Thursday February 17
Setting out just before seven on a very misty/foggy morning, we debated whether or not to continue with our journey. Norwich was to be the turning point. Still no improvement but we went on anyway, arriving at Lynford paddocks parking area at 8.50.
Still foggy, we could only see the tops of trees halfway across the paddock. Twenty minutes later, after admiring a pair of singing Marsh Tits, we reluctantly left the car, togged up and walked to the bench. There we sat it out for nearly an hour before the icy, damp cold had seeped into the bones, freezing limbs. No-one else saw any Hawfinches - nor yesterday's reported Great Grey Shrike - either. Small compensation.
I heard a Crossbill chip over but little else apart from the usual Tits.
Breakfast from the excellent Browns cabin at the roundabout before making the short drive to St Helens picnic area. The usual stop on the drive in where we immediately heard the drumming of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We alerted two other birders and one of them saw it briefly before it flew away. The parking area was devoid of birds, back for another, fruitless this time, go at the Pecker. Nothing on the river either.
The sun appeared at mid-day, like a silvery moon behind thinner cloud which gradually cleared. Worth another go at the Arboretum..........
No it wasn't !
Another slightly less cold hour's vigil. Many more birders by now including Robin Abel, most of whom had walked the entire area. Still no Hawfinches. We drove to the Arboretum end car park in order to warm up the car - and us. No birds at all. Everyone was complaining.
Pam wanted another go at St Helens. This added a Goldcrest to the year list and a Lesser Redpoll to the month list.
The river was more fruitful this time. Biggest surprise was a couple of Treecreepers hopping about on the ground and in amongst willow scrub above. We've never seen them on the ground before. A lovely Kingfisher, spotted by Pam, kept vigil perched on an overhanging bough on the bend in the river. Too distantly for a photograph.
We really enjoyed the day in the end, driving home in ever increasing fog, just as thick at home as it was this morning.
Birding with Sue to-morrow. My leg was painless to-day, so, fingers crossed.