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It was fairly quiet bird-wise on my first monthly visit to Cosmeston Lakes Country Park on 2 December, though there were still good numbers of the various thrushes (Mistle, Song, Redwing and Blackbird) around. A Great spotted woodpecker in the west paddock was a nice surprise – I initially thought it a Jay when I saw that peachy belly. The Tufted ducks amused, as always, and, while I sat watching them, the Brown rat I’d seen before at that particular spot came snuffling around for food. There were two more rats foraging by the boardwalk near the café.

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It’s a thrush takeover! On 6 December, I’d scarcely left the house to walk to Cosmeston than I was spotting Redwings, Song thrushes, and a Mistle thrush, plus Goldfinches and Chaffinches, in the trees just across the road. And when I got to Cosmeston it was more – much more – of the same, plus the first Fieldfares I’ve seen there. In Cogan Wood, the little birds were hungry so I shared my flapjack with them – there were even two Nuthatches and a half dozen Long-tailed tits picking up the crumbs on the ground. And the prize for the most colourful birds goes to the pair of Bullfinch that were munching on hogweed seeds.

On 15 December, I finally got a reasonable, though not brilliant photo of a Fieldfare – they are very skittish so it’s hard to get close to them. I finally found a spot behind the berry trees they were feasting in, then just had to be patient and wait for one to pop up to the top of a tree.

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In Cogan Wood, one of the resident Marsh tits popped out to say hello – first sighting I’ve had since earlier in the year as they seem to disappear during the breeding season. And there was a Stonechat at the top end of the west paddock. There had been a pair of Stonechats in that area in the autumn but they seemed to have disappeared when the park staff mowed that field, so it was good to see one there again.

Something else happened at Cossie during this visit, something that’s never happened to me before. A squirrel climbed up my leg, not once but four times – the first time it grabbed my finger, the second time it touched my camera. I didn’t have food but it obviously thought I did. It certainly made me laugh.