After spending yesterday in glorious sunshine at Oversley Wood near Stratford on Avon managing 69 butterflies from 6 species plus 3 Orange Underwing moths and many species of Bee Fly’s and mining bees including Ashy which was a county first for us we arrived at an overcast Draycote Water this morning not expecting much. As we walked along farborough bank both Dave and I tried to be all macho like about the flies but to be honest due to the trillions that were out I would have been happy to have turned around and gone for a shower.
Luckily the 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Little Egrets and Little Gull kept us occupied and on our return Bob Hazell put us on to our first Common Tern of the year. While listening to the warblers in the car park Bob rang with a Red Kite heading south and it went over our heads – magic. A clear down of the STW Draycote moth trap which had Herald and Saterlitte then it was off to Long Itchington for breakfast.
Our first stop afterwards was Napton on the Hill which was a bit livelier than of late with Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Peregrine, 15 Raven and 6 Buzzard but apart from a few warblers on site the only migrant was a Swallow going north. First Speckled Wood of the year brings my county year list up to 12.
Despite attracting Ring Ousel, Mandarin Duck and White Wagtail over the last week we arrived at Napton Reservoir not expecting the birding gods to have 3 goodies lined up for us. The first was a White Wagtail on the causeway being pushed around by the dog walkers, the second a stonking male Whinchat on the perimeter hedgerow but these two were nothing compared to the brilliant ghostly harrier hunting the large field between us and the road. I immediately screamed some gibberish at Dave that included Hen Harrier though it might be a montys but that was the last sensible thought I had as I then continued to think it was a Hen Harrier. Watched it for three minutes before it swung towards us over the reservoir and away. We had tweeted the news out and luckily Bob arrived and once he saw my poor image he put all the sweeties, icing and cherries on our local birding cake with a matter of fact - that’s a MONTYs you b*****d.
Also seen on our travels were 4 Sparrowhawk, more Yellow Wagtails away from Draycote Water and Jay.