One Species Per Mile

A combination of domestic duties and the weather forecast forced a change of plan from the afternoon WOS walk at Bradford-on-Avon to a long morning of birding based around Savernake and the Kennet valley. Pete and I set out at eight and started with a drive along the Grand Avenue where we were rewarded with a great view of two male Fallow Deer that walked across the road in front of us Both had good sets of antlers. Our first stop was at St Katherines where some patient watching amassed eighteen species including Siskin, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Redwing, Greenfinch and Jay. Also seen here were two Red Kites lazily drifting low across a field. Onto Chisbury Wood which was very quiet, Although a flyover Raven was a good sighting, this being our sixth type of corvid for the morning. Apart from that only Great-spotted Woodpecker was added to the day-list and a small mixed flock which included both Treecreeper and Nuthatch greeted us as we arrived back at the car. Then it was a change of habitat with a short walk along a fast flowing Kennet & Avon Canal to an overflowing Wilton Water. The highlight here was a count of seventeen Little Grebe, another (of at least nine for the trip) Red Kite, and the first of only two Buzzards. Heading on we found a couple of flocks of Fieldfare, at Froxfield a handful of Teal and a couple more Red Kite. Little Grebe, Gadwall, Heron and Cormorant at Chilton Foliat and at Stitchcombe a family group of nine Mute Swans along with another Little Grebe and a couple of Cormorants overhead. The final site visited was a farmland site on the Marlborough Downs near to the Ogbournes. Here we were treated to plenty of small birds including at least thirty-five Corn Buntings lined up on some overhead wires, House and Tree Sparrows plus Yellowhammers, Linnets, Chaffinches and Greenfinches in varying numbers. Final bird seen back at Chiseldon was a Goldfinch bringing the overall tally to a very respectable fifty-one species over a fifty mile drive.

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