As yesterday evening was clear and the moon was up I headed out for an owl drive. My route was the back road to Marlborough then through Savernake along the lanes to Chilton Foliat, then Aldbourne, Wanborough and home. Unfortunately nobody told the owls that I was out and the only one seen was a Tawny in Savernake. I had a good view of it though as it flew up from alongside the Grand Avenue carrying what appeared to be a mouse or vole in its beak. There were things to see though with plenty of Rabbits, two Roe Deer, one of which had a fine set of antlers and singles of Muntjac and Hare. This morning I was up fairly early having woken to hear quite a few Canada Geese flying over the house. They were heading south presumably having roosted at Coate. This afternoon at just gone five I saw several heading back the other way. Back to this morning which saw me going for a walk from Folly Farm
up to the Ridgeway. The sun was causing a bit of a problem as it appeared over the hill. Anything ahead of me was either silhouetted or impossible to see. First birds heard were Mistle thrush with three being seen and then a singing Corn Bunting. Walking along the track to the copse I saw a few more Buntings, Yellowhammer, Linnet and Goldfinch. At the copse were Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and Great and Blue Tits. Moving on and heading directly into the sun there were a lot of birds in the hedgerow. Mainly small stuff but three of Blackbird size flew up, luckily one headed across the field away from the sun allowing me to identify it as a Ring Ouzel. Probably the other two were as well but I could not relocate them to confirm. Up nearer the Ridgeway I crossed a field flushing at least thirty Skylarks which flew up and around calling before landing again further along the field. Several more were seen as I walked on.From the Ridgeway and looking east all of the valleys were filled with low-lying mist. A flock of Fieldfare passed through with a good couple of hundred birds with several landing in the trees. Gulls were drifting over as did two Buzzards and a Kestrel. Retracing my steps a scan of the fenceline found three Stonechats.
There was a male and two females which I watched for a few minutes as they moved along ahead of me. The only other addition to the walk list of twenty-six was a Red Kite that flew along the ridge. Back at home, I was sitting out in the sun having my lunchwhen a Red Kite appeared overhead, seeing that I had smoked salmon in my sandwich it soon moved on. A trip to drop some stuff off at the Prospect Hospice gave me a chance to stop at Wroughton Reservoir. Seven Little Grebes, six Mallard, three Gadwall, two each of Tufted Duck and Mute Swan along with Moorhen, Coot and a flyover Green woodpecker were seen. There was no sign of the Lapwings in the fields at Hodson after seeing a hundred or so yesterday.