I love these cloudless crisp autumnal like mornings, not the very least because I can see the cobwebs before I walk into them! Up with the Larks as they say, pity there aren't any around at the moment, and I decided to take a pre-dawn look around the marina before heading off to Napton Hill, staying local today.
As I set foot off the boat the first thing to hit was the stiff northerly breeze which made my decision to wear fleece, gloves and hat a wise one. The waning moon was still pretty high up and the Draycote Reservoir Gulls were already starting to pass overhead on route to their feeding grounds as the sun was about to rise. I checked the adjacent fields and had good views of Barn Owl which regularly quarters them, our resident Little Owls were also calling but quite distant this morning. Our roosting Pied Wagtails were already out and about and I counted around 30 as I made my way to the top carpark. Reed Bunting are still around in the surrounding Phragmites but today there was no sign of Sedge Warbler, which I think may now have departed south.
The walk around the church yard at Napton had good numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler once again, around 20 feeding in the surrounding trees, amongst them were 2 Goldcrest. I took the walk up to the windmill, having a good scan of 'Big Field' on route and located the usual roosting Buzzard on a distant fence plus Mistle Thrush, and with the weather being so crystal clear had some glorious views of the surrounding counties when I finally emerged at the top. I was also somewhat amazed to see a chap flying a para-glider this early in the morning which came overhead before heading off towards Coventry.
Great Spotted Woodpecker, Linnet, Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Blackcap and Goldfinch were all noted and as I reached the bottom overlooking the quarry area 2 Raven came cronking overhead. At the bottom of the waste ground a small flooded area has appeared and I was happy to see 2 Snipe feeding near the edge, a further scan also produced 2 Yellow Wagtail which flew as soon as I made contact. At least 4 Kestrel were hunting the area around the canal and a Buzzard also came gliding across but didn't seem too interested in the hunt.
On my trip back up the hill to the windmill I noticed some Badger activity down below, but the best of the day was when I reached the top once more, and looking across a final time noticed a Red Kite heading across from the Napton Reservoir direction, looking stunning in the bright sunshine. Sadly no sign of any Spotted Flycatchers today having had 6 yesterday but the Red Kite certainly made up for it!
Arriving back at the marina around 8.15am a quick scan located several of our resident Tree Sparrow and a couple of Tufted Duck had dropped in but flew off as I walked back to the boat for breakfast.