Finally after what has to be the wettest Christmas break in my memory a day of sunshine was forecast. Kids and dogs packed in to the car we headed off to Calke Abbey to hopefully blow away a few cobwebs and some energy.
On arrival Red Deer were in the paddock next to the car park and a quick look at the bird hide was not that revelatory! Stuffed full of grumpy old men with long lens none of whom moved slightly to allow access to the benches so we gave up and headed off for a walk. More deer in the paddocks below the lake (both Red and Fallow Deer), Nuthatches in the trees and finally a Chaffinch (both new for the year).
Along the top path I found a small mixed tit and finch flock and totally by chance a small woodpecker - a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER no less.
This is a species which I have seen very rarely in the UK (probably only the third or fourth that I have actually seen in the UK). This is also a species which is not particularly that common in the County and is also a County tick for me.
I only managed to fire off a couple of record shots and will hopefully get something better later in the year - now I know that they are there!
I am particularly chuffed to get this species on the yearlist - especially on Day 2 of the year.
After the excitement of the woodpecker my son had a tumble and a quick trip to A&E was enforced upon us. Fortunately it turned out to be soft tissue damage and the visit to the hospital was not as painful as other occasions as we were in and out in 20 minutes! Hopefully he will learn not to walk while trying to spot gold daubloons with his pirate telescope! He should leave the gold standard spotting to Daddy!
Still managed to squeeze in a late afternoon trip to the Patchwork site - Willington Gravel Pits - although I did have to wade through the flooded track to access the site. Nothing particularly of note but at least I have some sightings to input on to the score sheet! Highlights include good numbers of Shoveler and Wigeon plus a single Goosander, Cetti's Warbler and a late Sparrowhawk back at the car. Hopefully the rain will stop at some point in 2014 and the water levels will drop slightly or my wader list will be very poor indeed!