The New Year was kicked off with a trip down to Wishmoor Bottom on the Surrey and Berkshire border for another (the third in fact) attempt at catching up with the Parrot Crossbills that had been present there for much of December 2017. After a couple of hours standing around in the cold looking at an empty tree Mrs Caley and I decided to go for a wander and luckily came across a group of Crossbills drinking at a puddle. Both Common and Parrot Crossbills were seen and identified. The small flock of 5 joined more feeding in a nearby pine tree, culminating in brilliant and prolonged views of at least 10 Parrots and 3 Commons. Later when the birds left the tree we managed to see the entire flock of 16 Parrot Crossbills in flight. Full write up and photos here Crossbills
|Parrot Crossbills drinking at puddle
|Richard's Pipit, a life tick!
|American Horned Lark
A sneaky day off on the 1st and another Hawfinch hunt in the beautiful South Oxon village of Ardington, 3 seen there but none on show at Northmoor later. Better views of the Barn Owls at work on the 2nd before heading back to Ardington and more views of the Hawfinches. Then back to Stony Stratford on the 3rd in driving rain in another, successful this time, search for the Jack Snipe. On the 4th we braved real biting cold winds and some rain to boot as we looked for both a Great Grey Shrike and a Hen Harrier close to Great Barrington in the Cotswolds. Both were seen but were very distant and the bitter cold had us scuttling back to the car very quickly!
|Great Grey Shrike
|Drake Mandarin Duck
|Female Black Redstart
|More Hawfinch magic!
|Female Marsh Harrier
|Two roosting Long Eared Owls
|Glaucous Gull, another lifer!
|Crestie! Great start to the Highland holiday!
|Red Grouse, somehow getting comfy in those conditions!
|Snow Bunting, a Bunting in the snow!
|Goldie flying past very close!
|Crested Tit on a Real perch.