It certainly felt like winter was back as I donned wellies in the Woodhorn church car park this morning. The overnight damp, fretty mist that had enveloped all and produced only a single Hebrew Character in the moth trap was cold and held bleak prospects, or so I thought.
Within three minutes the first of three new birds for the year, a Great Spotted Woodpecker atop the trees just north of the railway bridge, was in the app. A couple of Goldcrests were active in the hedge and a Chiffchaff was singing along the garden edge.
On the church pool at first glance it was groundhog day, a few Canada Geese pottered around the northern end including one at the dark end of canadensis. A look back from higher up the path revealed a splash of yellow on the rocks on the west shore, thinking 'early yellow wag' I dropped back down toward the pond as a Grey Wagtail flew up and off north. Chuffed as I thought it would be winter before I had another chance of picking up this species on patch, I think this is only my second spring record at Woodhorn, both on the same pool.
Over the railway line the wintering Greylag flock was in the 'Short-toed Lark Field' along with a single Pink-footed Goose and the three adult Greenland White-fronted Geese.
Another Goldcrest in the hedge down to the iron bridge and the first of several Snipe flushed as I crossed the bridge. Another Chiffchaff singing from one of the new plantations then a couple of thrushes dropped in to the easternmost plantation. Not sure if they wee Song Thrushes or Redwing I walked around and sure enough three Redwings, better still as I was stood two Lesser Redpolls flew over calling and pitched in too providing patch tick numero trez for the morning.
A couple of Wheatears had arrived back in the new horse paddock on the way back and back in the field beside the Woodhorn hedge I could hear a Tree Sparrow singing which was a bit of a bonus as this is only the third patch record I've had of this species, second this year, and first singing bird.