I needed to go to Marlborough today so decided to make it part of a “beef up my Wilts year list” drive around. So with no real itinerary other than going into Marlborough I started off on the back road from Chiseldon to Ogbourne. On a flooded field at Draycot there were four species of Gulls, Pied Wagtail, Starling and Fieldfare along with three species of corvids. Next stop was Ogbourne St Andrew where I found a mixed flock of Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Linnet along with a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Also here, as usual was a flock of Feral
Pigeons. Also seen here were the first of many Buzzards. After Marlborough I headed into Savernake where I parked by the Column. Loads of Coal and Blue Tits around and Marsh Tit was heard but not seen. A pair of Bullfinches flew in and a flock of Chaffinches passed through. Interesting to see that the pond here has been cleared and the surrounding vegetation cut back. Four or five Jays were appeared and also a Goldcrest. Heading out along the Grand Avenue I had a golden moment when I found, at the southern end a mixed flock of Chaffinch and Brambling. These had been reported here last week so is a worthwhile area to check out. While I was watching them I also had another Woodpecker, two Nuthatch and a Treecreeper.
I had intended going to St Katherine’s next but gave it a miss and headed straight to Froxfield. Just a couple of Moorhen and three decoy ducks on the pond / lake. Not sure which it is really. However a little way along the stream were eight Little Egrets, a Heron, three Lapwing and half-a dozen Swans.
Unfortunately no Green Sandpipers which was a surprise as they have been regular here over the last couple of months. Then it was onto Chilton Foliat. First call was the footbridge over the Kennet where the water isn’t that far below the walkway. With the River running high and fast there were only a handful of birds on the water, two each of Coot and Mallard and a single Little Grebe. On a gravel bank downstream were a few Gadwall. Alarm calls from the small birds heralded the arrival of a Sparrowhawk that shot through the trees in hot pursuit of a small bird. They disappeared over the fence of a nearby house so not sure who won.
A couple more Nuthatches were also seen here along with the first Red Kite of the day. Moving on to the Wide Water by the road bridge and I was amazed to see absolutely no birds at all on the water. I have been stopping off here for years and this is the first time that I have seen it like this. After a couple of minutes watching I did see a Little Grebe moving along the edge of the reeds but that was it. A little further upstream, in another flooded field near Ramsbury Manor was a flock of Canada Geese along with a couple of Greylags. Heading back across Aldbourne Chase a Red-legged Partridge was the fiftieth and as it turned out the final species of the day. The Draycot Little Owl tree was checked out to no avail and along the Hodson Road I found about fifty Lapwings but no Golden Plover. So a very enjoyable drive around ended with three-year ticks and nine for Wilts.