After a spell of early January away days I decided to put in some serious time at the patch today. The weather was fairly settled with blue skies and sunshine throughout my visit.
I started my visit by checking out Captains Pool. Unfortunately, due to the mount of anglers on the pool, it was pretty much devoid of birds. The only birds noted were 6 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Moorhen and 8 Mallard.
I then parked up at Stanklyn Lane near the Gallops field and walked the Lane to Summerfield and the footpaths across the fields back. At the paddocks there were c.60 Fieldfare, 14 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush and c.100 Starling all down on the ground feeding. Further along the lane near the entrance to the beet field were another 4 Redwing.
On arriving at Summerfield the first thing that struck me was the large flock of mixed Corvids feeding there. There were c.200 Rooks and c.80 Jackdaws in the large field. I then heard the call of a Corn Bunting and started scanning the low trees at the edge of what I call 'the sheep field'. There was a large winter flock of Corn Bunting here so I started scanning through them with my scope. In total I counted 46 Corn Bunting...a new patch record count! The previous largest winter flock seen consisted of 42 Corn Buntings at Witch Lane on 18th February 2011. Also seen in this area were 20 Linnets and 2 Dunnocks
Walking back across the beet field I flushed 4 Skylarks and 7 Meadow Pipits (one of which broke of from the main group and perched very obligingly in a nearby tree). At the back hedgerow of the small carrot field another 2 Corn Buntings were present. As I didn't record any flying over from Summerfield during the walk I think it is safe to assume that these two individuals were separate from the main flock.
Heath Lane paddock was also chuffing with birds with 73 Fieldfare, 24 Redwing, 4 Starling, 3 ♂ Chaffinch and a Greenfinch all feeding on the deck. In the trees next to the Islamic school there were c.100 Linnet kicking up a racket.
Witch Lane was very quiet although I did pick up a year tick in the shape of 3 Red-legged Partridge. 5 Cormorant were perched in the trees next to Willow Marsh Fishery. A Common Buzzard was also present.
My final stop was Butts Lane where I decided to walk my usual circuit. Whilst walking the footpath next to the stubble field I flushed 43 Skylarks. A Raven flew over 'kronking' heading South West. A ♂ Kestral was present at Eastfields Farm.
All in all a very enjoyable visit to the patch and one that was very productive. I will have to try and visit a little more frequently between 'away days'