As well as the usual tit's and finches we have been lucky enough to watch regular visits from Bullfinches, in Autumn we watched them from the living room windows as they fed on Honeysuckle berries and as the temperature has dropped we have been seeing them feeding on sunflower hearts from the bird feeders. In 2007 we witnessed a party of 6 birds visiting the garden and so far this year(2008) we have seen up to 5 birds in the garden. They seem to be doing quite well in this area maybe due to the hedgerows and orchards that a in the area, beautiful bird to see and they certainly brighten the dull winter days.
A Grey Heron was an unusual and added bonus for my garden list in mid-December, there are no large expanses of water in this area so I can only think that it was heading to somebody's pond as it headed south west over the garden. A pair of Pied Wagtails have returned as they do most winters often being seen on the roof tops. At least 6 Blackbirds are in the area defending their own small areas of hedgerow along Shogmoor Lane and despite only a small amount of Redwings being present the Blackbirds seem to have a monotony on most of the food rich environments. The local corvids are certainly on the look out for any free meals going and as soon as I've thrown out any left overs they are descending in to the garden, the record for a torn up sliced loaf of bread stands at 4 minutes 27 seconds mainly taken by Jackdaw and Magpie, the Crows and Rooks seem to get out numbered by the Jackdaws and the Magpies simply take advantage by grabbing as much as they can before retreating to a safe place to eat what they have taken. Both Little and Tawny Owl are present most days around the garden with the Little Owls already seemingly spending a lot of time together as a pair. Tawny Owls on the other hand can be heard calling at night obviously declaring their territory and a few occasions have been seen perched in the trees around the garden.
I presume that the local Kestrel population in the area has done quite well this year as I very rarely see less than 2 or 3 perched on telegraph poles and the surrounding country roads. A number of birds seem to favour certain posts and can almost be guaranteed to be seen, there is a good population of voles and mice around which will hopefully sustain their diet.
No signs of Redpoll, Brambling or Siskin in the area yet.