Driving rain dominated the day, keeping the birds tight into the trees and me counting wayward leaves and raindrops. I finally managed to acquire a few legitimate sightings, occasional glimpses of mainly solitary birds, visibly irked by the demands of their hunger.
It was the second year running that the count was washed out by the weather, but I guess that in itself is something of an accurate reflection of a rainy day in January, if not the throng of winter sunshine.
Walking through the Sanctuary it was something of a surprise when the fringe, skeletal trees broke away into dozens of starlings, as if to air an apology for the lack of avian activity. They were quickly joined by a car crash of corvids, as the jackdaws took to the deepening grey skies. Their collective lines were scruffy by comparison, as the cumbersome individuals overlapped one another in a series of near misses, vocalising their presence like helium damaged horns.
As the starlings swooped over the outermost hillside field, they dislodged a number of meadow pipits from the shallow grass. Previously hidden from view, the pipits settled again a little way along, giving me just enough time to count them before they once more drained into their camouflage.
While the resident moorhen remained sensibly undercover, the five mallards cast doubt on the adage, "nice weather for ducks", as a significant number were conspicuous by their absence. The family of Canada geese have remained since the summer, the two youngsters looking healthy, strong and impervious to the weather. Their springtime activity will certainly be interesting.
80+ Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
42 Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
15 Meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis)
13 House sparrows (Passer domesticus)
09 Carrion crow (Corvus corone)
08 Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
05 Blackbird (Turdus merula)
05 Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)
04 Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis)
03 Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
03 Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
02 Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
02 Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
02 Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
02 Coal tit (Periparua ater)
01 Song thrush (Turdus philomelos)
01 Magpie (Pica pica)
01 Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
01 Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)