Seven Days and a Boycott Century

I am still struggling to get my birding year going, in the words of my wife “I am just not feeling it at the moment”. However there have been a few moments over the last week. The first was a Barn Owl riskily hunting the verge alongside the A350 at Lacock early on Friday morning. A perilous thing to do as shown by the sighting of a dead one alongside the A421 near to Bicester on Wednesday. Saturday morning found me in Savernake Forest after a bit of shopping in Marlborough. I recently read somewhere that Blue Tit numbers were well down, not in Savernake they weren’t as it seemed that every other bird seen was one. A Grey Heron at Thornhill pond was a surprise, I don’t think I have seen one on the ground in the forest before. ALso of interest was the number of Bullfinches seen, at least a dozen were noted. I have noticed elsewhere that they to seem to be around in good numbers this winter. For Sunday, somewhat rashly I had volunteered to drive a minibus full of members of the Delta Reds Netball Team (including my wife I should add) to Wembley to watch England in the Quad Series. After dropping them off I headed for the WWT centre at Barnes to pass the time until I needed to pick them up. A worthwhile visit with good views of two Bittern and a Caspian Gull which was a lifer for me. Several Snipe and Pintail were noted but the Water Pipit couldn’t be found. Yesterday afternoon I took the dog for a walk along the Railway Path. A good few birds around with another three Bullfinches being the best. This afternoon a walk with the dog in the Hackpen area got me up to one hundred species for the year. My slowest century for a good few years. The fact that eighty-six of these have been in Wiltshire shows how little travelling I have done so far. Still it was a good bird that got me there, a Tree Sparrow. Two more Bullfinches were seen but better than that three Greenfinches also. I have now seen a grand total of five this year. A good few Raptors about with Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrels seen in various numbers. I have noticed over the last few mornings the increasing number of Song Thrushes singing, a sign that Spring is not that far away maybe. All being well the plan is for a few hours at the Water Park tomorrow so hopefully a good day-list will be had.

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