Having recently returned from France and with the festivities finally at an end it was time to get down to what I like doing best, a good old trek around the county and a good catch-up with the chaps!
Setting off just before dawn in the hope of catching at least a glimpse of this mornings solar eclipse sadly I arrived at Brandon Marsh to an overcast sky. Making my way to the regular lookout in search of Owls it wasn't long before the Brandon regulars began to appear in the morning gloom, unfortunately our Owls didn't and we ended up drawing a complete blank, and so onto the hides.
The pools of course are still completely frozen but nevertheless a few brave Lapwing, 2 Snipe and small numbers of Teal, Gadwall and Mallard were there to make up the numbers. Siskin appeared to be in good supply with at least 100 counted overall, mainly feeding on the remaining Alder seeds. The only other highlights were Redwing, Fieldfare, Buzzard and Kestrel until we decided to have a look down near the River Avon, here we discovered 5 Tufted Duck and 3 Pochard. The walk back to the car park across Farm Field came up with the best of the day for Brandon when 13 Golden Plover over-flew heading South.
It was time to go twitching, something that only happens when times are hard at Brandon, and so we made our way over to Bretford in search of the reported Bewick Swan. On arrival we immediately made contact with said bird which was fast asleep within a group of around ninety Mute Swan, also present on the field were a number of Skylark and circa 150 Wigeon, which were on the opposite side of the river. Thanks to Dennis Woodward, who arrived shortly after, we were also able to catch sight of a lone Pink-footed Goose which was amongst a small flock of Greylag on a nearby field.
Happy with our lot at Bretford we then decided to make our way over to Rugby and in particularEssex Street where a number of Waxwings were reported yesterday. Thanks to Peter's GPS we duly arrived and instantly made contact with around twenty or so birds. Unfortunately, as quickly as we'd made contact the birds departed in the general direction of the railway. A twenty minute vigil over lunch failed to make any further contact.
Finally, after heading off home I stopped briefly for a quick tour of Napton Reservoir which produced of note 4 Goosander, several Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Pochard and my final bird of the day which was a Woodcock which I inadvertently flushed as I reached the top end of the reed bed. Not a bad start to the year and as a sub-note I also dropped in on my roosting Long-Eared Owl, which incredibly has now been roosting in exactly the same spot for nearly 6-weeks!