What a sensational morning! A report of an Arctic Redpoll in Lord's Holt was the lure. But the sights and sounds from the South Bank of the Nene Washes west of Eldernell were more than adequate compensation for the non-showing finch.
A Barn Owl had already shown well at the playing field on Eldernell Lane and another then flew over the carpark carrying what looked like a small bird - perhaps a Reed Bunting.
Bewick's Swans were already leaving the roost area and flying east past the carpark in small flocks before dawn and in the half light a couple of Black Swans passed with them. Then I noticed two geese heading straight for me and got the scope on them. I thought they were Pink-footed Geese at first but as the sun rose behind me I could clearly see the upperwings were largely dark and they were in fact Bean Geese. Watching one very closely revealed a limited pale band on the bill indicating these were probably of the Tundra race (rossicus). This is another welcome addition to my list of PBC area finds.
Shortly after Weedon's World of Nature arrived also drawn by the Arctic Redpoll report and I called him over to see a herd of 5 Roe Deer I had just noticed distantly over on the north side of the washes just west of The Decoy Wood. One of them was a stag with a full set of antlers.
There were still at least 40 Whooper Swans there by the time we reached the floods where I had brief views of a Water Pipit and a Stonechat before we turned our attentions back to the wood. Further highlights included the noisy threesome of two males and a female Great Spotted Woodpeckers in Lord's Holt and the calls of the Swans as they continued to leave the roost for about 2 hours.
In the end only 5 Lesser Redpolls showed in the Holt and they didn't stay long.
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Digiscoped with Nikon Coolpix 995 handheld to 20x eyepiece of Leica APO77