Work on the dissertation has kept me in for most of the last week, my thinking being if I can keep working on it now, I will be able to go twitching crazy when I need to. Its worked so far, but with the dissertation a third of the way complete and still a month before the deadline I decided to take the day off.
Chosen destination: Greaves' Piece for the gg shrike thats been there for a couple of weeks. It was a lovely day, and I was taking my course-mate with me in the hope to add the shrike to his life list. Sadly we did not see the shrike, be we had a host of other goodies which compensated somewhat.
First yeartick I got was Tree Pipit, but they were very abundant on the moor as we found out, with numerous birds singing and more 'spizz'-ing overhead. Second was a Cuckoo which my mate found. I would have though it a little early but clearly not, although I only managed a terrible record shot before it flew off. It then started calling from wherever it landed, and most of our walk was serenaded by intermittent Cuckoo calling.
Without a doubt the highlight of the day was a very vocal Raven soaring above us. Sadly it kept soaring where the sun meant we couldn't see it clearly. It had me for a moment, as its tail was not as forked as I remember for Ravens, and the call not as deep. That being said, its so obviously a Raven I don't know what I was thinking.
The warm air meant plenty of Buzzards on the wing, as well as Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. The only additional yeartick was just before we were going to call it a day, when I managed to find a Redstart singing along the edge of the trees. Sadly it did not sit still for a photo but went back into the wood where I lost it. Still, today's additional four year-ticks put me 160 for the year, with plenty of easy species still to get.
Greaves' Piece: Swallow, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Common Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Tree Pipit, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Sparrowhawk, Willow Warbler, Raven, Cuckoo, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Curlew, Pheasant, Redstart,