With being ill and doing work over the last week yesterday was the first time I had been outside this year!
Throughout the week I have added Jackdaw, Sparrowhawk, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Coal Tit and Wren to the patch list as they were in my garden at various times.
Yesterday lunchtime I went off to West Hartford via the Horton Burn where four Snipe were flushed and a pair of Bullfinch fed in the trees. A few Common Gull were flying around also.
Further along, single Redwing and fieldfare showed well.
West Hartford was very quiet when me and my friend ( Simon) arrived but things soon picked up when 5 Greylags flew over followed by three drake Goldeneye.
A Reed Bunting was calling from the back field as was a Stonechat.
After initially checking the main pool which is completely frozen, I noticed something small in the south west corner on the ice.
At first I thought it was a Snipe or Woodcock but as we got closer it was smaller but to crouched down to see what it was.
I thought if it was a snipe it would fly off if we got closer so simon walked towards it. The ice was so thick it wasn't going to crack so I followed him and we stopped with the bird at our feet.
It turned out to be a Water Rail which was trying to probe the ice with its beak, I though it was injured as it wasn't bothered by us standing over it but after a minute long Mexican stand off it ran across the ice into the cover of the frozen marshy field. It stood from the edge of the field and watched us as we went back.
It was amazing to see this notoriously shy bird so close, it would probably be better if it followed the snipe to Horton Burn as it is guarenteed flowing water and food.