On arrival at the Old Lodge NR car park, another birder informed me that he had seen 5 Common Redstarts, a Brambling, a Siskin and around 30 Crossbills, so Sue and I were optimistic that we were going to have a good visit.
Male COMMON REDSTART
(VIDEO) Male COMMON REDSTART
The brisk north-easterly wind certainly kept the air chilly and we struggled to find any good birds. We did manage a single male Common Redstart, singing on top of a tall dead tree, one Tree Pipit, 2 Woodlarks, 2 male and one female Stonechat, 3 Nuthatch and several Coal Tits, Goldcrest and a single Willow Warbler. No Brambling or Crossbills though and still no sign of any Dartford Warblers.
Amazingly, as we were about to return to the car park, fellow Holmethorpe birder Matt Farmer arrived with his wife and sister-in-law, so I hope they did better than we did.
On the drive home, a Common Buzzard was circling over a field near Edenbridge.
The rest of this week will probably be spent local patch birding at Holmethorpe Sand Pits near Redhill and I am hoping to connect with our first Yellow Wagtail of the year. Watch this space!