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WEATHER; dull and overcast with some bright spells and some rain. Temp 7C 

Today was my last walk of the month, it wasn't very productive until I got round to Rexes Hollow Lane. In the fields either side of the lane had many thrushes feeding in them. I counted around 200 birds, a good mixture of Fieldfares and Redwings. I also saw both Song Thrush and Blackbird in the same fields.

inside the hollow along Rexes Lane

In one of the fields I saw the 'ghost' of Fez the Pheasant. If you remeber he was a regular visitor to my garden during lockdown. He died in 2021 and he has been following me around for a few months now, but will not come near me because I don't have food with me. Anyway, I'm not scared of ghosts, unless they start turning up in the middle of the night in my house!!!

The 'ghost' of Fez the Pheasant, a friend of mine during the lockdown years


From our January 1st Dorset dash to my gentle stroll on the January 31st I have covered a lot of ground and seen some exciting species. My total step count for the month is 231,435 an average of 7,466 a day. It would have been a lot more if it had been better weather, remember all that rain?

I have seen 162 species during the month with some excellent sightings and a few rarities too! My favourite bird of the month is that pictured on the banner above and below - the Long-eared Owl. We saw this one in the grounds of Cley Spy, in Norfolk and then we saw another two at Eldernell in Cambridgeshire when we stopped off on our way home.

I gathered a good list of uncommon migrants and rare birds including: Isabelline Wheatear, Long-billed Dowitcher, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, American Wigeon, Black Guillemot, White-tailed Eagle & Pallid Harrier. Some uncommon winter visitors included: Richards Pipit, Snow Bunting, Shorelark, Brambling, Hen Harrier, Purple Sandpiper, Black Redstart and Grey Phalarope.

I saw all three species of regular Divers, Red-throated, Black-throated and Great Northern as well as all the five grebes (Great Crested, Little, Slavonian, Red-necked and Black-necked). Five Owls were also seen, Barn Owls, Long-eared Owls and a Tawny Owl were seen in Norfolk. Little Owl was seen in Dorset and at one site in Camebridgeshire we saw three owl species:  Tawny, Long-eared and Short-eared Owls.

The most frustrating bird on my list has to be HUMES LEAF WARBLER!! I went to look for that little blighter 5 times at Brancaster in Norfolk. It was viciously windy and cold during every visit and I spent several hours standing still looking into a few scraggy bushes on the edge of a marsh!. To make matters worse, my buddy Guy, saw it well whilst he was standing next to me.

Humes Leaf Warbler standing next to a Wren

I finally got to grips with this species (a lifer by the way) at Compton Dando near Bristol. It could not have been a more contrasting twitch. It was calm, a lot warmer, absolutely still and the bird was so showy it was unbelieavable!

Let us see what February brings? It should get off to good start as I am taking out David and Sallie Jones, we are spending two days in this space.