On xmas day i decided a nice thing to do would be to go out and have a look around my 'parents house patch' which is a relatively small patch near my parents house. Its where i used to go fishing with friends as a teenager at a small brick pit called bass pit which was extremely popular with the youth anglers of sleaford, and i caught many a fish from there, and once fell in.
The patch itself runs from a farm track off mareham lane which is surrounded by quite intensively farmed arable fields usually growing the usual lincolnshire staple of smelly brassicas and onions. Alongside the track, the farmer has actually planted a mix of native trees all the way down seperating it from the field, so at least he's doing something. These sometimes attract warblers and other small birds in the summer but the trees are quite small and uniformly planted but are a welcome addition to the landscape. Further along quite a nice, if gappy, hedge has been left to border one of the fields which often holds reed buntings and thrushes, and another patch of native trees has been planted along one side. A walk across one of the fields brings one to the railway sidings where a line of tall poplar run alongside a track with thick scrub dominating the other side. This eventually leads along to a large railway pit which has been there for as long as i remember and is bordered by willow and alder carr, with a few large dead willows and islands in the middle. This is a magnet to local wildfowl and must be one of very few local wildfowl habitats, but it only seems to attract a poor diversity of species, probably owing to it being quite shallow and presumably hosting a poor population of fish, as the birds seen on the lake are crustacean and plant eaters, such as tufted duck, geese and loads of coots. Pescivores such as grebes and sawbills are species i've never seen here. The rest of the patch continues along farmtracks surrounded by more arable land bordered by the odd hedgerow before returning to the path which was left to walk towards the lake.
I've not seen much at this patch, and its usually the same species i see here each time i go, but it makes for a nice walk nonetheless. On christmas day i went for a little walk to work up an appetite before dinner, and it was quite good. The first birds i noted were a lot of calling dunnocks from the oak plantation and i managed to see a few, it was notable as there were a lot of birds calling from all over. Meanwhile a mixed flock of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting flew over and landed in an ivy covered tree next to mareham lane, birds which i see here often, its always nice to see Yellowhammers. It was otherwise quiet around the farmland and even on the path down to the lake there was little about, apart from a couple of Redwing and a single Blue Tit, as well as a stoat running across the path.
On the lake itself there were actually a lot of birds, but a scan with the bins didn't reveal much of interest aside from a single Pochard, but there were loads of tufted duck, coot and black headed gulls. Walking through the farmland i noticed a large bird sitting atop a post, and from a distance it had the appearance of a falcon, so i edged closer. It still looked falcon sized as i got closer but i just couldnt make it out too well, and then it flew and revealed itself as a Buzzard! It really didnt look that big when it was perched, but must have been hunched up against the wind... A couple of kestrel were also seen, including one being mobbed by gulls, and a new bird for the patch, a Grey Partridge was also seen, though in particularly un-festive fashion, it was not atop a pear tree, nor were there any turtle doves.... maybe there'd be more festivity going on at home....
happy christmas eh!