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WEATHER: another glorious start to the day, sunshine, no wind but still quite cold. Cloudy later with light rain. Temp 2 - 4C

The superb weather continued today, we had a clear blue sky to start the day, with plenty of sunshine. Dawn and I decided to take things easy and take a nice long walk across the fields to Thornford via Bradford Abbas. I know technically we were crossing the border into Dorset but we kept to country tracks and well away from other people. I didn’t carry my scope so we took very few pictures and none of birds.

We set out at 10am heading eastward to Clifton Maybank, after passing under the railway track, we climbed up over a grass meadow. Many Redwings were feeding in the meadow, we also saw Common Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, lots of Jackdaws and Rooks.

The Pool at Mill Farm where the Kingfisher sat and gave us a lovely display

The track came close to the River Yeo as we approached Bradford Abbas, in this section we watched two Green Woodpeckers but we missed a couple of Cattle Egrets (seen by another birder in the area).  At this point I added a new species to the 2021 list when we found a Chiffchaff in the riverside bushes.

We walked through Mill Farm where a lot of restoration and conservation has been carried out recently. We talked to the owners who were watching a Kingfisher on one of their ponds. The Kingfisher was really quite tame and flew closer, it then dropped into the water and demonstrated to us his expertise in fishing!

The section from Mill Farm to Thornford Church produced a few more species, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinches and a few Meadow Pipits. However, I expected to find Yellowhammer and Linnets there, but we never saw a bean. In the churchyard my second new species for the 2021 list was found, it was a Goldcrest, seen in amongst a Tit Flock.

the view from Thornford Church

We left Thornford on a different track,  it took us over the River Yeo and alongside the railway track, by this time the sky had clouded over and very birds were seen. We walked back to Bradford Abbas and rejoined the same track that we had arrived on. Apart from another Green Woodpecker we saw nothing new. It was 1:30pm when we got back to the flat, we had walked for 3 ½ hours and covered 6.5 miles, we needed a rest and some lunch.

the long male Catkins on the Alder Tree are purple to start with but turn green as they develop

At 3pm I was up and out again, this time I drove into Yeovil and visited the Lyde Road area where a local birder, Oli Mockridge, had reported seeing, Woodcock and Barn Owl yesterday. I met up with Steve Chorley, another Yeovil Birder, after I had been there for a short while. I had walked down to the river Yeo ‘ Woodcock stake out’ and listed Jay for the first time this year. Steve arrived just as it getting dark.

It was wet and muddy down there but with no wind it was quite pleasant and ideal for evening watching. As it got dark we hear at least three Water Rails and a Tawny Owl, but we never saw a Woodcock or Barn Owl. We stayed until dark before walking back up the hill.

I added 3 species to my year list today and I heard two new ones. My total stands at 62. Plus two heard only.