Out with Colin this morning and bit of a shock to the system as we searched for owls down the Southam Road and the first ground frost of the autumn – overnight temperature dropped to minus one but we did not have any luck so moved on to Hill Rd and had 2 Brambling and 27 Redwing going over plus a juvenile female Sparrowhawk that we crept up to in the car.
Next stop was Draycote Water but the mist was slow to burn off and it was obvious that visible migration was taking place with a steady movement of Starling and Redwing over so did not bother to stay and headed for Long Itchington Diner before moving on to Napton on the Hill.
The hill was cooking on gas with a constant flow of birds and once we realised that because they were flying low they were passing either side of hill and not going over the top we started to see them instead of just hearing them. Numbers were hard to judge but Skylarks were in there hundreds with fewer Redwings plus 2 Brambling and 2 Siskin while the churchyard produced a male Blackcap and a Chiffchaff nearby. Also seen were 2 Green Woodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, 4 Goldcrests, Sparrowhawk, 6 Raven and 2 Buzzard.
Stopped at the garden centre by the canal for coffee and a chance to warm up and greeted by 60+ Redwing going over then it was on to Napton Reservoir where we had 15 Mute Swan, 24 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 2 Pochard and 11 Shoveler. As we walked to the far end Colin found a juvenile male Stonechat in the reed bed and when we turned back he heard a Bearded Tit call and I found it flying over the reservoir to our side of the bank. We track it down and it was a stunning male just a few feet from us before it flew back to the main reed bed and then became elusive showing only occasionally as it pinged its way across the reeds but did manage to get Dave L and Keith on to the bird. Also seen here were 3 Snipe, Kingfisher, 3 Water Rail, Grey Wagtail and lots more Skylarks.
I have recorded Bearded Tit in 8 years out of 35 in Warwickshire and the last one was also at Napton Reservoir in 2006 when it was in the company of a Ring-necked Duck while I have not seen one at the pond since 1986 so a good county bird to find and not what I was expecting today – yippee a bit of pay back at long last.