I was still taking in the last of the Cornish scenery on the 13th December as Dan and I went on a brief drive up the road to Mylor Churchtown to collect seaweed for the allotments. This gave us the excuses to check out the Carrick Roads which rewarded us with a decent sized feeding flock of 35+ Black-necked Grebes (the largest single group I have seen to date!) I also managed to locate a single Slavonian Grebe amongst them. The rest was rather more distant but included a nice selection of 7 Red-breasted Mergansers (3 males), 2 Great Northern Divers a Razorbill feeding close offshore and 9 Common Scoter.
Dan had discovered a decent flock of 400+ Linnets earlier in the week so we decided on checking that out again. The walk to Gorrangoras from the bottom of Penryn yeilded a rather reduced flock of c.100 Linnet interspersed with Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and a hunting Sparrowhawk.
I managed to finish the day off at Mabe where we enjoyed a brief scan through the large flocks of Chaffinches and Linnets in search of Brambling but to no avail. It was time for me to head to Uni whilst Dan continued to the res's (were he later found a patch mega: Shelduck!)
The 14th was predominantly spent on the train back to London for the winter holidays. I rather enjoy passing through the Somerset Levels as the extensive rivers, marshes and arable fields host a massive amount of wildfowl (although not all are IDable from the train). The highlight was a rather conveniently obvious drake Goosander that was drifting up a stream somewhere in the middle of nowhere!
Back in Herts and it was straight out onto the Kings Langley patch on the 15th. Despite the rain and overcast conditions I took the long route down past Langley Lodge and back via Balls Pond Farm. 2 Yellowhammers were still hanging on but I was far happier to see good numbers of Fieldfare kicking about the area. Flocks of 30-50 birds seemed to be erupting from most woodland coppices! As I was heading back to Langley Lodge, a single flyover Raven cronked overhead and the usual Little Owl was in it's hollow sleeping.