Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 18th January:-
330 Black-headed gulls, 190 Coots and 55 Mute Swans were record numbers for January, continuing the trend last year. Another record was the 10 Gadwall on the Lake, the previous highest being four in April last year and the 15 Pochards were the second highest January count. The Gulls feed mainly on grassland, using the Lake to rest up safe from disturbance, but the other four species feed on the weed in the Lake. There’s plenty of Rigid Hornwort in the Lake, and it’s possible that this has increased recently, providing more food for the birds. Having arrived 15 years ago, Greylags continue their increase, again outnumbering the Canada Geese. Resident birds are beginning to sing. A single Song Thrush is still singing in Ashen Grove Wood. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are drumming both there and in Horse Close Wood. Green Wood Peckers on the golf course are yaffling. Blue tits, Great tits, Goldfinches, Robins, Woodpigeons and Wrens are also singing. Some of the planted daffodils are in bloom and the Bluebell leaves are poking through.