Over the winter spell I had seen a few moths, as in Pale Brindled Beauty,Winter moth etc, but I hadn't had the opportunity to photograph so this Dotted Border was the first of the year and hopefully a lot more to follow. I also noticed the first Smooth Newt of the year in my pond along with a Frog, presumably the one from last year. Things are definitely emerging so more images to come soon with a bit of luck. A local farm I am visiting for the first time is providing Yellowhammers and a couple of Reed Buntings alongside around 10 House Sparrows, didn't expect to find them around the area. A, hopefully, resident Little Owl which would be good to get images of and good numbers of Skylark which are now very vocal and active, with some luck the area will be productive for me.
Well as my dad and I set off for Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, I couldn't help but feel like this was not going to be my day, with dull misty skies and constant rain I thought the OTD would be a case of 'Dove - not form above' instead sat up somewhere keeping dry. But alas I was wrong and with a warm and hospitable greeting from Steve we were watching the OTD on the bird table. The bird fed for a very brief moment then moved into thicker bushes, almost invisible to the eye, where it preened before alighting to another garden. What a great garden watch it turned out to be and with some lovely birds on show myself and Steve's son Rory we sorted our way through a cast of:Brambling,Chaffinch,Bullfinch,Goldfinch,Greenfinch,Siskin,Blackcap,Blackbird,Robin,Great spotted woodpecker,Blue tit,Coal tit and a new garden tick for Rory - a pair of Reed Buntings.
A very different twitch - but a most enjoyable one at '41.
My dad and I headed off to try and connect with the Hawfinches at Bramfield. On arrival the news that a couple had been seen around an hour before, so they were still visiting the churchyard. The day turned out to be a raptor day rather than finch. With numerous,6+, Common Buzzards, a Red Kite, 2 Sparrowhawks. A couple of Hawfinches put in a brief appearance for about 20 seconds, just to coincide with the cloudiest dullest part of the morning so far, then a single bird a couple of hours later. A couple of Goldcrests and Treecreepers were seen around the churchyard but no sign of a Firecrest.
Unfortunately the weather was not good for netting, with strong winds and a cold feel to it. Just a few birds were trapped mostly Chaffinch with a couple of Great Tits and a Robin and Greenfinch, roll on the spring and the hope of some warblers.
Despite the forecast being clear and sunny it took till midday for the cloud to clear, but it was not going to be as fruitful as the previous visit. The highlight of the 7+ hours sat in the hide was a Weasel seen hunting around in the undergrowth nearby, first thing in the morning. The first time I had been able to get an image of one of these little sprites. A stoat is hard enough to keep track of but the smaller Weasel is more difficult so I was pleased to get anything. The Redpolls did put on a show but not in the numbers or frequency as before. Below are a few from the previous visit and from this one.