Friday, 31 August 2012

Pitsford gulls

Hi

The gull roost at Pitsford Res off the yacht club this evening included a juvenile Mediterranean Gull (moulting to 1st winter), the 4th year Caspian Gull again, at least 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, plus 4 Curlews which headed off west and a drake Red-crested Pochard.

Regards

Neil M

Migrants, migrants, migrants!

Hi

Early this morning a good walk around Harrington Airfield provided 4-5 Redstarts, a Wheatear, 2 Whinchats, a Tree Pipit, a Garden Warbler (most appear to have gone now) and perhaps most surprising of all, a Nuthatch!  The Redstarts were well scattered but included the usual male by the first bunker, 1-2 at the third bunker, the female again just off the concrete track by the sparse wild bird cover and one at the roadside between the compound and the start of the concrete track.  Grey Partridges comprised of a pair plus a small covey.

Birds in hedging by the side of the most southerly Blueberry Farm field included a Redstart and 2-3 Whinchats (SP 728745), with 2 Hobby closer to Hanging Houghton.

Birds noted in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res this morning included a Tree Pipit, 2 Nuthatch (one caught and ringed), a Kingfisher, a Water Rail and a Spotted Flycatcher.  Small numbers of Yellow Wagtails and the first few migrant Meadow Pipits were noted moving south.

Regards

E & N



Thursday, 30 August 2012

Evening birds

Hi

Two Whinchats remained in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening, exploiting the vegetation alongside the brook to the south of the track.  Two Ravens flew up towards the village.

At Pitsford Res the 4th year Caspian Gull was again on a buoy off the yacht club and an Osprey fished 'The Narrows' which is between Catwalk Bay and The Pines.

Regards

E & N
Hi

Neil H was out on the Summer Leys reserve at Earls Barton GP this morning and saw the below Sacred Ibis fly over.  Other birds included yet another Marsh Harrier, a probable Wood Sandpiper in flight, a Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpipers, and a Peregrine was reported.

Neil M

Whinchats

Hi

This morning there were 3 Whinchats in brambles/weed stems adjacent to the track that runs alongside the southern-most Blueberry Farm field between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke (SP 730744).

Regards

Neil M

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Reservoir birding

Hi

This afternoon, inbetween the showers, birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton included 2 Whinchats, a Hobby and 2 Kingfishers.

Scanning from the causeway at Ravensthorpe Res revealed a pair of Red-crested Pochard, a Goldeneye, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls and 2 Swifts.

On next to Hollowell Res which produced 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, a Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpipers, ca9 Yellow Wagtails and 12 Common Terns.

Finally a late visit to the gull roost at Pitsford Res attracted 2 Mediterranean Gulls (2nd winter and a juvenile moulting to 1st winter), 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, 9 Common Terns and a Curlew flying over moving south.

E & N



Little Ringed Plover






'alba' Wagtail





Mallard and Shoveler






















Gadwall and Mallard and Teal and Shoveler

Harrington Airfield

Hi

This morning it seemed rather quiet for birds at Harrington Airfield but there were 2 Redstarts present (one in bushes by the first bunker walking from the chippings compound and the other in bushes just off the concrete track by the wild bird feed cover).

Regards

E & N

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Harrington & Stortons

Hi

Birds at Harrington Airfield this morning included a male Redstart, a Wheatear and 2 Turtle Doves.

At Stortons GP this evening a Swift briefly joined the pre-roost gathering of about 300 Swallows.  A couple of mist nets were sufficient to catch some 90 birds, the majority of which were Swallows.

Neil M

Monday, 27 August 2012

Brampton Valley migrants and CES

Hi

This morning there were 2 Whinchats, a Wheatear and a Redstart in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke, all in hedging close to the southern outskirts of the Blueberry Farm complex.  There was also a Marsh Harrier between Blueberry Farm and Maidwell village.

Also this morning the last Constant Effort Scheme ringing session of the season took place in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res.  Only low numbers of birds were captured but it did include a Tawny Owl and a Kingfisher (please see images below).

Adult Tawny Owls regularly keep their eyes mostly closed when being handled so no images of those fabulous liquid black eyes I'm afraid.  Kingfishers generally horizontally swivel their heads from side to side in slow motion when being handled in an almost mechanical fashion, and many will simply remain motionless in the palm of your hand when placed on their back!  The owl is an adult, first ringed some years ago at Pitsford (please note the variation in colours of its flight feathers indicating their differing ages).  The Kingfisher is a juvenile.

Regards

E & N




Sunday, 26 August 2012

Whinchats

Hi

A wander around the fields in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening was pleasant but quiet for birds.  However there were 3 Whinchats in vegetation alongside the brook to the south of the track.

Regards

E & N

Pied Fly

Hi 

Nick and Michael Wood were ringing near to Chase Park Farm, Yardley Hastings this morning which is one of their regular ringing sites. They were both surprised and delighted when they found a Pied Flycatcher in the mist net (please find images below courtesy of Michael).



The bird was in the area near to the old railway line reached by Chase Park Road and then progressing past the farm (near to where the Great Grey Shrike was earlier in the year).

In the meantime I was down in Hertfordshire this morning ringing at Hillfield Reservoir where a Redstart graced the nets (please see below images).  It was judged to be an adult female...




Friday, 24 August 2012

Hi

At about 1pm this afternoon a juvenile Marsh Harrier was hunting in the back of the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res.

At Harrington Airfield this afternoon the first year male Redstart was again present along the old airstrip between the compound and the first bunker, plus a Wheatear and 9 Yellow Wagtails.

Monitoring the gull roost at Pitsford Res this evening was worthwhile with the arrival of at least 3 Caspian Gulls (a juvenile, the regular 4th year and an adult), and at least 5 Yellow-legged Gulls.

The last few weeks has seen a leucistic Collared Dove in our garden at Hanging Houghton (please see below courtesy of Neil H)

Regards

Neil M







Thursday, 23 August 2012

More Swallows

Hi

A further ringing session took place this evening at Stortons GP, targeting the roosting Swallows.  Probably 3-400 gathered to roost in the reeds accompanied by small numbers of Sand Martins.  A late Swift joined the swarm for a short time whilst the hirundines were flying high.  In time the birds swept down to roost in the reeds and in excess of 100 birds were caught, the majority being Swallows, but with about a dozen Sand Martins and a handful of warblers too.  A few resident Cetti's Warblers and Water Rails were audible from the phragmites.

Regards

Neil M

Harrington

Hi

A two hour hike around the Blueberry Farm/Brampton Valley area yesterday evening in stunning light was incredibly quiet for birds and we failed to find the rather tatty male Marsh Harrier from the previous evening.

This morning (23rd) and a walk around the usual circuit at Harrington Airfield provided a migrant Tree Pipit which arrived at about 10.15am, flew around several times and then seemed to depart to the south.  Also still present was the first year male Redstart in bushes along the old airstrip between the chippings compound and the first bunker.  This is likely to be the elusive bird first seen at the end of July.  Today it was much more showy and calling well.

Regards

Neil M

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Pitsford

Hi

Yesterday afternoon (21st) and this morning (22nd) saw the first ringing session of the season at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station at Pitsford Res.  The main target was Tree Sparrows and 28 juveniles were caught and ringed.  The majority did not show post-juvenile moult which indicates that they were late brood birds from not far away.  Previous ringing data on Tree Sparrows occurring at the feed station has recorded at least two movements of birds linked to the East Yorkshire coast. Some 61 birds were caught in total which did include some common warblers too.

Also this morning a WeBS count was completed at Pitsford.  It was very quiet for both waterbirds and migrants.  The most notable birds were the two drake Red-crested Pochard which today were back in the Scaldwell Bay, a Goldeneye (Walgrave Bay) and any number of mobile Common Sandpipers (somewhere between 5-12).  Marsh and Willow Tits and Nuthatch remain on-site in small numbers on the reserve section.

Regards

E & N

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Evening birds

Hi

This evening a worn adult male Marsh Harrier appeared in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and sauntered off towards Cottesbrooke (7pm).

At Pitsford Res this afternoon a 4th year Caspian Gull and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull were visible north of the causeway, and both later re-appeared off the yacht club in the evening.  A Common Sandpiper was using the artificial islands outside Maytrees Hide.

Regards

E & N

Bits and pieces

Hi

Forgot to mention that yesterday afternoon (Monday 20th Aug), a brief stop on the causeway at Ravensthorpe Res was sufficient to confirm the continued presence of the female Red-crested Pochard, plus an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Green Sandpiper.

A short ringing session in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res this morning produced a modest catch of both migrant and resident birds.  Birds noted but not captured included several Yellow Wagtails and 3 Tree Pipits heading south overhead early morning, the two drake Red-crested Pochard, a Kingfisher and a Water Rail.

Birds at Harrington Airfield this morning included a juvenile Marsh Harrier (10am), between the end of the concrete track and the A14, and 2 Turtle Doves on the old (and now overgrown!) shooting wall on the LHS from the concrete track.

Regards

E & N

Monday, 20 August 2012

Swallows

Hi

A short ringing session took place at Stortons GP this evening.  A couple of days ago John Woollett witnessed a roost of 4 - 500 Swallows in the reedbed so this evening was all about trying to catch and ring some of these birds.  Some 50 birds were caught under John's stewardship, together with several reed-loving warblers which included a fine Cetti's.

Regards

Neil M

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Pitsford Ringing

Hi

This morning a CES ringing session took place in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res.  Sixty-four birds were captured, a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher perhaps being the scarcest bird caught and ringed.  The improvement in numbers is presumably due to successful later broods of breeding birds and immigrant warblers.

Other birds noted included a single Crossbill and two Nuthatch.

Below is a couple of images of an adult male Great Spotted Woodpecker that was caught.  The wing picture hopefully depicts the unusual moult strategy with the browner primary coverts and primaries and secondaries being replaced with blacker feathers.  Although it is not easy to see, this birds was moulting its secondaries inwards from both the inner and outer secondaries at the same time.  The adults of most smaller birds commence their moult strategy following the exodus of their young or at whatever stage their breeding cycle concludes for the year.




Saturday, 18 August 2012

Ditchford

Hi

Not long in from completing a very warm WeBS count at Ditchford GP!  Masses of insects on the wing in this very warm weather but not much in the way of birds.  I guess the best was a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Common Sandpipers, a Greenshank, 28 Snipe, just a single Kingfisher (most years we would expect double figures at this time), 4 Cetti's Warblers and three broods of Tufted Ducks.

Dragonflies were very conspicuous with large numbers of Brown Hawker, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, Ruddy Darter and Migrant Hawker, with just a couple of Southern Hawker.  Large numbers of Banded Demoiselle were on the wing with even more Common Blue and Red-eyed Damselflies and smaller numbers of Blue-tailed Damselfly.  Plenty of butterflies too and even a Common Blue butterfly which are exceptionally scarce this year.

At Pitsford Res this afternoon, birds visible from the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station included a Black Tern, two drake Red-crested Pochard and a Goldeneye.

Regards

E & N

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Evening update

Hi

Further birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening involved a particularly dark juvenile Marsh Harrier, a male Peregrine and a Green Sandpiper.

Birds visible from the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station at Pitsford Res during the early evening included a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 2 drake Red-crested Pochard (in the Scaldwell Bay for a change), a Goldeneye and a Common Sandpiper.

Regards

N & E

Harrington birds

Hi

This morning the Turtle Dove was again at Harrington Airfield in the sparse wild bird cover just off the concrete track (on the RHS and behind the bunker next to the concrete track).  Also present in the same area was a Redstart and a Hobby.

This morning there were 2 Kingfishers along the brook in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and Linnets and Skylarks were flocking up on the harvested oil seed rape fields there.

Regards

E

Black Terns

Hi,

Thirteen Black Terns were visible from the feed station at Pitsford on Tuesday morning.  The birds were very mobile feeding up and down the Scaldwell Bay, occasionally rising skyward in a group before returning to feeding.




The moth traps were again quiet with a few of the catch illustrated below.










On the butterfly front Small Coppers were evident as well as the first Common Blue I have seen on the reserve this year.  Sadly it wouldn't settle for me to photograph, the Small Copper however posed nicely.


Regards,

          Neil H.




Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Brampton Valley birds

Hi

Birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton today included a male Peregrine, a Barn Owl and 2 Golden Plovers but no passerines of note...

Regards

Eleanor

Monday, 13 August 2012

Difficult birding!

Hi

It has been hard work today to find much of note, despite covering quite a bit of ground.

At Pitsford Res this morning there were 5 Swifts and 3 Spotted Flycatchers visible from the yacht club, plus at least one Yellow-legged Gull.

Harrington Airfield seemed quiet with very few migrant passerines.  The best was a single Lesser Whitethroat and a juvenile Turtle Dove on the scant cover crop between the concrete track and the old airstrip. 

The Brampton Valley between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton was pretty devoid of migrants this morning; all in all suggesting a considerable move-out last night of many birds in this area of the county.

At Pitsford Res this afternoon, a hint of change with a dapper juvenile Arctic Tern fraternising with the Common Terns north of the causeway (still present at 4pm), and both a Hobby and a male Peregrine hunting there.

Regards

E & N

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Blueberry Redstarts

Hi

This afternoon there were 2 Redstarts with a mobile group of Whitethroats at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell, in the northern-most field with the central ditch system.   Also present at this site was a Barn Owl, 2 Hobby and a Wheatear.

Birds visible from the yacht club at Pitsford Res this evening included a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 4 Yellow-legged Gulls and at least one Spotted Flycatcher.

Regards

E & N

Brampton Valley birds

Good morning!

Birding in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke this morning in a rather stiff easterly breeze provided a Corn Bunting, a Tree Pipit, a Golden Plover and a Reed Warbler.  The pipit was associating with Meadow Pipits in fields adjacent to the southern-most Blueberry Farm field and the bunting was in much the same place.  A pair of Whitethroats were watched still busily feeding young in the nest there.

Regards

Neil M

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Harrington

Hi

A walk at Harrington Airfield this afternoon produced at least one Redstart on the old airstrip in the vicinity of the first bunker.  What sounded like another bird was calling from deep cover, audible from the main concrete track.  There was also a Hobby present and a Turtle Dove on the old airstrip between the second and third bunkers.

E & N

Bits and pieces

Hi

Birds in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke this morning included 2 Whinchats and a number of other passage migrants.  There were 4 Kingfishers at the brook by the track.

Nearby, birds over the garden at Hanging Houghton involved 2 Crossbills, 2 Siskins and 2 Hobby with a Nuthatch nearby.

The Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res attracted a Greenshank, a Water Rail, a Kingfisher and a Nuthatch.

Regards



Friday, 10 August 2012

Birds of the margins

Hi

Birds in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res today included two drake Red-crested Pochards, a Green Sandpiper and a somewhat surprising Water Rail.

Up to six Spotted Flycatchers were visible at Lamport Hall this afternoon.

A wander around the Nene Barrage at Clifford Hill GP this evening failed to locate the Sacred Ibis present earlier.  The off-road motorcycles and quad bikes beat us to it!

Regards

E & N

Pitsford Moths

Hi,

A few nice moths were present in the reservoir moth traps this morning including Buff Arches lots of Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings and an immigrant Silver Y, as well as the usual Dark Arches.


A nice selection of Prominents (Pale, Swallow, Lesser Swallow and Pebble) were trapped as well. 


A walk in the Walgrave Bay after I had finished at the traps was quite quiet with 2 eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard and a Green Sandpiper being the only birds of note, no sign of the Marsh Harrier or any Ospreys.

Plenty of Ruddy Darters are on the wing at present as well as Four-spotted Chasers in the Walgrave pond.


The Buddleas at the Lodge are proving an irresistible draw to butterflies at the moment with a selection of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and various White's in attendance.

      TTFN

         Neil H.

Chats about

Hi

Yesterday evening (Thursday 9th) a Redstart was located in a hedge in the Brampton Valley between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton.  This morning it wasn't located but 2 Wheatears, a Reed Warbler and a Hobby were in the same area...

Regards

E & N

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The chats have arrived!

Hi

This morning there were 6 Whinchats and 2 Wheatears in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke.  There were also 2 more Whinchats on the Brampton Valley Way near Brixworth.

A CES ringing session took place at Pitsford Res this morning with over 40 passerines being caught in the Scaldwell Bay.  Local juvenile Wrens and migrant Willow Warblers, in all probability from northern Britain, were the dominant species.

Other birds noted included 2 Ospreys over at 11.40am, a Green Sandpiper, a Kingfisher and a Nuthatch.

The warm weather brought out plenty of butterflies and other insects which included many Essex Skippers, Ruddy Darters and hover-flies; also with singles of Southern and Migrant Hawker.

Regards

E & N

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Raven Heaven!

Hi

This morning saw us venture to the Daventry area and our first venue was Borough Hill Country Park.  It was murky and drizzly, sometimes ideal conditions for locating downed migrants, but not today!  There were no birds of note, the nature highlight perhaps being the fabulous swathes of Harebells which grow liberally amongst the rough pasture here.

A walk next around Daventry Country Park and a similar story again.  Like many reservoirs at this time of the year, viewing the water and margins is difficult due to the extensive vegetation, and apart from a Nuthatch and very good numbers of Cormorants and Common Terns, no birds of note were seen.

Next then to Catesby, a rural location between the villages of Staverton and Hellidon which is surely the best place in the county to see Raven.  We were not disappointed with at least 23 very active and vocal birds showing well.  They played out the traditional game of  'annoy/intimidate the local Common Buzzards' and rolled and 'cronked' in their usual manner.  Also present was a Hobby, a Little Owl and 1-2 Kingfisher(s).

Fawsley Park hosted a family party of Spotted Flycatcher, a Little Owl, a Green Sandpiper and a calling Water Rail.

A  brief stop at Ravensthorpe Res this afternoon was sufficient to see a female Red-crested Pochard and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.  Nearby at Hollowell Res, the water is beginning to recede and provided just enough in the way of muddy margins to attract an Oystercatcher and a Common Sandpiper.

On returning home we found our buddleias alive with freshly-emerged Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, no doubt they will enjoy the next forecast period of sunny and warm weather!

Regards

E & N (pics below)



Adult Black-headed Gull in post-breeding moult






Ravens!


Red-crested Pochard


Grasshopper sp

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

August wildlife

Hi

Birds at Pitsford Res today were much as the last week or so.  A juvenile Marsh Harrier hunted north of the causeway from 3pm, even harrying waterfowl out in the open water.  This bird exhibited a bright cream crown with a similarly coloured throat and paleness extending a little on to the leading edge of the wing.  Although they were hidden for much of the day, 2 drake Red-crested Pochard showed briefly in the Walgrave Bay.  There were at least 6 nomadic Crossbills, a Kingfisher, a Common Sandpiper and a Nuthatch also present on the reserve.  Please see images of Pitsford wildlife below...

This evening there was a juvenile Marsh Harrier over Clint Hill at Hanging Houghton and a Barn Owl deeper in the valley.  A single Grey Partridge near Hanging Houghton was chaperoning 2 half-grown young.

Regards

E & N





Great Crested Grebes with their little 'striped humbugs'


Common Blue Damselfly




Juvenile Marsh Harrier with Common Tern escort!


Small Copper


Gatekeeper


Roselle's Bush-cricket

Monday, 6 August 2012

Autumn birding

Hi

This morning birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton included a Red Kite, a juvenile Peregrine, 2 Golden Plovers and 2 Ravens.

At 7.35pm this evening a juvenile Marsh Harrier was hunting over cereal fields between the village of Old and Pitsford Res.  This bird appeared different to the original Pitsford bird inasmuch that its crown seemed much duller and the bird itself seemed broader-winged and potentially a little larger.

A few birds noted at Pitsford Res in the vicinity of the yacht club this evening included a Yellow-legged Gull, about 4 Common Sandpipers and a Greenshank.

Regards

E & N

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A bit of a blank day!

Hi

Today was one of those days which didn't go quite right!  I skilfully avoided seeing three good raptors at Pitsford (Marsh Harrier and 2 Ospreys) and was unable to find much different locally.  Birds noted at Pitsford Res included the three Red-crested Pochards (still in Walgrave Bay), a 4th year Yellow-legged Gull, a Dunlin and 2 Oystercatchers.  I think the highlight was witnessing three juvenile Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Blackcap in our small back garden before the big showers hit.

Regards

Neil

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Local update

Hi

An Osprey and 1-2 juvenile Marsh Harrier(s) were north of the causeway at Pitsford Res this morning.  Only one harrier was seen at any one time but it seems that there is variation in head markings (one duller than the other).  Hopefully someone will see the two together to confirm...

Two Ravens 'played' with Common Buzzards over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this morning and a number of Spotted Flyctachers seen included two family parties at Dale Farm, Maidwell.

Regards

E & N

Friday, 3 August 2012

Back Garden Wildlife

Sometimes the back garden is all it needs to soak up some local wildlife...


Comma


Small Tortoiseshell


House Sparrows