Day 4 was our final day of this years trip, and as with day 1, a large proportion of our time was spent travelling. After completing our chores at the cottage, leaving it spic and span so that we would be welcomed back in the future, we headed off. Our first stop was a second visit to Choseley, where bramblings, chaffinches and yellowhammers were still present in good numbers, and a barn owl hunting the roadside verges gave excellent views.
|Marsh Tit Poecile palustris|
Abbey Farm at Flitcham was our next stop, a guaranteed stop for tree sparrows. A small wildlife hide at this site looks our over a large pond and an area of grazed pasture. Mallard and common teal were present on the pond, whilst goldcrest, marsh, blue and great tits frequented the surrounding scrub. Last year we had recorded a little owl at this site, but there was to be no repeat of that this year.
The tree sparrows are usually found in the hedgerows either side of the road, and we could hear them as we walked back up the farm access track to the road. In total there were about six birds present, but they proved really difficult to get a clear view of, there was no chance of grabbing a photo.
The farmer was ploughing the field north of the road so we stopped in a gateway to scan; lapwing, common and black-headed gulls were feeding on the freshly ploughed earth and six common buzzards and a ring tail hen harrier were hunting over the field behind.
The final stop of our trip was Lynford Arboretum, in search of the elusive hawfinch. We have previously seen the species here, but not in recent years. This year though, as we approached the paddock, two birders signaled that they had one in the scope....success! There are now several bird feeders here and so common woodland birds were abundant, blue, great, coal, marsh and long-tailed tits were present along with siskin, chaffinch, brambling and bullfinch, the latter a species that had eluded us so far.
So after four days birding we had seen 119 species of bird, well 120 if you count the red kite that we saw as we were driving back around the M25. A reasonable tally, but well down on the 135 species seen last year. Birding was extremely difficult due the strong winds that blew from the north and south west, we all agreed that it had been the windiest winter trip we had done to date.