The government restrictions meant that travelling to go birding was not allowed, so I was back on the patch.
It was a cold weekend and Saturday was particularly icy, as I negotiated the paths around Nottingham Business Park, which were decidedly tricky under foot. I past a row of alders, and I thought they looked good for Siskin, although with the sun barely up, any self-respecting Siskin was probably still tucked up in bed.
Turning up the path that runs along the fields between there and Nuthall, I spied movement and almost stumbled into a Jay, which was foraging among the leaf litter of a large oak. I froze and tentatively raised my camera, turning the shutter down as far as I dare, although the Sony A9, seems to be noise free up to 3200 ISO. Under the circumstances, I think it turned out quite well.
I spent a while with watching the Jay, which was very vocal, doing the buzzard-like mewing call and lots of whistles and tweets. A splendid bird.
The twinkling of goldfinch over head made me turn back, wondering if they were headed for the alders. I was greeted with a mixed flock dangling from the cones. My approach initially caused the Siskins and Goldfinches to take flight, but I found a lamp post to hide behind. Emerging from my post, I gradually won the confidence of the birds. Bit by bit, I got closer and closer, until I was too close to focus at 600mm.
I called my friend, Mike Hill to share the info, who I knew was also patch-watching and whose patch over-lapped with my own. He reciprocated with news of a pair of Stonechats not too far away, which he had seen on New Years Day and might still be around. After logging a female Sparrowhawk zoom overhead, I made my way towards the spot that mike had mentioned, I located the Stonechats without too much difficulty. However, given the sparse habitat, I didn't linger, obtaining a couple of record shots and moved on.
The pond was 80% frozen and 40 Black-headed Gulls and three Common were bathing and drinking from the water, which made for some nice photos. Around the reserve were the usual suspects, plus a single Little Egret, which is still scarce there. A gathering of 11 Eurasian Teal is my best count from the site.
I continued with my walk around the park. Still no Tawny Owl, but bagged Rose-ringed Parakeet for the list and the mainly frozen lake was holding good numbers of gulls, including Lesser Black-backed Gull and unusually for there - Herring Gull. Egyptian Geese were on good form.
Working my way back through the park, I was attracted by four Nuthatches, chasing each other around the trees under which the Redwing had been feeding. But they were of before I could get a photo. However, as I was about to move on, a Treecreeper alighted right in front of me - a smart little bird and I got some nice photos, before returning home for a coffee and a Danish.