Friday, 25 January 2019

Broughton Castle: Bramblings

The grounds of Broughton Castle near Banbury are quite a good place to look for birds in a beautiful setting, with good access.  The extensive parkland is dotted with old oak trees and several clumps of beech trees.  For the past few days a small number of Brambling have been feeding with Chaffinches on beech mast but have been quite difficult to see as they are easily disturbed and the park is also popular for dog walking.  This morning was my first opportunity to have look for them. Walking towards the main clump of mature trees I soon located the flock and my first Brambling, but it was some time before I could get a prolonged view as the birds kept moving on through the trees. Then I had some good fortune - a couple of Brambling flew into the top of a large hawthorn and decided to start preening.  And the sun came out!  So I managed to capture a few images with the phone-scope combination.

Brambling, Broughton Castle grounds

Later I realised I was also being watched - by the local Tawny Owl!
Tawny Owl
Earlier in the morning I took advantage of a couple of spare hours whilst my car was being serviced in Banbury and took a walk up to Grimsbury Reservoir and the Upper Cherwell Valley as far at the Borrow Pit pool.  Quite a few Song Thrushes were singing and when I got to Grimsbury Woodland nature reserve I soon located a couple of Marsh Tits but sadly no sign of a Willow Tit (and none reported so far this year).  Up at the Borrow Pit five Little Grebes were in residence and good numbers of gulls were bathing. Redwings were also in evidence in the canal-side hedgerows and scrub.
View of the Oxford Canal near the Borrow Pit.
Nice lighting on the trees behind the Borrow Pit.

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