A fabulous sunny day today which warmed the bones despite the still cool air.
First stop this morning was Harrington Airfield and after feeding the birds a bit of scanning is always worthwhile. The usual birds came down and included a super summer plumage male Brambling that initially sang well from one of the nearby willow bushes. Then pandemonium as an immature male Merlin came in from nowhere and snatched a male Yellowhammer from among the panicking throng. The falcon bent to dislocate the bunting's neck as it made it's get away, pursued by a Magpie across the top fields (which gave up when it realised it couldn't keep pace). It was over and done so quick that I think many of the birds didn't even realise what had happened and quickly returned to feed.
We decided to pay Lings Wood a visit as Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have been showing on and off near Lings House. However after 2 hours wandering in stunning sunshine and seeing plenty of other woodland birds we had to concede defeat. Not a sight or sound!
A couple of visits to Pitsford Res during the day provided views of the Great White Egret in both the Walgrave and Scaldwell Bays. A pair of Great Black-backed Gulls and a single Oystercatcher seemed to making homes of the tern rafts in the Scaldwell Bay, the same bay also hosting a pair of Smew. There was a single Brambling at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station, at least 8 Siskins on the feeders in Christies Copse and a Redshank still around the yacht club. A male Brimstone butterfly in Christies Copse was a sight for sore winter eyes!
The garden here at Hanging Houghton has been pretty good with 4 Reed Buntings, a couple of Yellowhammers, a Tree Sparrow and 2 Bramblings coming in for food with 2 Red Kites and 2 Ravens overhead. A couple more Brimstone butterflies took advantage of the warm sunshine just east of the village. The adult female Peregrine showed again in the Brampton Valley below the village, thought to be the same bird seen on and off in the immediate area all winter.
Finally at Kelmarsh Hall this afternoon the feeders attracted a Brambling, about 6 Lesser Redpolls and c20 Siskins.
Eleanor and Neil