A perilous cross-country drive to Sedlescombe through frost hollows with hoary-headed hedgerows and frappuccino junctions.
In the 2-hour survey between there and Whatlington I found 37 species, mostly predictable from my Early Visit in November but with some interesting changes due to the cold weather.
The only truly unexpected thing was a flock of 70 Linnets sitting in a hedge right by the side of the busy A21.
Most Linnets leave us in the winter, sensibly heading into S Europe to return in mid-March, but here some strips of birdfood or game cover had encouraged them to stick around, along with 20 Chaffinches (otherwise very scarce along my route). I saw 3 each of Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll, 2 of the latter at a garden feeder.
Blue & Great Tits were present in double their previous numbers(20/38 & 17/45 respectively), and not only around feeders (which did concentrate House Sparrows, however).
In spite of the cold, many springs were contributing to soggy ditches which should have been ideal for Woodcock, which have been seen everywhere recently. But not here. Nor were there any Grey Wagtails. Do they repair to warmer town centres in these conditions? They are certainly regular on rooftops in Hastings and Bexhill, but apparently are never found sharing communal roosts with Pied Wagtails. So where do they sleep?
Blackbirds were well-represented (17/30), but Song Thrushes were present mostly down in stream gulleys, along with Wrens, or around gardens. Redwings were mostly feeding from roadside hollies.
Nuthatches were madly noisy and a Stock Dove was calling in Sedlescombe churchyard.
See more pictures on RXbirdwalks