Napton Reservoir can be bleak enough at the best of times - it seems to attract winds that nowhere else can find. With some cold heavy rain added to the mix it wasn't the most promising start to a weekend, but there was enough about to make for a rewarding hour or so.
No notable wildfowl on the water, just c.80 coots, c.30 tufted ducks, c.40 black-headed gulls, a handful of common gulls and a great-crested grebe - plus a big flock of 50 canada geese and a single greylag.
There were only a few fieldfares and redwings around the perimeter - I've yet to see a large flock of either this year - but there were well over 100 starling moving. Three snipe flew while I was there, and two groups of lapwing flew east - three then five, the latter group touching down momentarily. A male bullfinch and a kestrel were also present.
The sun was out by Sunday morning, and my customary bike ride was considerably enlivened by passing views of a flock of c.20 golden plover in fields near Long Itchington.
|Male Goldeneye (Credit: Bill Thompson/USFWS)|
Pie Week went down well with the troops (steak and mushroom, thanks for asking) and then we headed off for a reasonably thorough look around the reserve.
Our reward was a total of 42 species found: highlights including a sparrowhawk and three snipe at East Marsh Pool, great views of great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch at the feeders, and three goldeneye - a male and two female, back at East Marsh.
Bird of the weekend: Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), a gorgeous diving duck (well, the male at least); a winter-only visitor in these parts with the tiny UK breeding population confined to Scotland.