At this time of year, it generally takes some seriously cold weather to deliver any surprises. A walk across the frozen Park down to the Decoy Pond did the trick this morning.
First a Lapwing cried out amongst the gull flock on the pasture, and was promptly chased off the field by a crow. Lapwings are always cold weather visitors to this part of Firle, with the regular flocks sticking to the levels around Glynde and Beddingham.
By the pond itself, a distinctive, high-pitched quacking revealed first two, and eventually seven, Gadwall – only my second record in Firle, after a pair early this year. I bet the odd Shoveler drops in here too from time to time, and given Jake’s pair of Bitterns at Arlington on Saturday, why not one of them in the reedy fringes here too?
Not quite a Bittern, but a brown bird erupting out of the undergrowth as I stood there miraculously failed to be a Pheasant. It was, at last, my first Woodcock in Firle – Paul’s seen a few, but I’ve never had any luck before. Top birds with their weird head shape.
Back on the Decoy, a female Teal – first of the season – appeared close to the bank, and along the stream / stew ponds (still subject to a lot of earth-moving), a bright Grey Wagtail was getting busy in newly-dug channel. They don’t seem to mind the work going on here at all.
Out on the pasture as I returned to the village, a mixed flock of 50+ Fieldfares and Redwings. With Green Woodpecker, a couple of Jays, two sets of Long-tailed Tits, Grey Heron and Moorhen, not a bad half-hour.
Waxwings Hit Lewes
Meanwhile, a walk along Glynde Reach last Sunday didn’t produce much except frozen ears and a single Green Sandpiper.