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Oxon Birding Weblog: Blenheim twenty fourth January

Peregrine – 2 on the monument this morning. The female with a full crop and some bloodied breast feathers.

Wigeon – 8

Great white egret – 3

Little egret – 2

Woodstock Water Meadows

Pintail – 2

Wigeon – 10+

Teal – 50+

Gadwall – 20+

Snipe – 3

The area I would call the meadows comprises everything in the red area. The river Glyme flows through it and at the moment it is flooded. You can walk through part of it shown on the bottom of the map, but the majority is off limits. The yellow area adjacent is the new plantation area created by Blenheim Estate. It’s surrounded by deer fence but has a number of gates and they have created some permissive paths through it. The blue line is the walk I typically do through it and the adjacent fields. There is a footpath north out of Old Woodstock through fields up towards the farm. These fields I believe may well be built on so they have been left unmanaged and consequently are great for wintering passerines. 100s of yellowhammers, good numbers of linnets, reed buntings, skylarks and a few corn buntings. I’ve also seen Merlin and barn owls and heard grey partridges. The blue arrow is where you can overlook some of the meadows which is marked as a private nature reserve (I believe the owner of the farm has control of this). That is where I saw the pintail other ducks today. Overall a great piece of habitat, but I fear some won’t remain for much longer.

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