Yep I admit it I planned to go out with Dave and had to ‘cry off’ as he correctly put after attending the very social and free flowing beer fest that was my 1st christmas function of the season the night before, I suppose the 9 or 10 pints enbibed were not a good idea, NO! clearly it was not a good idea Steve, anyway move on.

I got out into the sun finally at 11am (instead of 8am) and decided to call into see the Waxwings of Marston with the hope of a few shots with the sun highlighting all their delicious colouring. I was the first one there at the spot just past the Old Barn on Tollbar Road, I got sorted and began snapping suitable targets from the active group.

Slowly other birders arrived, some photographers and some just ‘proper’ birders with their bino’s 😉 to enjoy the spectacle. The berries are still plentiful and after a few were digested largish groups of Waxies were dropping down to a part frozen puddle to drink with birds also overspilling onto the relatively busy road, “hope I don’t see another casualty that Dave reported the other day, also a large group of around 30 birds dropped onto the turf field, some to drink in the puddles but some appeared to be foraging in the grass, a few images showing what I am talking about can be seen below…

A kamikazee Waxwing playing ‘chicken’ on the Tollbar Road!
Feeding or drinking?

As you would expect the birds behaved impecably for us photographers and one of my fav shots from today shows a classic berry pose but you can clearly see the berry resting on the ‘tongue pad’ of the bird and the point of the upper manidble only, first time I have got this type of shot, so pleasing for me.

I then decided to move onto Marston itself as the crowds grew larger at the Waxwing haunt.

I had a drive and walk around the Mill Lane area and saw good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing and a glimpse of a hen Bullfinch, moving onto the car park I bumped into old mate Kev Everton, we had a brief chat about what was about and went our own ways, me onto the hide and Kev onto the Waxwings, not a great deal the MSTW, the scrape was frozen, only birds were Blue and Great Tits and Robins, I could hear Fieldfare and Redwing flying around and so when walking down Viking Way I saw many birds in the air, all very busy in the air at least. I hung around hoping for a glimpse of the Cetti’s warbler and Water Rail but only heard the later, possible 4 birds were calling.
I made my way to see if our old pal the Stonechat could be seen but sadly not, on the way back to the car I saw a few Reed Buntings and around 150 Greylags appeared from fields past the Mill Lane part of the site, photo below, see the nearly 100% white bird bottom right of the image?

OK so now was the time to move onto Halls Hill in Grantham to see if I could meet up with Barn and Short Eared Owls, in short only Barnie showed up but for a few seconds I had in my sights Barn Owl, Kestrel (with prey) and Sparrowhawk, if only I could have managed all 3 in one frame! A small number of birders were on the hill also looking for the same as me 🙂 I got a few shots off of the Kestrel with its prey in the fading light and a nice shot or two, again in fading light of the Barnie, hope you like them below …