You wouldn't know that Banstead was covered in snow just a couple of days ago. The patch has transformed from an open, white and largely birdless expanse into a slightly warmer and very wet farm, with a few more birds. Thrush numbers started to increase again as soon as the snow started to expose the fields again and today I found a single Golden Plover in Skylark Field (I also had a brief arse-end of a flock of six probables flying over on Saturday). In my first three years of patching, on-the-deck records of Golden Plover numbered two (both concerning singles), so this year has been quite remarkable with a flock of eleven which apparently turned into twenty, and two singles - and all these birds have been in Skylark Field (which also happens to be where most Lapwings have been landing recently). I'm yearning for spring to come; the extra few degrees and the introduction of the songs of Chaffinches, Song Thrushes and Great Tits to the airwaves are reminding me of the warm bird-filled days which are fewer weeks away than the number of fingers on my hands. One of the first earlier signs of spring at the patch is the way that Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers suddenly become noticeable, normally from mid-February. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing them soon.