I admit that the weather at the moment certainly doesn't feel very spring like, the temperature barely getting above 0 so far this week, however whilst birding around the patch today there was definitely a hint that spring isn't too far away. A number of lambs were bounding around in the field by Pony Wood to the soundtrack of 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers drumming and patches of Snow Drops in flower amongst the trees. The Linnet flock had reduced down to about 15 birds and when a Sparrowhawk glided over a couple of Siskin joined the flock as they flew up from the tops of the trees.
Hundreds of Lapwings were feeding in the fields along Aldcliffe Hall Lane along with smaller numbers of Redshank and Curlew. The Flood had thawed out and held about 40 Teal but not much else, whereas the flashes out on the marsh were still mostly frozen and so there were only 2 Snipe in the Snipe Bog area plus a couple of Little Egrets. The walk down to Stodday and back proved to be uneventful other than another Sparrowhawk sitting on the benches along the footpath and a Great-crested Grebe feeding in the river. There appeared to be at least 100 Pink-footed Geese on the marsh towards Marsh Point with the usual Greylags and Canadas.
I had been informed by a dog walker that a Kingfisher had been showing in the ditch next to the cycle path and sure enough it gave beautiful views in the evening light fishing from the adjacent bushes. Just further along I had similarly breath-taking views of a Goldcrest feeding in the brambles not 5 foot from me, totally oblivious of my presence. 2 Grey Partridge were feeding on the northern edge of the stubble field next to Freemans Pool which had completely frozen over. Freemans Wood held a couple of noisy Jays but very little else just as it was beginning to get dark just after 5pm, a noticeable increase in birding on recent weeks.
Sparrowhawk, Siskin, Kingfisher, Goldcrest and Jay (plus a Peregrine over my house in town last week) put me on 72 species (75 points) for the patch year.