My continued belief that constant local birding will bring forth rewards was sorely tested today. The low cloud, dull light and damp chill all conspired to make it feel as if I were birding inside a grey, soulless and birdless bauble. Places from where I can usually gain some compensation from the views on offer didn't even deliver, mainly down to the flat light and misty horizon. Passerines were lacking and the optics had to largely make do with a diet of corvids and pigeons - even the gulls have largely gone.
The pair of Lapwings on Walton Downs are still around - one bird was standing alert in a large field that slopes away westwards, hiding at least a third of the ground from view. There have been up to five pairs here in previous years and the fact that two birds have been present over the past three weeks bodes well for a species that is locally a rare breeder.
Canons Farm was largely a migrant free zone - no Wheatears (even though the fields look good for them), no warblers and no hirundines. A flock of 200 Linnets using Quail/Skylark/Tart's Fields were good value. It was not until early afternoon that the day gave me some reward when a smart male Brambling called from the front gardens of Reeds Rest Cottages - species number 78 in the 2015 patch challenge. This is my first local record since last autumn.
One can only hope that the winds and weather pattern will soon change, that the migrants will start to flow and we can, at long last, put away the hat and gloves.