Urghhhhhh. I really can't stand the even-more-over-consumption-than-usual-fest that is 'Christmas,' nor getting bored stiff in other people's over-heated houses for hours on end. Not to mention the wall-to-wall rubbish on the telly.
I did my bit by visiting my brother and his family in the morning, counting 82 Wood Pigeon on or in the vicinity of Barnehurst Golf Course.
There was a Jay, 3 or 4 Long-tailed Tit, 2 pairs of Blackbirds and a Blue Tit in his garden on Mayplace Rd East.
A Mistle Thrush was in a tree in the grounds of Crayford Manor House.
Heading for the River Cray there were 12 Lapwing, 40 Starlings, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Long-tailed Tit and a Jay with an acorn in the St. Paulinus/Manor Rd. field.
There were 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Blackbirds, a small group of Chaffinch , Feral and Wood Pigeon and 3 Collared Doves along Footpath 106, where I managed to slip over on snow by now compacted to ice, bruising my elbow :-(
By the Maiden Lane bridge 2 Redwing - still few and far between around here at the moment - were in a bush, and 2 Great Tit were nearby.
3 Ring-necked Parakeets were chasing each other over the Willow Carr along By-way 105. A male Pochard - possibly the one that was around last winter - was on the river by the Thames Rd bridge in the company of a few Mallard. Then something of modest size came speeding towards me, low and straight under the bridge and upriver. It took me a moment or two to realise it was a Kingfisher, and I caught sight of a confirmatory flash of blue as it went past.
2 Goldfinch were around the Sewer Embankment. Not much was happening on Thames Road wetland which was completely frozen up. I was there long enough to see a Lapwing come down on the flat adjacent to Thames Road on two separate occasions. On the second I was close enough to see the bird actively foraging. It may or may not have been the same bird, as two had been doing some aerial 'combat' over the nearby park a short while earlier, and later on two were seen in the Council depot car park over the road. This is the first time I've seen the species actually using the site, rather than just flying over it.
A Wren and a Dunnock were observed in the bowl of the Wetland itself. A fly-over Cormorant was seen.
Three groups of Starlings were seen at the southern end of the marshes, the largest, of 37 birds, was over the Viridor site.
A couple of Teal were on Crayford Creek. I though of trying to make it to Moat Lane, but the light was fading and enough people had been along the path to ice it up under their footfall, so I took the safer option and headed back towards Thames Rd., lingering in the area where I saw the Bearded Tit last Friday. After a while 1 or 2 Bearded Tit were heard calling from the large embayed area of reed bed on the Dartford side. Although the sound appeared to be emanating from the margin of the bed near the water, it was now dusk, and try as I might, I couldn't see anything moving in the gloom.