Hungerford and the Plain

A trip to Hungerford this morning to get the car serviced. It works quite well as I drop the car then go for a walk through Freemans Marsh to Cobbs Farm Shop and then walk back into the town along the canal. The walk starts at the canal bridge in the town, then along the towpath to cross at the first swing bridge by the church. Ten follow the path onto Freemans Marsh. It was pretty cold, -2 when I started and they weren’t many birds around. Wrens, and Robins were the first seen along with a few Goldfinch and Chaffinch. It livened up a bit with several Fieldfare and Redwing about along with single Song Thrush and Bullfinch. The river has split into two along here and the path runs alongside one part. Just Moorhen seen along here but on reaching the bridge over the other part a Little Egret flew up and a Kingfisher was sitting in a bush from where it dived into the river before flying off. Presumably it had caught something. A small flock of Lapwing passed overhead, a Reed bunting was calling and another flock of Goldfinch were feeding in some Alders. A good scan of them picked up a couple of Siskin. After a wander around the Farm Shop where I was tempted but did not succumb it was over to the canal for the walk back. A calling Kingfisher shot along the canal closely followed by another. One of them obligingly perched in a bush allowing me to get some reasonable pictures. Whilst here I got a brief glimpse of a Cetti’s as it shot into the reeds.

With the car now ready it was back to the garage to collect it and then a drive down to Salisbury Plain. Merlin was the target bird and I was very lucky to find one fairly quickly. It gave good views perched atop a bush before flying along the track. It briefly landed on the track before flying off out of sight. A couple of Kestrels and Stonechat were the best of the rest with no sign of any Hen Harriers. Also noted were some fair sized flocks of Starlings.

On the drive back I saw a couple of Rd Kites and Buzzards to add to the reasonable day-list.

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