The clocks going forward didn't deter the prospect of a monthly bird race with Yvonne with an aim at cracking 80 species? An early, misty dawn drive to the Longmynd got some decent 'tricky' birds under the belt with Longnor Dipper en-route, double figures Red Grouse seen with a couple of close flyovers and the first two Stonechat of the year - both males.
Venus Pool added Green Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Skylark, Common Snipe and another year tick - Grey Wagtail on the bridge at Cound Stank. With plenty of common species over these two sites, we left VP with 52 in the bag! Atcham produced the first two Sand Martins of the year, Goosander and the traditional bogey bird was laid to rest - a Jay!!
Shirlett kept the momentum going with a large flock of 40+ Lesser Redpoll, Goldcrest, Nuthatch and a surprise calling Tawny Owl! The Bridgnorth area added Little Owl, Peregrine and a long awaited Kestrel for a 68 lunchtime tally!
As ever though, with all the easier birds are in the bag, early afternoon turned into the usual struggle. The Allscot area did the business with Wigeon, Gadwall and an unexpected Redshank! Green Sandpiper was finally caught up with here too! The 80 mark was looking plain sailing with Red-legged Partridge and Corn Bunting nailed but nothing else. An apparent easy tick turned into a flyoff (Little Ringed Plover reported that morning) making the return visit to VP a pointless affair which just left the trip to the Meres our final option.
Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gull at Wood Lane plus Goldeneye at Colemere were to be the last new birds of the day! Not a single Common Gull to be seen anywhere and Whixall Moss was virtually birdless!
Oh well, 76 is still a decent tally for the time of year with three year ticks along the way and a few 'ideas' for an April attempt at the ton! We shall see.......