Mark picked me up just before 9am and we looked for the Church Lawford Bewick’s before going on to the Great Grey Shrike. Called in at Rookery Farm on the way but the farmer was busy slopping out the pens so a lot of disturbance and we only managed 2 Tree Sparrow, 2 Corn Bunting and 12 Yellowhammer. There were no sign of any obvious Bewick’s on the A428 so we parked up by the track to Cottage Farm to check out the Mute Swan flock and found 2 Bewick’s feeding in a dip. We also had Buzzard, Raven and Merlin in area. Soon had the news out and joined by Dennis and Pete. Later on in the day Terry had 17 so I don’t know where the main flock was hiding. Interestingly the flock contains one individual with a yellow davic ring that was ringed at Slimbridge in 2005 and called Grindul.
Moved on to the Shrike site and spent 2hrs in a bone chilling easterly wind with a few others waiting for it to perform but it never showed. The male Merlin was adamant that those present would get good views as it hunted the Linnets or perched resting. Also Sparrowhawk and as we left the valley we picked up Green Woodpecker and Buzzard along Flecknoe Road.
Red-crested Pochard a record shot by Mark in cold strong winds
Draycote Water was open today but its best to ring them first as they are playing a day by day game depending if the car parks are frozen. Top car park was closed. Dennis had rang to say he had an adult Caspian Gull in biggen bay so walked out to farborough spit managing 2 male and one female Red-crested Pochard by the fishing pontoon before they drifted back towards draycote bank. Our third Merlin of the day, a male was hunting near sewage farm and the adult Caspian Gull was on the ice but in toft bay before we gave in to the elements. Female Brambling and Siskin in my garden mid-afternoon.