Eleanor kindly visited some of the feed stations locally whilst I was committed to the west of the county. Broadcast seed at Harrington Airfield was sufficient to attract at least six Bramblings.
A visit to Blueberry Farm at Maidwell produced sightings of a Barn Owl, four Red Kites and the pair of Stonechat.
In the meantime I completed a BOS Short Day Count in SP55 to the south and west of Daventry. Nearly half of the day was spent at Fawsley Park and Badby Wood. This area is particularly good for a variety of species due to the variety of habitat - lakes, streams, reed-beds, woodland and parkland.
The cold frosty morning helped produce a stunning red sun-rise, all the more dramatic when back-lighting the stark fingers of winter trees.
The birds were vocal, perhaps anxious to shake off the dreary wet weather from the day before and I quickly seized upon the calls of Water Rail, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail - all species difficult to record elsewhere in the tetrad. About a dozen Siskins inhabited the alders and Nuthatch and Treecreeper were both active and vocal first thing. Waterfowl were present in small numbers but 17 Pochard was a good total for the site.
Gulls quickly arrived from the north-west and included the standard five species in some numbers. A male Lesser Redpoll was feeding on flooded Rosebay Willow-Herb.
I then took the Knightley Way up to Badby Wood. A nice surprise was a flock of 20 - 25 Bramblings in the beeches en-route. A circular and muddy wander in Badby Woods added Marsh Tit, Raven and a few more common species.
After brunch back at Fawsley Park, I then drove slowly via Badby village to Lower Catesby, one of my favourite sites. An interesting falcon disappeared behind some woodland (why do they never appear the other side?) and other birds of interest included Raven, a monster flock of Redwings and a single Brambling contained within a Chaffinch flock. A Greylag was a bonus bird and Grey Heron is locally very scarce in this square so a fly-over individual was very welcome. A couple more Ravens were located near Hellidon and a walk around Byfield Pool added the third Kingfisher of the day.
An afternoon cup of tea at local birder Ian Dobson's house was appropriate as his feeding exploits provided me with my only Tree Sparrow of the day and at least four Lesser Redpolls on suspended feeders (a possible Meally Redpoll didn't show itself while I was there). My final birding of the day was on open ground near Cannons Ashby where I failed to locate the anticipated Skylark but was happy with a flock of about 70 Golden Plovers, several Common Buzzards and a couple more Ravens.
During the lull in the wet and windy weather this morning, local ringer Chris Payne spent a short time ringing in his garden at Greens Norton where he captured several Reed Buntings coming regularly to food. An image of one of these stunning little birds is below...
Sunrise at Fawsley
Courtesy of Chris Payne