The Christmas break started in fine style with me seeing several avian goodies around the local patch area today with quartets seen of both Woodcock & Firecrest! This afternoon, a walk around the Fallowfields waste ground just east of Parkhill hotel, revealed a brace of Woodcock, firstly one was flushed at 3.20pm in the middle of the area and it flew west towards Parkhill Hotel grounds. The second bird (& 4th of the day!) was flushed five minutes later close to the wall and simply flew over to the Hotel grounds. Finally, a Redwing flew from Parkhill hotel onto Fallowfields.
This morning, starting behind the Oval & the N. Denes and initially seeing very little save for the usual flock of Black- headed Gulls on Link's Rd car park. The flock was over 100 strong with 4 Common Gulls and 5 Herring Gulls. At first, Warren House Wood was disappointing but a second look revealed the hoarser call of a Firecrest roughly in the middle of the wood which betrayed the presence of 3 birds, but they were very, very elusive. After an hour I had only seen brief glimpses of shapes in the foliage and had it not been for the calls I wouldn't have been able to ID them at all.
Walking up the bank just south of the Wood, on a hunch it might be a good area to explore and no sooner was I peering down into the back garden of 100A Corton Road, than an excellent Woodcock at 10.05am flew up suddenly from the ground and flew over and down towards WH Wood.
Retracing my steps I then clambered up the bank to the old Toilet block bordering Link's Rd itself and again flushed another excellent Woodcock at 10.15am which flew low wheeling round over the green area and then again flying over and down into WH Wood.
In Sparrow's Nest at the top, near the steps a Firecrest (also 4th of the day!) showed very well briefly and in the trees and bushes at the top of the bowling green a Redwing perched up briefly.
In Arnold's Walk, a Goldcrest, surprisingly a rare sight this autumn flew south over the path near the apple tree.
Back at the Oval on the grass in the south-west corner a female Green Woodpecker flew out and spent some time probing the lawn here.