Today was taken up completing a Banbury Ornithological Society Short Day Count in the 10km square SP55. This is a square to the south west of Daventry and the annual count endeavours to record as many species of birds as possible within an eight hour period.
We started at Fawsley Park and then walked up to and around Badby Wood. Forty-nine species were recorded in the first hour but is was very slow thereafter! Scarcer birds at Fawsley Park included at least one Grey Wagtail, a Kingfisher, a Water Rail, 3 Ravens, 5 Lesser Redpolls and a mobile flock of between 50-60 Siskins. On entering Badby Wood we located a single Brambling but it seemed very quiet in the trees as we slogged through the mud. Another Raven 'cronked' overhead and small numbers of Siskins danced around the wood. The Mistle Thrushes were in good voice and large numbers of winter thrushes descended on to the sodden grass fields on our return to Fawsley.
The next main venue was Lower Catesby and although there were plenty of common birds, the only new species was a single fly-over Lesser Black-backed Gull, the only one encountered all day. The Ravens didn't disappoint with the flock reaching at least 44 birds whilst we were present (with the flock then breaking up and pairs moving off in a variety of directions). A few more Siskins here and hundreds of Fieldfares and Starlings (many of them singing) ensured it was a pleasing scene.
A few more locations didn't really produce much else, albeit that our only Skylark of the day near Hellidon was a relief. An impossibly bright Kingfisher fishing in the shallows at Byfield Pool was the only bird of note there and with half an hour to go we still hadn't found some relatively common species. Thankfully we did manage to find a single Bullfinch finally and a small flock of Tree Sparrows. However, common birds such as Grey Heron, Red-legged Partridge and Lapwing went unrecorded and we found no owls or wader species.
Eleanor and Neil