A Day on the Plain

Pete and I had planned to go on the WOS walk on the Imber Ranges. But with the forecast for Wednesday  looking pretty grim we decided to go today instead. Arriving from the eastern access point to SPTA W we drove right across to Warminster and then worked our way back. One of the first birds seen was a Stonechat. There were plenty of corvids around including a flyover Raven. Two more Ravens gave better views near to the Tank Wash at the Warminster end. A Sparrowhawk was circling and Buzzard and Kestrel were seen. While scanning the ranges I found  bird perched on a fence about two miles away. Wishful thinking said Short-eared Owl but eventually we agreed that it was another Buzzard. Approaching Imber village a flock of more than two hundred Golden Plover flew over. In the village itself a flock of small bids contained Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits along with a couple each of Nuthatch and Goldcrest. A drive along the American Road found flocks of Fieldfare and Starlings and we heard a Green Woodpecker. Big list total are not expected on the Plain but we had now reached the dizzy height of twenty-seven species. As always it wa interesting seeing the old tanks and the deserted buildings in Imber village. Unfortunately the hoped for Hen Harrier still hadn’t been found. We then decided to head east, crossing the A360 to drive the  northern perimeter road of the Central part of the Plain. Our plan was to park near to the Redhorn Vedette to view the ranges, hopefully finding the elusive Hen Harrier and also Short-eared Owl. More Fieldfare and Starlings were seen along with a few Chaffinches and loads more Corvids. Turning south at Redhorn a Barn Owl was hunting. We watched it on and off for almost an hour while we were scanning the area. It didn’t appear to catch any prey but was frequently mobbed by a pair of Crows. At four o’clock we called it a day and headed for home. Another Barn Owl was hunting alongside the track and as we dropped down toward Upavon there was a flock of several hundred Rooks and Jackdaws. In all a very enjoyable day with twenty-nine species seen.

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