With the continuing wet stormy weather, getting out has been difficult, with most attempts thwarted by heavy rain and gale force winds. Today Monday 17th things looked a bit more promising so driving up to the ridge way and parking about quarter of a mile west of Whitehorse hill I walked initially to the east of the white horse and then retraced my steps and headed south.
The first birds of interest seen were the delightful pair of Stonechats that have somehow survived being deluged time and again and seem in remarkably good fettle as they searched the rough grassland looking for titbits. The ever present Kestrel also gave a hovering display that is nothing short of miraculous and enthralled me with its gravity defying skills.
This year has seen a sparsity of that brilliantly coloured Bunting the Yellowhammer with just the occasional sighting of twos or threes, but today as I walked the southern part of my foray, a flock in excess of fifty were in the hedgerow with their bright, almost reflective plumage, treating me to a colour bonanza. Of course it couldn't last and the rain started to appropriately enough 'hammer' down, signalling my exodus back to the warmth and dryness of the car. Driving back through Sparsholt a Merlin kept pace with me on the other side of the roadside hedge before scything across in front of the motor and disappearing into a farmyard. It was good to get out for an hour or two.
The Oxon Feather.