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WEATHER: dull and overcast, quite chilly, light breeze.

I made a quick visit to the Butterfly Reserve at Lankham Bottom, arriving around 9am and staying   for an hour or so.  A visit to this beautiful site can be very rewarding especially to see the many winter thrushes, there are many hawthorn bushes laden with berries dotted all over this butterfly reserve. Alas, it was very quiet on the reserve but the views were worth getting up for, I love this place. I love anywhere where you watch birds from distance, looking down from a ridge at Lankham is ideal you have great views of the whole area. I spotted a few Redwings, six Fieldfares and quite a few of those big brutish ‘Continental’ Blackbirds.

THE VIEW DOWN INTO LANKHAM BOTTOM, this natural 'bowl' is littered with hawthorn bushes

Down near the Wessex Water buildings in the base of the ‘bowl’  I hoped to find a Black Redstart but I all got was a couple of Pied Wagtails, they were finding plenty of flies on the roof of the building. A couple of Stonechats flitted about in the weedy scrubs but there was no sign of any Meadow Pipits or Yellowhammers.

Pied Wagtail on the roof of the Wessex Water building found at the base of the bowl

As I walked back up the slope I watched a Common Kestrel hovering and I picked out a second bird of prey sitting in a bush, I was hope that it may be a Merlin but it turned out to be a Sparrowhawk (later I saw it again circling above me). The familiar ‘cronk’ of a Raven filled my ears, I ahd the spectacle of watching 8 of these king corvids fly over me in ones and twos.

I let just after that and never went out again today.