I have started my winter surveys when the weather has been kind. Today I did another grid square and the explosives from the shells landing several kilometeres away resounded across the training area.  All I saw was a truck as I carried out my survey so no robotic vehicles to be seen despite all the trials going on.  I also led a walk across the area two Saturdays ago when it rained and became heavier so we stopped the walk and headed back to the cars. The rain became heavier as the morning progressed and though we stuck mainly to the woods there were no birds about.  Today there was lots of Hairy Rocket (Erucastrum gallicum) on the tracks of south facing woodland.  The past few days there has been birds from Raven to Goldcrest.  There have been corvids as well as Blue and Great Tits.  Near Vedette 3 there is a large flock of Fieldfares as well as a handful of Redwing, Chaffirch, Goldfinch, Corn Butning and Yellowhammer.  There are plenty of small flocks of Starling about that roost in the centre of the impact area at Chirton Gorse which is accesible when the flags are not flying. All the nest boxes in areas I have checked are missing lids especially where soliers have been sheltering.  I even went to Langford Lakes twitching and there were some colleagues there but no Caspian Gull.  There were quite a few Yellow-leg Gulls with the Lesser Black Backs so it was not a completely wasted short journey.  So far I have seen 46 species since my last missive and I am 203 species of bird for the year in UK (326 different birds in Europe).

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