With my wife and daughter due home this evening, after a few days at Euro Disney and it being the wife’s birthday tomorrow, I had quite a few things to do today . As always I managed to find some time for birds as well. First off was a trip to Marlborough for cake and cards. Routing via the back road to Ogbourne I was pleased to get my first Little Owl sighting of the year with two birds sat in their usual tree. I was getting a bit worried that they may have gone as I have visited the site at least six times recently without seeing them. Next was a stop at one of the flooded fields. Two hundred and forty-eight Lapwing, fifteen Golden Plover and four species of gull made it a worthwhile stop. On the way home a diversion through Ogbourne St Andrew was to check out the River Og. As with many of the rivers it was running fast and there were no birds to be seen.
Only one Swan in the fields beyond here, at the weekend there were ten. The flood water at Chiseldon held a few gulls and nothing else.
I then needed to go into Swindon and a look at Wroughton Reservoir on the way got nine Little Grebes along with Tufted Duck and Gadwall. Then came dog walking time with Barbury Castle the chosen place. With Stonechats seen earlier in the week I was hoping for the second year-tick of the day. Unfortunately there was no sign of them to the west of the castle which is the area they were previously seen. Rather than walk here I decided to go to Smeathes Ridge which is part of the Ridgeway east of the castle. Conditions were great with hardly any wind, sunshine and good visibility. A few birds around with Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit, Corn Bunting, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Collared Dove, Buzzard and Raven all recorded. Also seen were some impressive cloud formations.