I set off, with picnic, at 11.00am with a view to cover all my local areas. I headed up Chapel Lnae, through footpaths to Westland Green and to the pits at Caley Wood. A break at the golf course before heading east to the River Ash and then on to Bush Wood and along the Ridge path. The trip was completed with a trip along Hoecroft Lane and then returned home via Brick Kiln Hill. In all 40 species were observed, nearly half my total for the area since 2008. Highlights were the first reed buntings and linnets of the year. The former were in a party of 40+ yellowhammers and chaffinches along Hoecroft Lane whilst the linnets were heard in Bush Wood. A group of 6 with 2 singing males.The fieldfares south of Chapel Lane are still present in big numbers, joined by 75+ starlings and 35+ redwings. In all I would estimate the flock to be 300 strong. Quite a noise. A superb goldcrest was seen in a hedgerow, unfortunately not keeping still long enough for the camera. However, a dunnock, robin and long tailed tit were considerably more obliging, as shown here.
A male bullfinch was observed and the mandarin ducks remained shy on the pits. 5 common buzzards were recorded in total, with 3 in a party circling over Bush Wood, where I enjoyed my picnic. 2 woodcock were flushed from Caley Wood as I made my way to the pits. From here moorhens and mallards could be viewed along with the drake mandarin. From the bench I watched a marsh tit move alng the shrubs. 2 singing skylarks were recorded and the 40th species was a black headed gull heading south to roost at around 3.30. A most enjoyable 4 hours.