First stop was Rufford Country Park in Nottinghamshire. This is a reliable site for my first target of the day: Hawfinch. Birds are usually to be found around the main car park, but unfortunately on Monday there was some work going on in the site, and so the birds weren't in the area. After an hour, however, I managed to pick one up as it flew in and landed at the top of a tall tree.
Next up was the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, which is part of the Lound Gravel Pits complex. where a Slavonian Grebe had been sighted.
Last stop of the day was the wonderful RSPB Blacktoft Sands reserve. My main target was Hen Harrier, which is a winter visitor to the reserve. The birds come in to roost on site, so I had to wait 'til the end of the day to see this species, but it was well worth it. Whilst waiting I also managed to catch up with a few other species, including a flock of Twite that have been feeding in and around the car park for most of the winter.
Also present were 4 Marsh Harriers, an immature Scaup, 2 female Goldeneye, loads of Tree Sparrows, flocks of Pink-footed Geese and 20+ Snipe.
Year List update:
95 - Hawfinch96 – Slavonian Grebe
97 - Tree Sparrow
98 - Twite
99 - Pink-footed Goose
101 - Scaup
102 - Marsh Harrier
103 - Hen Harrier