Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Thrushes, Sparrowhawks and owls

Yesterday I went for an early morning amble around Blueberry Farm area. The field hedges were alive with the excited chatter from Redwings and Fieldfares. I love just listening to them and it was whilst I was standing there that I heard the much harsher "chak chak" call of a Ring Ouzel. Hearing it was the easy part as the bird was reluctant to show itself.  It was about 15 minutes before a male Rouzel popped up on the hedge and sat in full view for a while.  

A visit to Harrington Airfield late morning was quite productive. As I wandered through the bushes I disturbed a Short-eared Owl. There were a pair of Stonechat at the third bunker and a Brambling flew over calling.

Kenny Cramer and his helpers were at Linford ringing. A small catch of 31 birds of 14 species due to the bright and breezy conditions and fewer nets used.  In the thrush department there were 4 Redwings, 3 Blackbirds and a Song Thrush.  Warblers were represented by just 2 Blackcap and 1 Chiffchaff.  But it was the raptors which provided the most excitement beginning with a pre dawn capture of a Tawny Owl. This was followed by 2 Sparrowhawks, a male and female giving the opportunity to observe the considerable size difference between the sexes.

Regards Eleanor


Tawny Owl.



Sparrowhawks.

Images courtesy of
Kenny Cramer.


Monday, 26 October 2020

Islay images

Hello

Just a few images from the current Naturetrek Islay/Jura tour...

Regards

Neil M


Barnacle Geese.


Twite.

First year Pale-bellied
Brent Goose.

Adult Pale-bellied
Brent Goose.

Red-throated Diver.

Roe Deer.




Sunday, 25 October 2020

Quiet Days

Lack of birds, problems with the internet connection and agility training means that this will be a very short blog. Personally I have seen very little apart from a pair of Stonechat below Hanging Houghton and a noticable presence of Skylarks, Redwings and Fieldfares.

Eric visited Titchmarsh Reserve today and saw a single Great White Egret at least 20 Little Egrets and a pair of Stonechat. Also a couple of Common Darter on the wing.

There appear to be two small flocks of Pink Footed Geese in the county, 4 on the Titchmarsh Reserve and 7 at Hollowell Reservoir.

If you are anywhere near Summer Leys Reserve in the evening keep your eyes peeled for the acrobatic and mesmerising display courtesy of a large murmuration of Starlings. 

Regards Eleanor

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Autumn Glory

The only problem with going on holiday for a few weeks is that it takes a few days to catch up. The last couple of days have been spent doing the mundane chores of shopping, washing, opening the mail etc etc.  Hopefully I am now up to date.

Today I managed a fair amount of birding and it was lovely to be out and about on such a glorious day.  My first outing was an early run where I noted a pair of Stonechat below Hanging Houghton and good numbers of skylark, starlings, corvids and winter thrushes feeding on the newly sown crop fields.

I had to go to Duston late morning and my route took me past Harlestone Firs so it seemed the perfect opportunity to stop off for a walk. I very nearly didn't stop as there were so many cars parked on the road near the entrance, but my two young collies needed a walk so the decision was made for me.  Once I got off the main track I hardly met anyone. All I can say is "wow", the trees looked magnificent in their autumn colours, such a wonderful mixture of green, reds, orange, yellows and gold, although I think that the best is yet to come. Probably in a couple of weeks time the trees will look at their best. I must remember to take my camera !!  After a 2 hour amble I had notched up quite a list of birds including 4 Crossbills, 2 Ravens, Chiffchaff, pr Stonechat , Jays and at least three large mixed tit flocks.  The other thing that I noticed was the amount of different fungi present. A lovely array of shapes, colours and sizes. Such a shame that I didn't know all their names, perhaps I need to put this on my "to do" list !!!

As it was such a beautiful afternoon I went to Harrington Airfield where again the autumn colours of the bushes/trees contrasted against the deep rich brown earth of the deeply ploughed fields creating a stunning backdrop. All the while I was there small flocks of Golden Plover were flying around and filling the air with their evocative calls. They settled on the fields between the airfield and Lamport and a rough estimate was 200 birds.  Plenty of Redwings and Fieldfares in the bushes plus a single Chiffchaff.  I came across a pair of Stonechat near bunker 3 and as I stood scanning the fields picked up a male Merlin hunting the numerous skylarks.

It was no great surprise to find a few butterflies on the wing today. I saw Speckled Wood, Peacock and 2 Red Admirals in a sunny sheltered spot near the dam at Pitsford..


Regards Eleanor

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Loch Hogganfield

Hello

Ahead of a Naturetrek tour to the islands of Islay and Jura, I took the opportunity to pop to Loch Hogganfield on the outskirts of Glasgow today. Although raining for some of the time, this site provides some excellent opportunities for photographing habituated wild birds coming for regular food hand-outs!

Regards

Neil M


Goosander.

First calendar year
Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Second calendar year
Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Tufted Duck.



Juvenile Whooper Swan.

Adult Whooper Swan.


Monday, 19 October 2020

Back from the Scillies

Hello

Kenny and team committed to a bout of bird ringing at Linford Lakes, Milton Keynes yesterday which resulted in 91 birds of 19 species being processed, the majority of which were new birds. The highlights were 5 Blackbirds, 7 Song Thrushes, 16 Redwings, 8 Chiffchaffs, a Cetti's Warbler, a Blackcap, 2 Moorhens, 4 Goldcrests and singles of Siskin, Meadow Pipit, Treecreeper, Goldfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

A Great White Egret was also on site and non avian interest included Grass Snake, Great Crested and Common Newts and Toads.

Regards

Neil M


Male Siskin courtesy
of Kenny Cramer.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
courtesy of Kenny Cramer.

Bishop Lighthouse Isles of Scilly.

Pied Flycatcher, St Mary's
Isles of Scilly.

Stonechat, St Martin's,
Isles of Scilly.

An electric vehicle on
Tresco, the Isles of Scilly
called Boris!


Saturday, 17 October 2020

The Scillies Photo Diary Part 3

Hello

A few more images from the latter half of our three week stay on the Scillies. The weather improved and the storms from the west brought in some American birds. During the last week the weather system emanated from the east and this brought migrants from the continental shelf mostly from northern climes. October also brought the usual influx of birders to the isles and the extra eyes ensured more birds were found...

Neil M


Barred Warbler.

Common Rosefinch.

Boat trips Covid-19 style!

Great Black-backed Gull.

Hugh Town, St Mary's,
Isles of Scilly.


Merlin.



Tuesday, 13 October 2020

The Scillies Photo Diary Part 2

Hello

The main issue relating to the Scillies this autumn is the weather! Gale force winds have swept the islands for over a week! The wind direction has been from the north and west and like much of the mainland it has been accompanied with plenty of rain too! Few birds have left the island albeit many have arrived since the weather abated. Fortunately there are quite a few common birds on the islands so at times like this I go about trying to photograph some of the common species, some of which are more common than on the mainland.

Regards

Neil M


Female Blackbird digging
in the beach for invertebrates.

Dunnock consuming a
Crane Fly.

Male House Sparrow.

The dogs are enjoying
the beaches - Jaeger covered
in sand.



Lapland Bunting, also having
just consumed a Crane Fly!








Thursday, 1 October 2020

The Scillies Photo Diary Part 1

Hello

Apologies for the lack of blogs recently, unfortunately our current accommodation does not permit a WiFi/Internet facility. We have been in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly for the past week and are currently bracing ourselves for gale force winds tomorrow and a wet week ahead! Nevertheless the last week has been good where perhaps sea-birds and waders have dominated but hopefully with good passerines to come...

Regards

Neil M


Dotterel.


Semi-palmated Sandpiper.


Sanderling.

Turnstone.

Common Snipe.


Gannets.


Great Skua.

Sooty Shearwater.



Wednesday, 23 September 2020

End of the 'Indian Summer'

Hello

Limited opportunities for birding today but the Ravens were noisy around the village this morning!

A change in the weather clearly influenced the number of passerines seen today and Eleanor's wanderings didn't produce any lingering Common Redstarts or chats.

Steve Fisher managed to count an excellent ten Cattle Egrets leaving their roost at Stanwick Pits this morning, the roost also included nineteen Little Egrets and two Great Whites too.

Yesterday's Wood Sandpiper was still on the scrape at Summer Leys LNR this morning as was a Great White Egret.

A flock of eleven Ring-necked Parakeets in the grounds of St Andrews Hospital, Northampton was notable.

A Dunnock ringed as a juvenile in Greens Norton village on 9th May 2012 was taken by a cat in the same village on or about 19th September this year. An all too familiar outcome for these ground-dwelling birds but this Dunnock was very long-lived at over eight years old (the current longevity record in the UK is ten years seven months).

Regards

Neil M


The humble Dunnock.
Image courtesy of
Dave Jackson.

Ring-necked Parakeets
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

The fabulous Blue Tit.
With the adults just concluding
their post-breeding moult and the 
youngsters just finishing their post juvenile
moult, these familiar little birds are
 once again looking glamorous!
Image courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and surely
a passage individual is due to be found in
 the county any day now?
Image courtesy of Robin Gossage.