Bright and sunny and with the wind having dropped away at last it was a lovely morning, to start with at least. A Fieldfare was the first this year, an alba wagtail flew over, a probable migrant Song Thrush was at the lighthouse and, ranking high on the weirdometer, an Egyptian Goose flew over the farm. Factor in singing Coal Tit, the first territorial Meadow Pipits on the clifftop and at least 3 Buzzards kicking about and it felt like spring might not be too far away.
A few hours before the next batch of windy weather moves in was pretty quiet, though a Firecrest behind the Top Wood may have been a migrant and the Pink-footed Goose was back on the farm, having gone awol for a few weeks. 10 Song Thrushes were in song and even if two were slightly outside the main recording area this is a huge recovery from the situation in 2006 when they had all but disappeared from the valley and farm. It may have been a foul month but it has been very mild, as the blackthorn blossom at the top of the valley testifies.
104 Woodpigeons, the highest count of the year so far, an alba wagtail in off the sea, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Buzzards soaring inland brought hopes that spring might not be too far off, even if more troubled weather is forecast.
Following the ravages of Storm Dennis over the weekend it was hoped that the sea might be interesting. However, an hour looking into occasional spells of sunshine produced little more than 94 Kittiwakes, 19 auks and a slight increase to 14 Great Crested Grebes.
On a lovely winter morning 2 more Skylarks flew in off the sea, 2 Little Egrets were fishing at the rock pools below, 7 Song Thrushes were singing and a Peregrine and a Merlin were noisily scrapping over the valley.
Bright with a frisky W breeze this appears to be the rose between the two stormy thorns of Ciara and Dennis. Nevertheless, there were some signs of spring with a Coal Tit singing in the Lower Wood, a Mistle Thrush at White Cliff (my first this year) and a drumming Great Spot in the Hollow Wood.
Calm and cold with lingering frost in sheltered hollows it was cloud-free and a stupendous winter morning. Apart from Dunnocks and Robins singing their heads off all over the place the usual suspects included a Raven, a Peregrine and 2 Stonechats by the lighthouse.
With blackthorn blossom at the top of the valley and continuing mild conditions it was not surprising to encounter a probable migrant flock of 8 Meadow Pipits by the lighthouse and a Skylark in off the sea at Fan Bay. Make the most of it, though – the weekend looks horrid.
The morning was bright with a brisk SW breeze and typically quiet for early February, though Sparrowhawk and Goldcrest were seen on the farm and a party of Long-tailed Tits jumping about on the ground by the top wood contained a nearly white-headed individual, quiet possibly the same as was seen in the top wood last August.