That is the amount of time I managed to spend birding this week. On Monday I went for a late afternoon walk from Folly Farm. There were a good number of birds around with the most interesting being a very noisy and mobile flock of corvids. In total over a thousand birds. They seemed unable to settle for long and were constantly moving from field to field. A flock of Yellowhammers numbered around twenty with a few Corn Buntings with them. A handful of Skylarks passed over and a Kestrel was hunting. Also of interest was the recent hedgelaying that has been carried out along the track. Nice to see the old country skills being used. It looks a little sparse now but will be good for next year.
Tuesday saw me at Coate Water. Best bird here was a female Stonechat. A dozen Snipe and three Meadow Pipits were also good. On the lakes were the usual waterbirds with at least a hundred Teal and probably the same amount of Tufted Ducks. Five Goosander were my first for this end of the year. A noisy group of Starlings was at the top of a tree and a couple of Roe Deer soon made off when they saw me approaching.
On Friday it was a brief visit to Barbury. After the large flocks on my last visit, this time was a lot quieter. Single Buzzard and Kestrel, a flock of thirty or more Yellowhammers at the base of the Castle and a hundred or more Chaffinches with a few more Yellowhammers feeding on spilt grain at one of the farms.
Today an hour in Savernake before shopping in Marlborough. As I turned off of the A4 into the forest a flock of small birds flew up from the leaf litter at the side of the track. I stopped and they flew back down and continued feeding. A good mix of species with Chaffinch, Blue, Great and Coal Tits and a couple of Robins and Blackbirds. No matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find a Brambling though. Having parked the car I set off along a fairly muddy track. Completely birdless to start until a flock of Long-tailed Tits moved through. As usual there were some hangers-on, Blue and Great Tits plus a pair of Bullfinches. I could hear Buzzard and Nuthatch calling but neither were seen. A Raven flew over continually cronking. Three Wrens were heard but not seen and a group of scolding Blackbird also remained unseen. More calling heralded the arrival of another flock of Long-tailed Tits. continually on the move again they bought in some other birds. This time three Goldcrests and two Treecreepers along with more Great, Blue and Coal Tits. Another pair of Bullfinch were found after I heard them calling. Then it was back to the car and off to Marlborough. On the way I saw a Jay and a circling Red Kite. To finish off the birds, along the Kennet in Marlborough were Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot and Moorhen.