A couple of Pied Wagtails and 8x Chaffinches were also flitting about. Walking through the yard and out into the stubble fields I picked out 23x Pheasants on the ground and disturbed 60+ Wood Pigeon and 5x Stock Dove, another tetrad tick (no. 42). These were quickly followed by a parcel of 12x Linnets (tetrad tick no. 43). I hoped for a Skylark or Meadow Pipit but they didn't show. Exploring the woodland edge I picked out a couple of Bullfinches, 8x Carrion Crow and more Woodpigeons. Then I heard a distant 'cronk' turning to the direction of the sound saw a Raven flying north over Hall Place. It 'cronked' on and off and I attempted a photo - similar situation to the Glossy Ibis - but you can clearly see what it is ;-) You all must think I have a collection of 'black smudge' photos that I draw on when ever I feel like an extraordinary patch tick - watch out for a Black Stork in the New Year! You know things are getting bad when I have to resort to the arrows!
Well could it get any better? Well yes, for me anyway, as I took the path back through the wood to Hall Place Farm I picked out a Treecreeper flitting along the rotting chestnut posts and then onto a Field Maple - another extraordinary record for me as I've not had one on patch or the immediate locality for over 4 years! This was of course needed for the Atlas tetrad but I'm not sure if it's number 44 or 45 as I'm not sure the Raven flyover counts for the tetrad? A couple of Goldcrests were in some the nearby ivy. I finally reached the Parish Playing Fields in Barming just before dusk and was met by 110+ Fieldfares, 30+ Redwings and 25+ Chaffinches. The birds took flight as I approached and I noticed one bird flying slightly differently to the others, silhouetted as it flew away from me and I wondered if this was my first patch Waxwing of the year?! I'll be out in those orchards tomorrow!