Started in the fog, ended in the dark

My intention had been to go out at first light this morning but in the end, even though my wife went off to a car boot sale at half-six, a warm bed won the contest. I eventually arrived at the Water Park at just gone nine. I turned onto the Spine Road in quite thick fog but fortunately it cleared a little further along. Very Why it should only have been at the northern end I have no idea. I only planned to stay for a couple of hours so just had quick looks at three or four sites. There were good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing around, Song and Mistle Thrush were also seen as were Reed Bunting and Goldcrest. Five Skylark were flying around at Kent End as I drove by and a couple of Curlew were amongst the Cormorants on Lake 74. Three Green Sandpipers and several Pied Wagtails were on the flooded fields at Waterhay. Best bird of the morning was a Jack Snipe, only the third I have ever seen.  The Jack Snipe was species number 211 for the year, my best ever. It was also 159 for Wiltshire, which equals my previous highest total. When I arrive home I was greeted by dozens of Hoverflies making the most of the sunshine and the flowers on the Ivy that cloaks my garage. Final outing for the weekend was a late afternoon visit to the far hide at Coate Water. I was hoping to see a Water Rail which would up my Wiltshire total to a record 160. However, as on many previous occasions this year, they were heard but not seen. I did see my first Goosander of the winter along with a Kingfisher and three Little Grebes. Plenty of Ducks around with Teal, Tufted, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler and Mallard all noted. I left the hide in the dark to the sound of the alarm calls of probably half-a-dozen Blackbirds. I have no idea of what was bothering them but they were certainly agitated.

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