9th January

So that's the new year well and truly under way now. As is so often the case in January the river has burst it's banks and we're in "semi-lake mode" with just a thin strip of land between the river and the main floods - regular readers will know that that this is my favourite flood configuration. It's always nice to be starting the Patch Year List again, the one time in the year when the common species are actively sought and and appreciated when they're found. So far there have been a few good things to report: the RUFF made it until at least dawn on New Year's Day when Tom Wickens (on an early morning yomp along the river) managed to spot them though they've not been seen since. The BARNACLE GEESE have been around as well though they've not been seen for the last few days. Tom Evans managed to find a real patch rarity in the form of a WOODCOCK that he flushed from the Trap Grounds; he also added WATER RAIL to the list from the same location. Meanwhile Steve Goddard up in Wolvercote has managed to get us MARSH TIT already - another hard to come by species for the Patch.

With the floods so large we've got lots of duck around at present including at least 10 PINTAIL, one SHELDUCK and also reasonable counts of GOOSANDER coming in to roost. We've also got five REDSHANK along the river once again. It's amazing how each winter we always have exactly five of this species along the river. I don't know if it's the same birds each year or if there's some self-imposed Redshank quota the prohibits any more than this but it's quite uncanny! We're attracting reasonable numbers of gulls to the floods each evening but so far just a single YELLOW-LEGGED GULL has been the only bird of interest. It's a good time of year for Caspians and there are also White-wingers to look out for now.

There are quite a few Lapwings on the floods at present

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