The month commenced with a zone of high pressure moving easterly. For the first six days, the temperatures were below zero early on and only rising to low single figures during the day. The sky was virtually cloudless, with little wind.on several days, until the 6th, when a dense fog enshrouded the whole area.
Visibility was limited on the 6th, as dense fog blanketed the area. It thinned a little by the end of two-and-a-quarter-hour visit, which proved profitable. The mobbing calls of Blackbirds, in the oaks southeast of the lake, tempted me to check the area and a Little Owl, as anticipated though they are now scarce, flew out – my first sighting since mid-August. When I returned to the reservoir a pair of Gadwall was present.
It was still on the 5th, with an almost cloudless sky and cold at -3°C. My walk around the reservoir was rewarded with the sight of a Kingfisher with a fish. A Herring Gull also made a brief visit and 36 Mallard were present, with another 20 on the lake. A Pied Wagtail visited Spindlewood again and the good numbers of Fieldfares and Starlings had move into the Spindlewood orchard for the fallen apples there. During Bob’s later visit he saw another Blackcap, a cock bird in the rarity hedge and also noted a Little Egret flying high SW over the reservoir.
Only an hour-long visit was possible on the 4th, when the sky was cloudless and a cool easterly breeze blew. Consequently little of note was seen, though two Herring Gulls flew E and a flock of about 100 Starlings visited the southernmost orchard.
A cool northeasterly breeze, on the 3rd, cleared the overcast sky, revealing the sun and brought scattered clouds. A Kestrel was present by the west end of Peens Lane, a Reed Bunting flew around the edge of the reservoir, where a party of at least eight LT Tits was feeding, five Dunnocks were present and six of the eight Moorhens.had formed a group in the reservoir orchard, from which probably 100 Fieldfares and 64 Starlings flew.
It was overcast, still and dry on the 2nd, when little change was noted. There was a total absence of waterfowl on the frozen lake, but Fieldfares were still in reasonable numbers in the reservoir orchard but very Redwings and Finches were seen. A pair of Collared Doves was present at Gary’s barn, one of this year’s breeding areas and Bob was fortunate enough to find a hen Blackcap at the western end of Gary’s shaw.
The temperature rose from -2° to just 4° during a brief hour-long visit on the 1st, when the lake was totally frozen over and just one pair of Mallard was present, with 34 on the reservoir. While visiting Boughton Place to report a sick-looking stag, a Sparrowhawk flew over but very little else was seen. Thanks to Rory and Bev the second access to the reservoir is open again.