The landscape of Corsham Park down in Wiltshire was designed by the wondrous Capability Brown, but we never got as far as Corsham Park to admire his handiwork this morning.
I’d picked up Mr Goose (aka Neill Hunt), Tropical Thomason and Alan Wright just after dawn and hared down the M6 and M5, but long before we reached target, Mr Goose’s pagermaphone was staidly reporting no sign of the Hooded Merganser that has been at Corsham for the last few days.
Ducks are ducks, and despite the size of the question mark over Hooded Mergs like this, one without rings and a full set of wings had to be worth a look for no other reason than insurance.
But the merg, plastic or platinum, had gone, gone, gone.
No point going on to Corsham then, and the work of Incapability Brown (the lesser known brother who planted Ground Elder and Japanese Knotweed all over the place) didn’t seem so attractive, so like several other units this morning, we made the best of a bad job and popped down to the Horsbere Reserve in Gloucestershire, to have a butcher’s at the two Penduline Tits that have wintered there.
Classy little birds, year ticks don’t get much better than this and we had great views of them as they fed in the bulrushes alongside Chiffchaff, Long Tailed Tits and Reed Buntings.
Redwings, Common Buzzards and Little Egret here too.
From Horsbere I drove on into the Forest of Dean, where a walk under brightening skies was pleasant enough, despite the lack of the Great Grey Shrike we’d hoped for.
Plenty of Siskins and Goldcrests were in the larches and a fine beefy Goshawk rose up over the trees as the sun broke through, with more Common Buzzards and Ravens.
Great fun with the guys of course, despite the glaring lack of tickage, plastic, pencil or otherwise – thanks all for the company and putting up with my driving for the day…