I was out with Neville and Chris this morning as the thaw continues helped along by heavy rain as we failed to find the Great Grey Shrike which was not surprising considering the conditions but did have excellent views of the male Merlin catching a Linnet.
We moved on to Napton Reservoir which was half frozen with a few duck including 6 Wigeon and 5 Mute Swan with the highlight of a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the edge of the ice showing well. This is a first for me at Napton and I only have one record from the pond in January so it’s rare as hen’s teeth this time of the year on my patch.
With all three of us looking extremely bedraggled we spent an hour at the Long Itchington Diner drying out over a bowl of muesli before we moved on the pond which was open and should be for awhile unless it freezes bad again. There may have been 2 Great-northern Divers, one in toft bay playing with a fish and another off rainbow corner but they were not seen at the same time. The female Common Scoter was out in centre before the sailing boats flushed it in to rainbow then toft bay. A flock of 5 adult Whooper Swan flew over at 11:55am followed by an immature at 13:06pm. Male Smew was distant by the valve tower. We could not find any Red-crested Pochard but came away with 145 Pochard, 55 Goldeneye, 200+ Wigeon, 100 Teal, 8 Goosander, 8 Gadwall, 20 Goldfinch, 3 Buzzard, 5 Bullfinch and a Green Woodpecker. Failed to see a single Pied Wag or Meadow Pipit!!!
Next stop was Rookery Hall Farm where we managed 13 Corn Bunting and a Tree Sparrow despite the disturbance then on to Church Lawford and soon located the Bewick’s Swan flock by the flooded River Avon near Newham Grounds. Counted 16 although 17 were seen earlier and later.