It had just started to drizzle when I left home yesterday evening for a quick walk through the park but, despite the weather, there were still some very nice birds about. A Barn Owl was sitting on the fence just inside the back gate and preceded me all the way down the shelter belt to the lake – it was there again on my way home. The water is rapidly draining from the water meadow, where there was the usual handful of Teal, Moorhen and the pair of Oystercatcher. The Goldeneye was still on the lake but no sign of the male Shoveler. A pair of Mandarin were being their usual secretive selves. As I headed for home five noisy Egyptian Geese flew in and the lone Little Owl was rather pathetically calling from the opposite oaks for a mate – his previous partner having been taken by a Sparrowhawk some weeks ago. Several singing Chiffchaff accompanied me on my way back through the shelter belt. Still no sign of any real migration but reports from Europe and North Africa suggest that birds have been held up on the return journey north, and many may still be in their wintering quarters.