Although I wasn't working today I was in the arboretum at dawn to carry out a WeBS count on Rowe's Flashe Lake. After several days of cold and mostly dry weather with some beautiful winter sunshine, it was surprisingly mild, rather grey and murky this morning.
All the usual suspects were present on the lake - 48 Mallards, 16 Tufted Ducks and the resident trio of domestic Greylag Geese - but there was also a nice selection of somewhat less common birds, namely 1 Kingfisher, 8 Mandarins, 3 Little Grebe and the drake Pochard which has now been around for a couple of weeks. Just as I was about to leave, a Water Rail called in the patch of reeds on the eastern shore of the lake.
The Alders towards the south-eastern corner of the lake held at least 30 Siskin and 10 Lesser Redpoll. Redwings were also present in good numbers, with at least 20 around the lower arboretum and another dozen west over the meadow. Bullfinches were heard near the kiosk and in Badger's Bowl, and three flew over the meadow towards The Bowl. A Buzzard drifted north over Perrydean and Busbridge Copse, mobbed by a Carrion Crow.