Well I spent Christmas and Boxing Day slumped in front of the telly enjoying a few wines and so on so thought I'd better go out today and get some air.
Went to Deadman's hill first and met a couple of guys hoping for one of the Merlins. Although it was fairly warm and the sun was trying to break through, birds were pretty scarce, and largely distant. One or two Kites and Buzzards were on the ground and at least three Kestrel were hoevring. A large flock of Fieldfare were on the eastern ridge and we had fly by Skylark and Linnet on a regular basis.
The Icknield Way at Therfield was much better. Walked down from the village encountering thrushes and larks on a regular basis. A nice female kestrel posed on a bush.
Further down I encountered a birder looking at a grey blob in the hedge-it looked like the Great Grey Shrike and we were joined by a couple of others and watched it for a bit. A distant blob on a hedge was believed to be a Short Eared Owl, so we thought but my photo being only a few pixels in size looked more like a Buzzard which would be more likely perched up like this.
We moved down the track closer to the Shrike which was buried deep in the bushes and one of the guys with a scope said it looked more like a ball, so I went down and retrieved the remains of a tennis ball exactly the same shade of grey as a Great Grey Shrike!. Luckily to save further embarrassment all three of the wintering Hen Harriers put on a good show for us, though none really came close enough to my camera.
On the way back to the village we encountered Grey and Red Legged Partridge, Golden Plover and Lapwing, as well as several red Kites, so despite one or two dodgy observations it was not a bad morning.