Planned to go birding today with three other birders I've known for a while who are a lot more experienced than I am. I tagged along very much as the pupil. 8.15 am rendesvous on the Somerset Levels for a fry up before the off. Which meant a 7am depart from here. Boy was it cold setting off, I'm only glad my car has a self defrosting windscreen. Glorious sunrise over Bruton on the drive up.
The Levels were gloriously frosted, but we headed to the Mendips for a Grey Shrike (not found) but a nice Roe deer, complete with antlers in velvet, 2 Mistle Thrush were the highlights. Then down to Cheddar Resevoir, where almost immediately across the other side of the water, a "small grebe" was spotted, which after a quick dash over there was confirmed as a Red Necked Grebe. How on earth that was spotted half a km away through a scope is a mystery to me but proves we all lean something from others. Great Crested Grebes are also well into courtship display. Left Cheddar after clocking a male Siskin and Blackcap, and headed to Shapwick NNR for the Firecrest. Firecrest not found by bird song specialist, but fair numbers of passerines.
Sadly I had to depart then, while they headed off to Minehead and Hinckly for Iceland Gull (Text confirmed they'd bagged that one in a carpark) and high tide. The drive home saw me stop at a field near Yeovil, containing 9 Buzzard, 200+ Lapring, while over the lane 50+ Fieldfare.
In Afternoon had a quick look down at the river here, 2 Roe deer in the thicket, and a chiffchaff singing.
Later at about 10.30pm as we drove back from Yeovil having seen the Ukelele Orchestra of Britain (I'd recommend these) Barn Owl across the road at Stalbridge Park brings year total to 96. 4 more to top the 100 species by end Feb.