A quick walk between 6pm and 7pm yesterday evening was all I could manage, most of the people had left and at first I thought the birds had left to! Gradually though some birds appeared a few LINNETS were again in the veg garden and a yesterdays missing LESSER WHITETHROAT started singing. SKYLARKS occasionally lifted and dropped in the winter wheat and a YELLOWHAMMER landed close but just on the other side of the hedge. I looked up and directly above was a CORMORANT flying south, Cormorants are not uncommon here but can be quite sporadic and generally involve birds just flying over, a Cormorant sitting on the lakes is pretty rare. I managed to add BULLFINCH, GARDEN WARBLER and KESTREL out in the fields and as I headed back to the car a GOLDCREST was singing and a BUZZARD drifted low over the wood.
This morning was another brief visit 7am - 7.45am, a slightly scruffy Blackbird checked me out as I got out of the car. I added a few of the regulars as I left the car park then the first bird I saw flying across the valley following the line of the stream was a MUTE SWAN (98), this is only the 3rd record in 14 years and a welcome addition to the year list. The pair of COLLARED DOVES were again on the holiday let and the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER was pretty vocal nearby, there were 2 MOORHENS in the moat and on the lake the Moorhens had young that could be heard in the reeds and were glimpsed a couple of times.
On the lower lake there were 2 GREYLAGS and a female MALLARD that had just 3 ducklings, they are the first I've seen here this year and would normally expect to see 4 times that amount, so maybe there are still a few Mink around or she's encountered some other problem. As I walked back MISTLE THRUSHES were out in the sheep field with 15-20 STARLINGS that also included several young birds. A GOLDCREST alighted for a second or two at eye level two feet in front of me and a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER was using a gate to survey the grass below.