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WEATHER:  a bright clear day with a strong easterly breeze, very cold again. Temp -1 to 3C

Today's date:   12022021  is a palindrome! Which means you can read the date from left to right and right to left.

It was another day of two halves, the morning walk was for birding and whilst we took our binoculars with us in the afternoon it wasn’t for birding.

At 9am I left the house and walked round to station lane, from the road bridge over the stream I watched a Goldcrest at very close quarters working through the lower branches of an alder tree. At the entrance to Yeo Valley I turned south and walked under the railway track to the woodland that sits on the side of the stream. Once I was out of the wind it felt quite pleasant, a few Redwings flew up from the leaf litter and a gang of Blue & Great Tits worked their way through the bushes.

The Sheep field looking along the track from Cowpool Farm

As I emerged from the woodland I ‘scoped the sheep field that sits above Cowpool Farm, I saw a large flock of Lapwings with lots of thrushes running around so I decided to head over there. The Lapwings were very flighty, so I couldn’t get near them before they flew off over the farm and landed behind the buildings. I searched through the Redwings and Fieldfares looking for anything unusual but failed to find a rare thrush.


I walked up through the farm, noting Chaffinches, Pied Wagtails and a nice population of House Sparrows. At the far side of the farm I saw a couple of Lapwing with some Herring Gulls and a single Less Black-backed Gull, I really wanted the L BB Gull for my photo-collection but it flew off spooked by the Lapwings.

Lapwing with its crest blowing forward in the wind

I couldn’t get to the field with the main Lapwing flock so I turned around and went back the way I had come. When I got to the sheep field, I could see that the Lapwings had returned and with them was a single Golden Plover. This time I got some record shots, I counted 53 lapwing.

the single Golden Plover seen with the Lapwings at Cowpool Farm

I took the return route through the large grass meadow above the stream and found a single Mistle Thrush with a Crow and a Jackdaw, I guess the ground was still frozen and not good for foraging for worms. Back at the Yeo Valley track I was lured into the valley with sighting of two Jays but my usual stealthy approach failed once again and the birds flew off. I only walked as far as the derelict building where I saw Green Woodpecker fly across the meadow to a dead tree stump.

Other birds seen in the valley include Great Sotted Woodpecker, more Redwings, Song Thrush, Common Buzzard and not much else. Once again I was glad to be back home in the warm for lunch.

The afternoon walk was taken in bright sunshine, it was lovely to see a clear blue sky and not a cloud in sight. It was still cold in the wind but when you found shelter it felt quite warm. We walked up through Stoford onto the top road and then we turned into a stubble field and headed towards the church at Barwick.

looking down towards Barwick from the top road

From the church we walked through Barwick village and up to Barwick House where we viewed the lake which was still partly frozen over. Only 5 Little Grebes, 2 Mallards and a single Moorhen were present, we did see lots of Robins today, they seemed to be everywhere, there was at least 10 along Rexe’s Hollow Lane.

two of Dawn's pictures taken this afternoon

one of the four Follies at Barwick House behind Barwick Church

We got back home at 4pm, the light was beginning to fade and a few clouds appeared overhead so it was perfect timing. Dawn made a lovely hot chocolate drink an we snuggled down on the sofa for the afternoon.