A most pleasant walk in good, bright light saw me heading along the Ridge path to Bush Wood and then back along the Ash Valley. A check o the barn owl roost proved negative, but there are still signs of it roosting there, with plenty of owl pellets. This walk offered a good selection of birds with several being unusual sightings. A pair of canada geese headed south west over Bush Wood whilst a pair of marsh tits were feeding by The Ford. a solitary skylark called overhead and a single herring gull weaved its way southwards.
A superb pair of male bullfinches were noted south of the Ford and a covey of 4 red legged partridge were flushed near Acremore Street. A search for wintering woodcock in coppices and woods also failed to turn any up but a fox was startled to find itself so close to me. Numbers were again supplied by yellowhammers, with a party of over 30 near Bush Wood and another, slightly smaller group along the river.
Away from the walk a splendid fallow deer stag was recorded in fields adjacent to the A120 at Cradle End and a party of 10 waxwings were photographed in Bishop's Stortford. these have been present for 2 weeks, feeding on a rowan tree in a front garden near Parsonage Lane. Photos attached show the splendid waxwings, the fox, a goldfinch against a bright January sky and the first lamb of the year.