Thinking that the sunshine might last , I headed off for Down House to do the Bird Survey . With everything closed up , I had to access the site via the public footpath that runs through it and on through the adjoining Golf Course . It would be good to report that a better than average number of species were recorded , but a very average 17 was all that I could muster in the hour and a half on site . 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' came to mind , having recorded 54 yesterday , but the site does not have any water , nor is there any in the close proximity , which immediately reduces the species count . In fact , I recorded fewer individual birds ( 38 ) than I did species yesterday . Green (pictured) and Great Spotted Woodpecker , Nuthatch and the usual Rose Ringed Parakeets was as good as it got today .
For the first visit in several , I didn't have any Deer sightings , of any kind , the only animals seen were the Jacob's Sheep , looking very snug in their winter coats .
As usual , I called in at Keston Ponds on my way back , but all three ponds are still best part frozen over , so very little was seen .
My last stop was on the lane opposite Keston Church , to look for the first flowers of the year . The area was strimmed hard at the end of the summer , but the Winter Heliotrope-Petasites fragrans , a member of the Daisy family and closely related to Butterbur-P.hybridus , is already pushing several flower spikes towards the now very grey sky . A bit more searching , and I eventually found one spike with the petals of the first flower of the year just opened .
Spring can't come soon enough .