Today Mike Pollard (heartofenglandnature.blogspot.com) and I completed a BOS Long Day Count in SP54 which is in the south west of Northamptonshire. From our 5am start it was a very strong wind all day, sometimes with light showers, but also occasionally with some intermittent brighter periods.
Our first birding venue was in the Thenford area, a couple of lakes here attracting some common water birds and also a migrant Common Sandpiper. Broken woodland was sufficient to attract Nuthatch and the traditional Lapwing breeding fields contained at least three birds struggling to cope with the fast-growing wheat crop. Field edges and margins and the village sewer works near to Middleton Cheney claimed some additional species which included Grey Wagtail and the locally scarce Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler. A fast-moving Hobby was the pick of the birds at Farthinghoe Local Nature Reserve.
We explored some minimal aquatic and wet woodland on the outskirts of Marston St Lawrence, and were rewarded with a pair of Mandarin Duck, a pair of Marsh Tits, plus another territorial male Grey Wagtail and a Sparrowhawk. Two Ravens at Thenford, Farthinghoe and at Marston were presumed to be the same far-ranging birds.
A couple of hours in the afternoon wandering a mixture of habitat at Edgcote and Trafford Bridge and Trafford Marsh was rewarding with an adult Grey Heron on a nest, Raven, one or two Kingfisher, further singles of Sparrowhawk and Hobby and a fabulous cute huddle of just-fledged Long-tailed Tits! Yet another on-territory Grey Wagtail was located and a single Yellow Wagtail was seen in flight and it took us nearly twelve hours to finally locate a single Pied Wagtail in the 10k square!
An inspired visit to Moreton Pinkney, one of Mike's local patches, yielded breeding Tree Sparrow, a pair of Raven with three fledged young and a super Tawny Owl. This demonstrated the value of Mike's excellent local knowledge, in addition without which we would not have seen a subsequent and only Garden Warbler.