Sunday, 3 January 2016

SP54: BOS short day count in the rain

A full day out birding today, participating in the "short day count" event organised by the Banbury Ornithological Society.  Eight hours is spent in the field starting at 8am, covering a 10x10km square - in our case SP54.  
It was really tough going, in far from favourable weather, with rain setting in from about 9am and continuing to after 2pm.  We gave it a really good go and although we got thoroughly drenched we were energised by a very large chocolate sponge cake kindly made for us.  It was great to be out in the field and gather some useful bird records from a generally under watched area.
After a fairly slow start, things picked up as we hiked around the Edgecote Estate and, especially, the adjoining Trafford Marsh area.  Highlights included a flock of about fifty redpolls, two flocks of forty plus siskins, a brambling, eleven snipe, kingfisher and a peregrine.
Later in the afternoon we were more car-based, making regular stops, but struggled and ultimately failed to find any tree sparrows or partridges.  Fortunes improved as the rain cleared in the afternoon, with a single chiffchaff working its way along a hedgerow, and a flock of a couple of hundred golden plover at a favoured haunt near Middleton Cheney.
Thanks again to Neil McMahon for leading the way on the birding and all the driving. 
Stop Press: species count for the day was 65.

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