An afternoon stroll through the park revealed up to 10 Redwings munching on berries near the bowling green with 4 or 5 Blackbirds as companions. Nearby there was a party of Long-tailed Tits, several Goldfinches, a Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tits, a Robin and a female Blackcap. A gaggle of Starlings were in their normal tree by the church - they've been in quite low numbers this winter I reckon. A couple of patches of Snowdrops were in flower.
A couple of hours on the reserve produced the usual suspects - 2 Grey Wagtails (1 on brook, another at Boiling Wells), 1 Raven on the tower, 1 Sparrowhawk over the hill, a Jay near Boiling Wells entrance, single Goldfinch at Boiling Wells plus a few Robins, Great Tits and a calling Dunnock. Winter Heliotrope in flower at usual place near Ashley Hill entrance.
I did a New Year Plant Hunt today. The Botanical Society of Great Britain and Ireland are collecting records of all plants in flower so I thought I'd target Montpelier. I recorded 16 species in flower:
White Deadnettle Daisy Annual Mercury Groundsel Wood Avens Ivy-leaved Toadflax Ivy Red Valerian Petty Spurge Dandelion Smooth Sowthistle Annual Meadow-grass Cocks-foot Hazel Sweet Alison Common Nettle
There were a couple of Redwings between the top of St Andrews Road and Fairlawn Road.
I depend on spiders for my invertebrate 'fix' in these dark winter days. Throughout the autumn I've been enjoying my Zygiella x-notata going about her daily business in my bathroom window, but in recent weeks I've worried that dropping temperatures would see her supply of prey dwindle and that she would die of starvation. I was therefore relieved to see her tucking into a big fat Calliphora sp. this morning - it must have flown into the flat seeking warmth only to be captured in 'my' spider's web. That should keep her going for a few weeks.....