Highway Birding

As with many of you I spend a fair bit of time travelling on the highways and byways of this fair land. From a birding point of view a good variety of species can be seen. Kestrels, although not as common as they used to be are still regular and Buzzards now seem to be everywhere. If you head east along the M4 and along the M40 corridor in Oxfordshire the numbers of Red Kites seen is amazing. The other day I saw more than a dozen within a mile. Corvids live well on roadkill Gulls, Lapwing, Golden Plover and winter thrushes are seen in the roadside fields as are Herons and Little Egrets. Jays and Woodpeckers fly across the carriageways as do suicidal Pheasants and Wood Pigeons. Where there are lakes Wildfowl can be added to the list. Less usual sightings have been a Kingfisher that flew low across the M5 where the King Sedgemoor Drain goes under the road, Egyptian Geese by the M4 at Maidenhead and in Scotland a stop in one particular layby on the A74 usually got a Dipper. However on Sunday I had what was probably my strangest sighting ever, a Muscovy Duck making its way, on foot along the verge of the A38 in Devon. It was in the middle of nowhere, no farm or any water to be seen. Where had it come from and where was it headed I shall never know.

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