There'd a been a decent frost overnight and a keen wind was blowing from the North and East. I arrived in bright sunshine under a sparkling blue early winter sky, hopped over the style onto the public footpath and immediately picked up 2 Goldcrest feeding in some tall willow trees.
There was also a small mixed flock of Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit and 2 more Goldcrest. A promising start! Frosty in the shadows, the sun had some warmth to it and the willow were brightly illuminated. A Tree Creeper started calling in a nearby Oak tree and then a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew through. But where was the YBW? I didn't have long to wait. Suddenly and joining the first 2 Goldcrest I latched onto a 3rd bird. I've seen so many wonderful photos of this little sprite on twitter this autumn but it was brilliant to finally get my first clear view of a Yellow Browed Warbler. I followed its progress through the trees for a minute or so and then just as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone. I spent another hour or so trying to refind it but only saw the bird once more for a few seconds, in the same tree as the first sighting. Didn't manage any photos but a really great few moments with this lovely visitor.
Also present at the ponds was this femail Tufted Duck together with friends:
I got a text from Steve W saying that there was a super male Black Redstart along the seafront at Seaton. I'd been lucky enough to see the gorgeous male last winter at Seaton bowling green and also a nice male at Seaton Hole. Don't know why but I do love Black Redstarts. Anyway I had a good look along the seafront but couldn't find the bird so I decided to take a quick look around the Yachtclub on my way home. I jumped into the car drove 200yds and slammed on the brakes (checking my mirror first obvs). In the front garden of some houses and feeding with a couple of Pied Wagtail was a different Black Redstart. Here's a few pics, which is clearly not the same bird as Steve's. Always nice to see.
On the estuary it was nice to see a flock of 32 Dunlin. All in all, a lovely early winter birding jaunt off patch.