Black-tailed Godwit at Wilstone Reservoir
College Lake was almost empty and it seems as Wilstone has drawn all the waders and other birds to congregate there into larger numbers as winter flocks are beginning to gather. As a result the only birds of note were 57 Canada Geese and a surprise Hobby that banked over the hide outside the visitor centre but then flew out of sight in a southerly direction.
IVINGHOE HILLS (INCOMBE HOLE)
The plan was for us to sit at the edge of Incombe hole for the rest of our trip and try our luck for the long-staying but temperamental Redstarts that were apparently present on the south-western side of the downs. The first birds to turn up were 2 Ravens (a surprise site for the location and my first ever local bird), 3 Kestrels, 1 Red Kite and Yellowhammers. Unfortunately we also came across a dead Polecat that seemed to have died of natural causes as no signs of injury or blood were present, the number of flies and variety of detritus feeders already feeding on the carcass indicated it had died relatively recently as early as yesterday or the day before, it was situated on the northern bank of Incombe Hole just under a kilometer from the nearest road (I'm open to any opinions as to its cause of death).
dead Polecat at Steps Hill
After searching since 1:30 and waiting for over an hour we were eventually rewarded with spectacular views of a ♀ Redstart perched in a hedge in the very northern most corner of the Valley!
footage of the female Redstart taken by my brother and I in Incombe Hole