With freezing temperatures, no wind and sunshine forecast for today, I was out of the house this morning at 5.45am where I drove over to Nethergong and parked up at the bridge to listen from the car. I was hoping to hear maybe a Tawny and Little Owl but despite much listening, I failed to hear any call. All was not wasted though as in the dark I heard 1 Wigeon (64) a few Teal (65) flew over calling and 1 Snipe. Around 6.45am and still very much dark, I took a walk along the northern boundary up towards the gate. As I walked up towards the lake, I could hear more Teal calling and quite a few duck taking to the wing. Moving on I was pleased to hear 1 Tawny Owl (66) calling nearby and a scan of the tree line revealed the Owl sitting on top of an ivy covered bush before it flew off into the darkness. I finally reached the gate where I hoped a Woodcock would be seen coming into roost but this never materialized. Whilst at the gate, I picked out a Barn Owl flying up the stream towards me and it passed by only a few metres from me before realising I was there. It continued to hunt for a while giving nice views. Around me I could hear 3 Cetti's Warbler, 3 Skylark (67) 4 Water Rail, 3 Grey Heron flew from their roost tree, 2 Pheasant, 3 Snipe called as they flew over and c620 Cormorant flew north as the light picked up. Having to drop my daughter off at dance at 10am, I walked back to the car where I heard 1+ Bearded Tit, 1 Treecreeper provided a nice photo opportunity, 12 Meadow Pipit, 2 Marsh Harrier, 18 Fieldfare, the Coot was still on the lake with 2 Mallard and 1 Common Gull (68) was in a flooded field at the entrance.
Having done my jobs at home, I returned at 11am where I spent a couple more hours walking around the site. By now the sun was starting to shine and the temperature had somewhat warmed up. Birds I noted were 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Ring necked Parakeet, 2 Jay, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Siskin, 5 Yellowhammer, 2 Little Egret, 2 Stonechat and 1 Feral Pigeon (69) flew north. I was on my second circuit when I noticed a group of Swans flying north distantly. A quick look through the binoculars proved interesting and so I rattled off a few shots on the camera. Zooming in on the back of the camera confirmed my suspicions as they were 11 Bewick's Swans (70), the first time I have seen this species here and a bonus species for the year. No prizes for the photos but they give the impression of smaller, short necked and smaller billed Swans.
The only other birds noted were 1 Peregrine, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker and 1 Lapwing in with the gull flock in the fields. A really great session and despite the small site, it certainly continues to turn up some good birds and the 100 species is well on target.