Much of my birding is done on the local patch, which is mainly Bockhill Farm and the area back from there to the village. The one habitat we are missing in this area is a "wetland". This is a bit strange as the sea is on the east side of the area, but it is fresh water, or even salt marsh that we lack.
The nearest thing we have to a fresh water pond on the farm is this ugly concrete sump. about 8 metres square. Most of the winter it has some water i it and puddles remain throughout most of the year, except if we have a particularly dry period. Outside the winter the dampness of the area is an attraction for insects and therefore for insectivorous birds.
At this time of year a few birds do come down to drink, today I watched a Robin, a Dunnock and a Wren come down to drink in the muddy corners. Of course being surrounded by trees and with concrete walls the bottom is dark, even in the sunshine.
Several Blackbirds also dropped in, and as usual seemed to find untidy leaves more than they could bear, tossing them out of the way before the drank. Back in Oct 1998, if you'd sat quietly where I was today there was a good chance on the 18th and 19th that you'd have seen a major rarity, a Red-flanked Bluetail, that inhabited the little wood (now known as Bluetail Wood) during its stay.
When I got home there was a Herring Gull sitting on the vent by our chimney. I do hope that it isn't thinking of setting up house there. They can be a bit of a nuisance, being very territorial. In addition it might cause a bit of conflict with the Great Spotted Woodpecker that uses it to drum on in the spring. This of course might be a blessing, but overall I quite enjoy the early alarm drumming.
Across the road Foxley is just about finished, and Gloria and Tim came over to say that the house sing that Pam made for the house warming was now fixed in place.