I have to apologise for my initial cynicism about entering the London Birders Patchlisting competition. My patch isn't the birdless desert I thought it was going to be. I suspect at least some of this is down to the cold snap we're experiencing.
Rewind to Friday morning. My mobile started ringing before it was properly light, and I sortied in the slippery skiff of snow on the instruction of Max who had "found me a tick" but wouldn't divulge what it might be. I ran to the park expecting that whatever it might be might fly off before I arrived.
I really needn't have worried. On arrival, in all it's cryptic glory, was a female Pheasant. She was feeding in the frost on an area of rough ground near the bowling green. Totally bizarre. Now, as far as I'm aware there wouldn't be any Pheasants in the UK if it wan't for the shoots, and the nearest stocked area (worked out on back of fag-packet) must be at least 7 miles away as the gamebird flies - across featureless concrete. I've no idea how she came to be there, or where she is now (she disappeared later the same day - a victim of the local foxes I'll wager).
Tuesday morning I found a pair of uncharacteristically confiding Redwing in the park. They are still there today and I plan to wander over with the camera in a little while and take some footage. Patchlist total: 22.