1st, Millingtondale & Nettledale - Walked around the top of Millingtondale, but rather than going round by the Wold top we came up Millingtondale instead. Along our walk we came across a flock of finches, which included up to seven Bullfinches. Amongst them was a particularly bright bird which really stood out from amongst the others. We also saw a Red Kite above the dale, and later we also spotted a Buzzard too. Towards the top of Millingtondale we flushed out a Woodcock, only the second time I’ve seen one in the Wolds. Lots of winter thrushes also about in the local fields. A good mornings walk.
7th, Tophill Low - We went birding to our nearest reserve this morning where we enjoyed some really good sightings. Included amongst these was an American Wigeon, which was mixed in with the abundant Eurasian Wigeons, on the ‘O’ reservoir. It was hard to pick out but with the help of some other birders we were able to pick it out with the old scope. Also seen this morning was a flock of Barnacle Geese, another new personal species, and at Watton Lagoons we saw a male Smew, an always welcome observation. In total forty five species were spotted, with other highlights including fourteen species of wildfowl, including some Goldeneyes. A very interesting morning.
11th - A new record of at least seven Grey Squirrels were recorded in the garden at one point today. More welcoming is the sight of flowering Cyclamens, and the odd Snowdrop is also beginning to make an appearance.
12th - A Treecreeper was seen in the garden today. Very windy overnight, indeed gale force with gusts of up to 53 mph. The temperature also rose to 14.5 C during the night.
14th, Watton Lagoons - Visited this local reserve this morning, braving the mud. It did not disappoint and there was plenty to see, particularly wildfowl was with fifteen species, including headline species such as Barnacle Geese, Bar headed Goose, Pintail, Goldeneye, & Smew. The sighting of a Bar headed Goose was a new species for me, and one assumes it can only be an escapee from a wildfowl collection, since the species is actually a native of India and Tibet. The observations of both a Pintail and a Smew were also very welcome, and the flock of around twenty Barnacle Geese was also good. Also on the reserve were good numbers of Bullfinches, some of which were very showy in front of the hide, and there good numbers of winter thrushes. The Kingfisher was seen in the drain, and at Wilfholme we spotted a Grey Wagtail. A really good morning with forty seven species seen.
15th - A Treecreeper was again seen in the garden today.
17th - Pressure dropped explosively during the night, from 996 mbar at midnight to 979 mbar at 6 am.
18th - An unsettled and windy day with periods of rain too. The gales brought widespread problems across the country, with even the Ouse Bridge closed for a time, as was the Humber. Trains also disrupted by debris on the line, and lorries were blown over along the nations motorways. Pressure reached a low of 972 mbar eventually and the peak wind gust here was 54 mph.
19th - This month has been incredibly mild thus far, with a mean temperature of 8.1 C, nearly 4 C above average.
21st, North Cave Wetlands - Visited this little reserve for the first time this year, where compared to Watton last week things were a little quiet. Still saw over forty species though, with highlights including up to four Buzzards, and eleven species of wildfowl, including good numbers of Shelducks. Five Wigeon were also seen, a species which isn’t usually seen in particularly good numbers here. Otherwise an uneventful but nevertheless an enjoyable mornings birding.
22nd - Colder today, with even a few snow flurries in the evening, these giving the slightest of dustings.
23rd - A few snow showers this morning, giving a patchy and thin covering. Gone by noon. On the Westwood I saw good numbers of Redwings, particularly in the Hawthorns in the western part of the common. A flock of eight Skylarks were also seen on the old playing fields.
27th - Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in the garden this morning.
28th - A windy day, with gusts up to 47 mph. Indeed this January has been often windy with very few calm days.
29th - A male Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the garden.
31st - Some of the daffodils coming out at Dale Nurseries, a testament to the mildness of this past month.