Although this morning started a little gloomy and overcast, it quickly became a fine and breezy day - perfect for a little patch birding.
I started early at Ufton Fields, and enjoyed a very satisfying stroll. It was truly a walk for the ears, with plenty of strong birdsong to compensate for the difficulty of actually seeing birds in the full summer foliage.
Nearly all of the expected residents were in good voice - three or four Chiffchaffs and a couple of Willow Warblers, three Blackcaps and a couple of Garden Warblers, a Song Thrush, plenty of Robins, a couple of Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits and the first Sedge Warblers I have ever found at Ufton (and a good number too, judging by the amount of song).
I did manage to lay binoculars on bird a few times though - always nice to see Bullfinchs and Jays, and the Coal Tits that I found were my first for quite a while.
So with 32 species under my belt, I moved on to Harbury Spoilbanks to find... nearly nothing. Highlight of this very short walk was the high density of singing Willow Warblers, perhaps five in just a couple of acres of wood and scrub.
Undeterred, I headed off to Napton Reservoir. Breezy at the best of times, the reservoir seemed to be enjoying a full-on gale this morning, so having given the water a cursory glance (Great Crested Grebe, a pair of Tufties, 20 or so Coots and a pair of Mute Swans with six young), I dived into the better protected fields.
This proved a good move, allowing me to warm up again and to find a few extra species - Swift, House Martin and Swallow, plenty of Skylarks, a Reed Bunting, and a lone Lapwing flying overhead. And then I walked back around the reservoir and left the fishermen to their hurricane.
Bird of the Day: Coal Tit (Periparus ater), a widespread and fairly common little bird, but not always easily found on my patch. It favours coniferous woods, and although it is a fairly drab member of the tit family, it is easily distinguished by its white striped nape. I found the photo above on Flickr by the way (yes, with a Creative Commons licence!). It was taken by simondbarnes, and is an absolute stunner. It's well worth visiting his photostream for plenty more great bird photography.