After yesterday’s run around I had no desire to travel today. Also needing to keep things sweet at home. I am OK if I go out early and get home for ten o’clock so it was a quick walk at Coate. Well worthwhile with my first Snipe of the year. A Water Rail was squealing in the reeds and, as usual, that it where it stayed. A Green Woodpecker was more obliging. All of the regular stuff on the water although only five Goosander. I spent a few minutes looking for the Bittern but no sign, however there was a bonus with a very smart Yellow Legged Gull. A small flock of around a dozen Redpoll was also a nice surprise.
In the afternoon a family trip to Barbury Castle to walk the dog. Not much around with three Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel, plus small flocks of House Sparrow and Linnet. On the way home, just at the bottom of the hill was a superb male Merlin sat in a bush right by the road.
Back at home I gave the top of Liddington Hill a quick scan for raptors, nothing seen there but did see a Sparrowhawk arrive in the front garden. It stayed about a minute before flying off.
A good end to a great weekend of birding.