Saturday 3rd January
A male Stonechat was showing well in scrub by the Round Pond and I picked up a Snipe on the fringe of the scrape (the first of 4 seen today with two other in flight)We had a scan for Bittern but no sign - only to hear 20 minutes later that Jerry Warne had it sitting in the reeds. When we returned a dog walker was screaming at their dog and it was diving into the lake.....unsuprisingly the Bittern had dissapeared. We also saw a soaring Sparrowhawk close by. Walking through the East scrub we saw the first of several Siskin flocks today. They seemed to be all over the place. Also Goldfinch feeding on teasels and Greenfinch and Chaffinch as well as a Great Spotted Woodpecker over.
Over to Abbeymead there were 6 Teal on the pit and a large flock of Pochard but not much else of note. Walking along the river we heard the first of many Bullfinch and more Teal on the river as well as a Redshank. Suprisingly the sunken marsh was very quiet and viewing difficult on Brooklands because of the low sun.
Back along the millstream we had another scan for Bittern but still no sign. We did however have nice views of a Fox that was sunning itself in a gap in the reeds. We we were alerted to the presence of a Firecrest near feeding in scrub along the ditch by at the end of the West scrub, after searching for 20 minutes we located it associating with a Goldcrest and wer rewarded with some crippling views.
Back towards Alders I managed to locate the Goosander for Fred and got some record shots. We then drove around to the Water Works entrance for one last go for the Bittern as the light was fading - I guess we were pushing our luck! We did however have good views of a Water Rail walking on the ice close to the reed bed and had small flocks of both Fieldfare and Redwing over - both birds we hadn't seen all day.