Well, having kicked off my Yule in the briefest of post New Year's Day celebration ways possible, it was an early start again on 020114. The plan had been to spend the entire day at my beloved patch and rack up a much-missed early respectable total to get me in the swing of my newly avowed patchery and although this was destined not to come to pass... I notched up an hour or so and got the patch boll gently rolling as the sun came up. Oh how I have missed this! I'd risen slightly later than I'd originally planned but had timed it to perfection. The colours were only just beginning to show as I parked up and settled down at the Eastern Reedbed. Time check...07:33. Official sunrise was still almost an hour away and it was cool and still with the a promise of sunshine and blue skies in the gently yawning and stretching air.
As is usually the case at ERB this time of year, the first bird of the morning was Jackdaw... or rather several hundred Jackdaws waking up from their roost in the woods behind Millbrook Pool (yes dear reader, I STILL refuse to call it 'the lagoon'!) and I began to write by phone-light in my notebook.
07:33 Jackdaw. Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon and Redwing over NE in the gloaming. A Coot pinks nearby.... and Batman the resident Robin appears and patiently waits by my flask for a piece of my Turkey & Cranberry breakfast sandwich.
07:35 Solitary Reed Bunting calling and another Robin...tipping to my right. Batman flits off to investigate.
07:37 and I can make out 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Coot and 1 Mute Swan beginning to stir against the still dark waters of Millbrook Pool behind me.
07:44 Blackbird alarm call, Teal bleating.
07:45 First of the mornings 3-4 Water Rail squeals at the SE end of the ERB. Wren alarm call.
07:50 Heron 'schraaak' behind me, 3 Rook over S. Distant 'cough' of Pheasant.
07:52 I can just make out a Little Grebe purposefully trawling N out on the open water of the reedbed. I spot the long whitish wake first... the tiny instigator second.
07:54 Buzzard? Yep, Common Buzzard calling way off over the reedbed... female Mallard typically finding this whole waking up thing hilarious closer behind me. The Jackdaws briefly go quiet before erupting again into their daily cocophony and leaving the roost. Most head south...a few west.
08:02 Stock Dove over S. Party of Long-tailed Tits.
08:04 Kingfisher peeping over MBP... first of several Lesser Redpoll over S
08:07 Check MBP... 32 Teal in NE corner pool (3/4 of them males)... 4m,5f Tufted Duck on the main pool, pair of Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, first Black-headed Gulls of the day over S... and 2 Canada Goose land noisily (do they EVER just quietly arrive anywhere???)... and... a pair of Gadwall.
08:09 Lapwing over and about 10 Wood Pigeon on their NE track.
08:19 Great Tit... and that's it. Off to Pumphouse Pool. Chatting away to a couple of patchers on the East Hide half eyeing the pool (I add Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Herring Gull, LBB Gull to the day's tally...) when my phone rings. The raven-haired one has the day off and so wondered if I fancied breakfast. Yeah... why not. Hols will soon be over... I'm back to work on Monday... won't get a chance for early morning coffee with the my better half these next weeks... and besides... I've got my patch cogs moving. Good enough for me.
So... I'm just about to shut my notebook and head for the car when I spot an entry from earlier this morning under MBP...my abbreviation for Millbrook Pool. Thing is I have no recollection of writing it. It reads simply "No stockings!". Ho hum... guess I'll figure it out... eventually :o