Pre-dawn in December. Two degrees below freezing and the light is similarly cold and blue:
I have three species in mind: Lapwing, Peregrine and Little Owl. All have been recorded every year since 2008, but I have not seen a single individual of any of these species this year. There are 18 days remaining. Little Owl is a long shot, since their breeding tree was felled early this year, the resident pair appear to have deserted the area. Peregrine is recorded in Cuddesdon a few times every winter. Lapwing can be abundant, I can't account for the absence of this species, when there are several thousand at Otmoor, a few miles away. Perhaps it is just too dry here at the moment?
What are the chances of coming across one of the missing three species in a rapid pre-sunrise visit this morning? Incredibly, I am still in the first field when I spot a falcon powering its way north: a Peregrine! Species number 90 for the year, over 200 long days since the last addition to the patch list:
There was little else to report. Small numbers of winter thrushes feed in the fields, there were no Snipe in the marsh, a few gulls passed over. All the interest, and all the light, was in the heavens:
Moon, Woodpigeon, eclipse:
90 species for the year. How high can I go. 91, perhaps? My kingdom for a Lapwing.