The first was a pair of Collared Doves which I noticed from the car as I drove passed Church Farm. They were sitting in their usual place on the telephone wires. At Netherstead a Weasel dashed across the path, and I counted 18 Lesser Redpolls before scoping a single Redwing. The ludicrousness of not seeing any Redwings on my last visit was laid bare by a flock at least 75 of the blighters in the field at High Field Farm.
As Dave arrived disaster (in birding terms) struck. He had just emerged from his car and I was walking towards him. "What are those?" Over my shoulder two swans were heading north towards Bannams Wood. They flew silently, no wing noise and no calls. We both considered that they were not Mutes, so they were either Whoopers or Bewicks. I made a futile attempt to get my scope up, but with Dave was calling out directions such as "they're about to disappear behind the wood" I didn't even see them again. Whichever species they were they would have been the second record for Morton Bagot, but with no positive identification they have to remain as a frustrating near miss.
We decided to take the road past Bannams Wood as most of the species I was missing were woodland birds. First to fall was Marsh Tit, as there was one on the feeders at the barn conversions. The walk along the road added three Goldcrests, and we ended up seeing at least 28 Long-tailed Tits. From within Bannams Wood came the sound of a singing Mistle Thrush, and a calling Treecreeper.
The walk back down through the fields took in the Tawny Owl in its usual spot, and we found that the Linnet flock had swelled to 200. They were being marauded by a female Sparrowhawk.
We were always going to walk through the marsh today, so we jumped the gate and soon added a couple of Meadow Pipits before we got to the really gloopy bit. A total of 24 Common Snipe flew out of the sedge, and eventually so did our main target, a single Jack Snipe.
We finally got to the flash field where at least 47 Teal were keeping company with 26 Black-headed Gulls, two Stonechats, and a Lapwing.
On the return journey we could see about 20 Greylag Geese and two Mute Swans behind a hedgerow, and counted 10 Siskins as they flew over.
I finally got my camera out.