As I walked down to the marina parking area shortly before 6.30am this morning our now resident Little Owl was calling somewhere off towards Napton Reservoir. I decided to head for Brandon Marsh at first light in the hope of connecting with the Short-eared Owl seen on Tuesday evening by Alan Boddington.
I was in position at Alban's bench just after seven, this spot probably offers the best viewing over the reedbed, particularly if you stand on the bench, sorry Alban if you were looking down on me! As I waited in the gloom various numbers of Fieldfare, Redwing, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll passed overhead. Two Cetti's Warbler were calling, plus a distant Water Rail and large groups of Gulls were heading through, probably from the Draycote roost. At almost exactly 7.30am a massive flock of Starling possibly 3/4,000 rose from the central reedbed and two Sparrowhawk attacked almost immediately. A magnificent sight (and sound) and after a matter of moments the flock had dispersed with a brief murmuration, both Sparrowhawks leaving empty handed! Sadly no Owls or indeed Bittern, which is another possibility at this time of day, but the Starlings were certainly worth the effort.
East Marsh Pool notables were ♂♀Goldeneye (11) Wigeon and the ♂Pintail was asleep as usual on the end of Redshank Island. A spell in the Carlton Hide with Bob Lee in search of Bearded Tit proved half effective, we heard them on a few occasions but never managed to connect, the wind increasing all the while. A Willow Tit was prominent on several occasions by the Carlton Ditch and here good views of Lesser Redpoll and a Chiffchaff made a brief appearance, looking amazingly yellow in the low sunlight.
Finally a walk around Farm Field and the Top Reedbed inadvertently flushed my first Woodcock of the season and a total of (5) Green Woodpeckers by the time I'd completed the circuit was noteworthy.