At the start of the week the weather forecasters suggested Thurdsay would be the best day of the week and so it proved. The day dawned sunny but cold with ground frost in a few sheltered spots but at least the winds from the last few days had eased.
Today I started with a quick look in at the Castle Lake hide then walked past the flashes, along the embankment to Alan's Pool, around Low Hardwick to Hardwick Hall CP and back again, then along the bridleway to Fishburn Lake, through Island Farm and finished with another look from the hide, noting 66 species along the way with the following of note;
Mute Swan The Alan's Pool family have moved to the Moto-x pools but appear to have lost a cygnet with only two seen today. No sign of the Fishburn Lake family.
Wigeon At least 54 on Castle Lake and a very tame pair on Hardwick Hall Lake.
Pochard 2 drakes on Hardwick Hall Lake.
Grey Partridge A covey of 11 at Island Farm.
Little Grebe Strangely the only birds seen were 2 on Alan's Pool.
Cormorant 8 on Castle Lake early morning, my highest count this year.
Little Egret still 2 at Fishburn Lake.
Common Buzzard Numerous sightings throughout the area but the most interesting was one seen from the hide in the direction of Fishburn Lake which had very pale underparts and was hovering and hanging in the air with consummate ease, I passed it off as Common but found out later that a few Rough-legged Buzzards have turned up around the country today so I regret not looking closer at the other features.
Sparrowhawk A female over Low Hardwick and a juvenile at Alan's Pool.
Ruff Reported on Castle Lake but not seen by me.
Pectoral Sandpiper Good views of it feeding, bathing and preening next to the Green Sandpiper at the northern end of Castle Lake, later it flew onto one of the Islands.
Green Sandpiper Seems settled in for the winter, favouring the northern end of Castle Lake.
Great Black-backed Gull An adult on Castle Lake.
Stock Dove 14 in the ploughed field behind the hide.
Green Woodpecker Good views of an adult at Low Hardwick.
Fieldfare Various flocks totalling over 150 heading south-west over Low Hardwick.
Chiffchaff A late individual feeding on its own at Low Hardwick.
Goldcrest 2 seperate sightings at Low Hardwick.
Willow Tit Birds heard at two seperate areas.
Treecreeper 1 with a Coal Tit and a Long-tailed Tit flock at Low Hardwick.
Jay 3 together near the golf course behind Fishburn Lake.
Tree Sparrow mixed flock of c.40 also containing Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting near the moto-x pools.
Goldfinch Flock of c70 in set-aside at Island Farm.
No shows ( for me) today included Canada Goose, Ruff, Wheatear (!) and Mistle Thrush.