake were still in sleep mode . Some were up like this male Teal , and two pairs of Gadwall , coming out of their slumber . A Great Crested Grebe was definitely awake , and was already looking for it's breakfast . And it did well , catching two good sized fish whilst I was watching .Most of the rest woke up when this pair of Mute Swans took off noisily .Much to the annoyance of the youngster starting to gets it's adult plumage , which was left behind . Perhaps the adults were trying to tell it something . All the noise even woke the 3 Shoveller that were soundo , right outside the hide .If any had managed to sleep in , they were woken by a large flock of Greylag and Canada Geese , that honked their way down to the surface of the lake . This was just a small part of the arrivals . Little Grebes , Grey Herons and Cormorants were all recorded , along with a flyover flock of Lapwing , which circled and then landed on one of the small islands in the large lake .
I had a look at the other side of the lake from the hides , hoping for a Bittern , Water Rail or Bearded Tit , but needless to say found none of them . A movement in the reeds had me on tenderhooks for several minutes , until a Blue Tit flew out .Some compensation came by way of a very confiding Robin outside the last hide .
The feeders behind the Visitor Centre didn't produce any surprises , just Blue and Great Tits , and more Chaffinches . The list finished with 38 species being recorded .
And finally a couple of fungi , which have really reduced in numbers .
Coprinus lagopus , from the same family as the Shaggy Inkcap and Magpie Fungus .And a much munched specimen of Flammulina velutipes-Velvet Shank , showing the velvety stems that give it it's common name . Of interest , this species can stand being frozen , and on thawing , produce more spores , just as well given last night's temperature .