I literally shit myself yesterday driving into work. I was on survey the day before and I ambled in mid-morning. Driving down the snow and ice covered back-roads I noticed a bird of prey sat atop the hedge. I stopped fully expecting it to be a Sparrowhawk or Kestrel when blow me down with a feather it was a fucking massive female GOSHAWK! Once sphincter control had been regained the bird just stared me down. They truely are big...this had obviously just come off a kill as it had a blood-stained chest and face and looked mean. Cant believe the sighting. In a hedge. I haven't seen Gos on the deck before so to get such a view was mega. Sadly I had to trundle on otherwise I could have continued to stare out this mean motherf**ker.
Since I last posted I have been surveying. Latterly I was on Islay where I saw FA except a few Great Northern Divers (50+), single Black-throated Diver plus 40+ Red-throated Diver which is pretty unusual up there. A few Goldeneye were new for the island as well. You could tell the ground was covered in ice and some snow as the large gulls were in evidence actually being SEA-gulls as opposed to follow-the-tractor-gulls.
Going back even further into the mists of time was a survey down at Patrington Haven in 2 foot of snow. I got cold, I got wet. I saw some corking birds. Pick of the bunch were a couple of Snow Buntings on the floodbank which dropped in briefly before beetling away as I drove past in my 4x4 Fiesta*. Further excitement was elicited by raptorial goings on. A Peregrine decided that it wanted to give everything the hoolies by setting up court on the floodbank in full view of everything. I had a couple of views of a female Merlin blasting out over the mudflats but no kills noted which was cool. Sparrowhawks were seen a few times failing in similar ways to the Merlin. A Short-eared Owl was roosting in the plantation and it was flushed a few times by my beetling up and down. Last point of note ornithologically was a few fly through Twite. There were lots of Hares and Roe Deer on site and I kept flushing them from the plantation (which I sure gets good birds in easterlies - its like Sammy's and you can see sammy's from it. Travelling to the shop for my pie (all important) I was impressed by 3 coveys of Grey Partridge totalling 27 birds, including one of 13. I think all the Red-legs have died however...
*Not really a 4x4 I just treated it like one in the snow. I didnt crash/get stuck/freeze.