A day of Owls and Waders,

My Son is off on his travels with the Air Force again so I decided to go to Brize Norton to see his plane take off. It was an early start as he was due to leave at 06.40. As you may have noticed from earlier posts I am always happy to drive around the country lanes during the hours of darkness. My reward this morning was a total of four Barn Owls, three of them at new places for me. After seeing his plane take off (an hour and a half late) I headed back towards Lechlade for a bit more birding. A Merlin was on a roadside post just outside of Bampton and a large flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover (first of the year) near Kelmscott. A walk by the Thames at Buscot Weir gave nine Goosander and couple of Greenfinch. Over to Lechlade to check out the Swans was worthwhile with two Bewicks accompanying the 67 Mutes. It was still a bit early for Harriers but I headed home via the Coleshill Road anyway. Eight Hares, three Roe Deer and a Buzzard were my reward here.  Back at home I was clearing one of the bedrooms ready for decorating, regular checking of the front garden gave first a Greenfinch!! Since I said on Friday I haven’t seen one locally they have all decided to follow me around. The Redwing and Goldcrest again and then a superb Male Bullfinch which was only the second garden sighting in the twenty five years I have been in this house.                                                                                    Half one saw me heading out for lunch( a flask of soup and a sandwich). I had decided to go to the River Kennet at Chilton Foliat. This is always a good area during a freeze as many birds move to take advantage of the wide water by the road bridge and the many gravel bars a little way upstream.  It turned out to be a good choice with five Snipe and four Green Sandpipers on the gravel bars and three male Pintail and seven male Goosander on the wide water. Also seen were a good count of sixty-eight Gadwall, seven Little Grebe a Little Egret and the bonus bird, a Woodcock, another year tick. Another great lot of birds with four Barn Owls, five species of wader, two year ticks, a great garden sighting and all within a twenty mile radius of home.                                                                                 Okay it’s not as exciting as Norfolk but I still think our local birding is great.

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