Hail's View

 I arrived at Hail's View at dawn this morning for probably my last birding trip for a few days, given the weather forecast. There were a lot of Fallow Deer about including a very impressive, and noisy, stag. It was nice to see 2 Barn Owls out hunting at the same time. As the light started to improve a group of 4 small birds came over, heading north, which I thought were Crossbills by their call, but they were quite high so it was faint. Shortly after 4 noisy Crossbills did come over, heading in the same direction, and this satisfied me that I was correct in my earlier suspicion. A little while later another Crossbill call was heard but I didn't get visuals so not sure how many there were. A few Meadow Pipits were also about, as well as a single Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, and a Chiffchaff was seen in the trees around the viewpoint. Scanning distantly over the mid brooks I spotted a small hawk which glided low and then perched up on a post with its tail fanned out. It was very distant, but the tail was quite heavily barred and I could tell it wasn't a Kestrel; I just needed to rule out Sparrowhawk to confirm it was a Merlin. Thankfully it was flushed by a Crow and moved to a different post where I got a profile view and made out a moustachial striped and could therefore rule out Sparrowhawk.

Barn Owl

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