Sunday, 5 February 2017

Banbury and the Cherwell Valley: Waxwings and Pintails

Saturday was another great day to be out and about, especially after the early morning cloud cleared through and blue skies prevailed.
After some enjoyable local birding in the morning, I decided to call in to Osterley Grove in Banbury on my way home, to see if a small flock of Waxwings I located on Friday afternoon were still present.  Turning into the cul-de-sac, the flock were immediately in my view - crowded together on a TV aerial (ten birds in total, two more than yesterday).  I parked-up and was able to spend a good amount of time watching the birds as they fed on the white berries of an ornamental Sorbus (a type of Rowan).  They also spent time on the roof and drinking from the gutter!
Knowing many birds have been colour-ringed this winter in the Aberdeen area (in fact I'd just read an article about their movement on the Birdguides webzine), I checked though the flock and sure enough one individual showed a brightly-coloured combination of rings.
Local people were really interested in the birds and tolerant of the trickle of birders passing through.
drinking from the gutter
the colour-ringed Waxwing was not one of those that posed so well for the camera!
Later in the afternoon I took a walk along the Oxford Canal south of Aynho Wharf where plenty of birds had been attracted to the floodwaters in this beautiful part of the Cherwell Valley.  Two flocks of Lapwing, totalling 1000 birds, was very impressive but the undoubted highlight was two small groups of Pintail, one of my favourite ducks, increadibly elegant and beautiful - and really quite scarce in our area.  So to see them locally, and in such a lovely setting, was a real thrill.
Cherwell Valley looking north from Aynho Wharf
Cherwell Valley in flood
these extensive foodwaters are a magnet for wildfowl
Pintails - two drakes and a duck - "phonescoped" in failing light!


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