This morning I got my wife to drop me at Coate on her way to work and then walked home via the floodwater, both hides and then over the Curly-Wurly bridge and along the Old Railway Path. getting out of the car along Dayhouse Lane the first birds seen were a small flock of Linnets and a few Swallows and three House Martins around the stables at Coate Farmhouse. I had been hoping for a few Wagtails amongst the horses but there were only a few Starlings and corvids. On the floodwater were a few Canada Geese, four Lapwing and a Shelduck. The main interest was in the hedgerows with loads of Blackcaps, a few Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and a single Garden Warbler. A Cetti’s was heard from the second hide. On the lake were quite a few Tufted Ducks and a handful each of Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall. The Ruddy Shelduck appeared in flight being hotly pursued by an ordinary Shelduck, they completed a couple of circuits before heading off over the trees. A Common Tern perched on a dead tree on the far side of the lake was the first this year for me. Two Nuthatches were good to see and a Green Woodpecker was heard. A Song Thrush was belting it out from high in a tree by the path. On the south side of the motorway there were fewer birds but the abundance of Blackcaps continued. In the evening, myself Pete and John headed for the Kennet. First stop was the Wide Water at Chilton Foliat, pretty quiet here with a few Tufties, Gadwall and Mallard seen. A heron was perched on a tree and Little Grebes were conspicuous by their absence. Unsurprisingly at least three Blackcaps were noted. We then moved onto Knighton. Blackcap and Willow Warbler were quickly seen and Chiffchaff was heard. A Cetti’s briefly called and a Song Thrush was singing in the background. We crossed the river which as on my last visit was devoid of birds, later on Moorhen and Little Grebe were heard. There were very few birds on this side, Blackcap, Swallows and Kestrel were about all that we saw. The most interesting sighting here was a large beetle, Devils Coachman was suggested by John. Back on the northside I was going to stalk a Cetti’s but stopped when I found a Mute Swan nesting. We then settled down to wait for the main event, Grasshopper Warblers. Whilst waiting we were treated to flypasts by a couple of Canada Geese and a low-flying RAF Hercules that was heading for Brize Norton.
At around ten to eight I heard the first Gropper reeling. We then spent the next half-an-hour or so listening to three birds and getting brief views of two. In the background two more Cetti’s were calling, as usual heard but not seen. Also heard briefly was a Sedge Warbler. Heading home we took in a few local lanes but didn’t manage to find any Owls.