After getting my daughter to band, and my wife reunited with her newly-mended car I popped down to Linacre this morning for a couple of hours in the very spring-like conditions. The sun was shining, the sky was very blue, there was no wind and, after the frost had gone, the temperature raced up to 5 degrees!
After refilling the feeders in the ringing area, I walked around all 3 reservoirs, surrounded by a lot of birds singing their hearts out. I heard Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers, but unfortunately, no Lesser Pecker - yet! The settled weather brought out the birds of prey as well, and 2 Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Kestrel were all seen. A Skylark was singing in the fields above the top reservoir (the first Linacre record of the year, and the 42nd species of bird seen at Linacre this year), and 2 Magpies were visiting last year's nest.
Out on the water the Little Grebes were still together and displaying to each other, while Great-crested Grebe numbers had risen to 3; 2 on the middle reservoir and 1 on the bottom reservoir. There were also 4 Cormorants; 3 in breeding plumage, on the bottom reservoir along with 34 Tufted Duck, 45 Mallards, 2 Grey Wagtails, 6 Moorhens and 9 Coots. 2 Goosanders (1m and 1fm) were around with 106 Black-headed Gulls (the highest count of the year).
Just to prove that winter isn't over yet though, I did spot a flock of 10 Redwings and heard the Siskins.
Out ringing again in the morning, so tune in tomorrow for an update.