Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Local birding

I spent a couple of hours at Harrington airfield first thing this morning. The bushes were quiet and the Whitethroats and Willow Warblers have dwindled down to just a couple of birds. Their place has been taken by an ever increasing flock of Linnet and Goldfinch, probably numbering about 200 birds, quite a sight and sound.
A single Turtle Dove was present and a Marsh Harrier hunting over the "game cover" towards the pond, plus 2 Red Kite and numerous Kestrels and Common Buzzard.
A word of warning if you are planning a visit to Harrington as they are busy turning the fields and muck spreading.  It absolutely stinks, it is quite stomach churning and also the main concrete track is covered in it. My main problem this morning was trying to birdwatch whilst stopping one of my collies from rolling in it......I think it is his favourite perfume!!!
I then spent quite a while at Pitsford  as I still think that it has great potential. The problem is that the birds are well scattered. I started at the dam where there were literally hundreds of swallows adorning the wires as they prepare to head south.  On a muddy spit below the Pitsford village carpark there were 2 Ruff, a Greenshank, 2 Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper.
I fed the birds at the feeding station and noted that there was a good number of Tree Sparrows, plus Yellow Hammers, Greenfinches and Goldfinches.
I then headed down the back of the Scaldwell Bay and from the new James Fisher Hide there were a group of 6 Little Egret sitting in a cluster, looking as if they were having a conversation with each other !! Also from here 2 Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Red Crested Pochard and a Goldeneye.  The numbers of Gadwall, Wigeon and Shovelar appear to have increased.  There was also a male Ruddy Duck.  From here I walked around the back of the bay and just beyond the ringing hut I flushed a Tree Pipit, I don't know who was more surprised, me or it .
The Walgrave Bay looked quite empty of wildfowl, but there were at least 4 other Little Egret present.
A walk from the causeway to the gorsebushes was quiet apart from 2 further Greenshank, 2 or 3 Common Sandpiper and at least 3 Little Egret !  I've no idea how many Little Egret are present at the moment.
This evening I spent in the valley below HH and walked to Blueberry Farm.  A single Wheatear was perched on the stack of bales and there were at least 6 Whinchat flitting about on the tall grass stems/small bushes in the southern most field of Blueberry.

Regards Eleanor
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