We were out before sunrise down the Grandborough valley as yesterday’s rain cleared the atmosphere and we were treated to scope views of the constellation Orion especially the The Great Nebula then a fly past by ISS (International Space Station) Zarya traveling at 4.5 miles per second followed by at least 3 meteors of the Orionids shower while all the time Saturn was showing low in the eastern sky. No sign of any owls until we were leaving along Hill Rd when a Barn Owl was found being mobbed by corvids near Gimswood at 7:50am.
With temperatures well below freezing and no wind Napton Reservoir was ideal for looking for the Bearded Tit but after an hour all we managed was the briefest of flight views and no calls heard though a flushed Jack Snipe performed much better. No sign of the Red-crested Pochards
After warming up at the Long Itchington Diner we moved on to Napton on the Hill but there was a distinctive lack of birds in the hedgerows or flying over until we reached the quarry where we had 80 Redwing, 100 Skylark over and a another 150 in a field between the Old Brickyard and the A425 and Dave found a female Merlin soaring overhead joined by a Sparrowhawk. There was plenty of bird activity in the churchyard centered on a fir tree where we presumed an owl was roosting but failed to see it, the local birds were definitely upset.
Next stop was the Just So Café (a café for cake lovers) in the grounds of the Bridge Nursery where we pigged out on some of Naomi finest before having another go at the Bearded Tit but failed again.