I relish 'poor' weather for patch birding! I look intently for very cold, and therefore very frozen conditions, hopefully combined with large amounts of snowfall, and that is when the patch needs to be blitzed daily!
Just in the last few years, cold winters have led to some amazing patch birds, Smew, Whooper Swan, Dipper, Goldeneye etc, so this is defiantly the time to be out there birding the river due to it being one of the last places to freeze over.
As winter approaches i am practically begging for some seriously bad weather, as it leads to perfect weather for some serious patch watching!
Today, i was out and about early, mostly counting vismig due to cold weather movements. Quickly a flock of 50c Lapwing flew over, and constant streams of Fieldfare were going south, with around 150 going over in less than an hour. 2 Marsh Tit had joined one of the Tit flocks along the riverbank and were showing fairly well in the willows.
Moving onto the Lickhill estates with the intention to check out the Cotoniaster tree for a flock of punk Scandinavian visitors. It was clear that had failed once i reached the road, with only 3 Blackbird being present in a berry laden tree. It was while slogging my way back out of the very frozen and snowy road though that i picked up a fast flying duck fairly high up. Its typical wader like flight already had me identifying it before i had my bins on it. But once i had, i was treated to great views of a stunning drake TEAL!
Yes, i have seen many thousands of Teal over the years, but the patch is almost devoid of records of them, with only 3 previous records (all of small flocks), so it always makes a good bird to catch up with, and it is weather like this that certainly provides opportunity for more records!
Back in the garden the feeders were sadly slow, with only a single male Siskin, a single male Lesser Redpoll, a small flock of 20c Goldfinch and 5 Chaffinch.