Although this post is from 2012 and I am actually typing it up in 2013, I would like to wish you all a happy New Year.
My visit to the patch on the 30th of December was to be my last of the year. I had spoken to Tony earlier that day who informed me that he had seen a ♂ Brambling and 2 ♂ Lesser Redpolls just off Stanklyn Lane whilst out walking that morning. Both of which would be patch year ticks for me so I headed over early afternoon.
On arriving at the patch it wasn't long before I picked up the flock of c.50 Corn Buntings and 5 Yellowhammers. There was lots of finch activity in the area with 2 flocks each containing c.30 Linnet and a flock of c.40 Goldfinch wheeling about over the stubble fields. Continuing my walk I connected with a mixed flock of c.100 Chaffinch and 10 Greenfinch that were perching up periodically in the nearby trees. On scanning through them with my scope I soon picked up what I was after, the ♂ Brambling and not long afterwards I added a 2nd Brambling (♀) to the day's tally.
Not long after enjoying the Bramblings everything went up from the stubble field, so I quickly scanned for a raptor. I was in luck, heading low and fast over the stubble field was a cracking ♂ Merlin. It was the first ♂ I had seen this winter although I have recorded a ♀/imm. locally on a handful of occasions. The bird continued across the stubble heading NE until it was lost to sight.
On my way back along the footpath I encountered a group of 3 Goldcrests (1 adult ♂) and managed to connect with a single ♀/imm. Lesser Redpoll.
Heath Lane by contrast to the previous area was incredibly quiet with the only notables being a Common Buzzard at the paddock and 2 Red-legged Partridge at the model aircraft field.
This was by far my most productive and enjoyable patch visit in a long while, with two patch year ticks and a male Merlin right at the years end. It will be interesting to see what 2013 brings (better weather hopefully!)
♂ Brambling - 30th Dec 2012
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