After a relatively mild December and early January Winter finally kicked in and has given us to date more than a week where temperatures have only just got above freezing during the day and downwards to Minus 7c at night !

Conningbrook main lake in Winter

Conningbrook Lake

Luckily I got a lift to the main entrance which enabled me a one way walk home around the Lakes and over the fields.
The lakes were 90% frozen over with just a little area of open water on the east side where a congregation of Swans, Canada Geese, some Shovelers, Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks and Mallards took shelter. Oh., plus the countless number of Coots needless to say!

Goldcrest at Conningbrook Lakes

Goldcrest looks at Camera
Keeping an eye on me !

The trees around the Lake, especially between the main lake and Eco Lake were well occupied by Goldfinches, Long Tailed Tits and Chaffinches busying themselves in a short spell of misty sunlight.
The Eco Lake was bare with not even a mandatory Little Egret or Heron to be seen. Apparently the Great White Egret was about but the fog over most of the area didn’t give a view of more than 50 meters or so.

Geese and Ducks share the frozen lake    Song-Thrush-on-fields
Cold birds stick together ! – The Song Thrush foraging the field

However, the area around the North Lake was quite bright. In the trees next to the Great Stour I thought I saw a Wren flitting about the branches. Upon a closer look I realised it was a Goldcrest acrobatically digging whatever he or she could from the bark of various branches.
I have to say I find these birds a real delight, the smallest European bird and weighing just under the weight of a 10p coin.

Wren in late afternoon Sun

Back over the Fields

The walk back over the fields didn’t produce much although I disturbed two Common Snipe who needless to say rushed out and flew off with great speed not allowing me to get a photograph.

It was only when I got near to home a few birds appeared; a Song Thrush in the field, a Wren on the Stream bank and a few Lapwings in the field.
It seemed the greatest number of birds about were actually in my Garden!

I’m off to Southampton at the end of the week so will try to take a few hours out and visit two of my favourite spots at Warsash and Hook, both where the Hamble River enters Southampton Water. Maybe an Owl, you never know !

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