12 October 2009

Napton shines

Today at Napton was more like it - half the temperature of a few days ago, but infinitely better visibility, and many times more birding enjoyment.

Up on the hill I immediately heard, then saw, a raven - mobbed by a carrion crow until the raven finally grew bored and headed away to the east. Soon afterwards, four fieldfare flew by, my first of the year. Elsewhere I found more redwings, blackbirds, a pair of meadow pipits and a female blackcap.

Down at the reservoir, a pair of Gadwall were all that was new on the water. But the fields around the edges were stuffed full of birds - male yellowhammers bright in the sun, meadow pipits all around, a small group of dunnocks moving through the hawthorn, and big numbers of skylarks either singing in the autumn skies or chasing each other low over set-aside fields. The mute swan in the main photo wasn't the bird of the day, but he was the photo of the day as he passed low overhead not once, but twice (just as well, the lens cap was on first time around - smooth!).

Bird of the day: Raven (Corvus corax), the largest of our crows, a truly massive black bird, notably larger than a buzzard. Once confined to Wales and the north, its range is starting to spread east, meaning it is by no means uncommon in Warwickshire these days.

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