Sunday, 4 January 2015

SP55 Short Day Count


Today it was the turn of SP55 for a Banbury Ornithological Society Short Day Count, and I was hoping for a considerably better day's weather than yesterday! At 8am Helen Franklin and I were in the starting blocks at Fawsley Park, the overnight frost and fog but very still conditions providing a classic sparkling seasonal backdrop. Here we bumped in to Ian Dobson and Martin Elliott also committing to the same task, and comparing notes later they seemed to do much better than us!

Prior to the survey roadside birds included a Barn Owl perched in a tree between Long Buckby and Buckby Wharf and a Woodcock near Hellidon.

The lakes at Fawsley ensure that this key site is a magnet to birders in this area of the county and good birds quickly notched up included Siskin, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Raven and Water Rail. The cold morning air carried the sounds of calling Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker and Common Buzzard from afar but sadly not the calls of Little Owl or Lesser Spotted Woodpecker as you would have expected some years ago.

After scrutinising the lakes we elected for an uphill walk along the Jurassic Way to Badby Woods. Common Gulls fed on frozen invertebrates on the sheep-strewn slopes and a few other bird species fell in to place for the count. On reaching the wood, winter sunshine had penetrated the morning fog and the ice petals on the tree branches looked simply stunning. As is usual for this time of the year. the paths in Badby Wood were very muddy as we completed a clockwise circuit close to the perimeter adding Jay, Marsh Tit and Sparrowhawk to our tally.

Downhill then to our car and some coffee but unfortunately the fog came down again and remained thick for the remainder of the day...

We persevered in the difficult conditions and managed to find a few extra species in the Catesby and Cannons Ashby areas and finished at Byfield Pool where the best birds were repeats in the shape of Kingfisher and Marsh Tit. A couple of Ravens fed in a field near Hellidon.


Neil M

Sparkling ice petals
courtesy of Helen Franklin.

Common Gull

Grey Squirrel

Hellidon Tower in the
morning mist

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