Sunday, 15 July 2018

Pitsford CBC


The last Common Bird Census of the year was completed at Pitsford Reservoir today, concentrating on the reserve north of the causeway.

A Garganey was seen briefly in the Walgrave Bay, a Little Ringed Plover flew over, there were two Common Sandpipers and a Little Egret on the causeway and singles of Yellow-legged Gull and Raven were noted.

Marsh Tits seemed to well scattered throughout the reserve suggesting they may have enjoyed a good breeding season, but just a single Willow Tit was noted in the Scaldwell Bay. A brood of Tufted Ducks nicely confirmed breeding and there were Mute Swan, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Coot and Moorhen all with well-grown young.

At least eighteen species of butterfly were on the wing which included Purple Hairstreak, Marbled White and Painted Lady and seven species of dragonfly which included several of the bold and inquisitive Southern Hawkers, definitely one of my favourites! A Hummingbird Hawk-Moth was noted at Hanging Houghton this afternoon.

Eric Graham's wander at Thrapston Pits today provided views of two Great White Egrets and two Green Sandpipers on the north side of Aldwincle Lake plus at least eight Little Egrets and plenty of common warblers on show.

A pair of Grey Partridge were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening and a freshly killed Tawny Owl towards Blueberry Farm had been eaten down to it's breastbone.


Neil M

Male Reed Bunting
in song.

Common Buzzard in
early morning sunshine.

Great Crested Grebes.

Juvenile Wren.

Purple Hairstreak.

All images taken at
Pitsford Reservoir today.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Birds of mid July


Kenny, Sarah and Nick supported the Shenley Wood Nature Day at Milton Keynes today by providing a bird ringing demonstration. Visitors enjoyed seeing common birds in the hand which nearly included a Sparrowhawk but sadly this avian hunter spent only seconds in the mist net before flying off.

More typical birds included 18 Blue Tits, 15 Great Tits, 2 Marsh Tits, a Wren, 5 Robins, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap.

Birds of note today included a calling Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Hanging Houghton and this evening at least one Whimbrel was heard calling whilst flying south over the Bird Club Hide at Pitsford Reservoir.


Neil M

Juvenile Marsh Tit.
Image courtesy of
Kenny Cramer.

Courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Small birds, a frog and a cow!


Last few images from Scotland are as below...

An interesting ringing recovery relates to a young Goldfinch caught and ringed by Chris Payne at Greens Norton in October 2017 which was then seen in the field and the ring details read (somehow!) at Nogent-sur-Vernisson in the Loiret region of France (south of Paris) in March this year. The distance between the two locations is 550km with the bird having travelled in a SSE direction and with a period of 153 days duration between the two data sets.

It would be tempting to suggest that this Goldfinch was on its way south and stopped of at Chris's garden for a food stop and subsequently wintered in the south of France or even into Iberia and was on it's way back when sighted in early spring. Many British Goldfinches now winter in the UK, assisted with the provision of niger and sunflower feeders, but traditionally they often left the UK and wintered in Portugal and Spain.

Bethan and Jacob noted two Yellow-legged Gulls in the small and recently-formed gull roost at Pitsford Reservoir this evening...


Neil M

Lesser Redpoll.

Sedge Warbler.

Common Frog.

Highland Moo!

Whitethroat (and fence)!

Twite (and fence)!


Thursday, 12 July 2018

More West Highlands images


Some more images from the Ardnamurchan Peninsular and the Treshnish Isles from May this year...


Neil M

Grey Heron.


'Bridled' Common Guillemot.




Pine Marten.

Grasshopper Warbler.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

More images from the West Highlands


Some time spent at Harrington Airfield this morning provided views of Turtle Dove and a reasonable number of Linnets, Whitethroats and Willow Warblers which included juvenile birds. Of the butterflies, Small Copper and Marbled White were probably the best.

With numerous trips away this spring I am still formatting images and the following come from two weeks in May when I was fortunate to again be on the Ardnamurchan Peninsular on the west side of Scotland, from which we undertook a couple of boat trips on the Hebridean Sea to the Treshnish Islands...


Neil M

Juvenile Song Thrush.

A standard sheep fence is
no real obstacle for a Red Deer!


Otter with prey.


Adult Song Thrush.


Red Deer.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

More ringing recoveries


Two Turtle Doves were still present at Harrington Airfield this afternoon and at Pitsford Reservoir the Spotted Flycatchers by the Fishing Lodge now have youngsters. Autumnal birds by the Sailing Club this afternoon included two adult Common Gulls and there was also two Yellow-legged Gulls (adult and an early juvenile).

Three ringing recoveries have been received as follows:-

1. An adult male Black-headed Gull was ringed in Germany at a place called Inseln Bohmke und Werder on 21st May 2017 and was then seen in the field at Pitsford Reservoir by Dave Jackson on 19th January this year;

2. A juvenile Reed Warbler was ringed at Stanford Reservoir on 31st July 2015 and this bird was trapped in a mist net at Stortons Pits on 24th June this year when identified as an adult male. 1059 days elapsed between the two captures and although the two sites are only 24km from each other this bird will have travelled to and wintered somewhere in Africa during the last three winters;

3. An adult Collared Dove was caught and ringed at Greens Norton on 1st April 2014 and was found freshly dead at Greens Norton on 14th June this year. In stark contrast to the Reed Warbler, it is likely that the dove rarely left Greens Norton during the last four years!


Neil M

The Black-headed Gull
as seen and photographed
by Dave Jackson.

Monday, 9 July 2018

More images from Norway


A few more images from the trip to Norway last month...


Neil M

Male Whinchat.

Moskenes, Lofoten Isles.


Common Gull.

Preening Magpie.

Hooded Crow.


Oystercatcher and Fieldfare
on fish drying racks.

Fishing boat and gulls.

Sperm Whale.

Arctic Skua.