Saturday, 30 November 2013

Week-end foray


Birds noted at Pitsford Reservoir today included 2 Great White Egrets, at least 16 Red-crested Pochard, 2 Redshank, a drake Pintail south of the causeway and a Woodcock.

Blueberry Farm continued to host 2 Stonechat, 2-3 Woodcock, 2 Ravens, a Barn Owl, 2 Red Kites, a female Peregrine and still large numbers of winter thrushes.

At least ten Bramblings were on the seed at Harrington Airfield, at the concrete track entrance off the Draughton Road.  Small numbers of fidgety redpoll sp were present at all three sites.


Eleanor, Neil H and Neil M

Friday, 29 November 2013

Dank afternoon!


A dull and dank afternoon failed to inspire, additional birds at Pitsford Res visible from the yacht club amounted to a Great White Egret, 4 Little Egrets and a Yellow-legged Gull.  It was also rather samey at Blueberry Farm with a Barn Owl and the pair of Stonechat being the only birds of note.  Hundreds of noisy 'chacking' Fieldfares there were in their element - plenty of berries and nice thick hedges to roost in.


N & E

Plenty of Goldeneye are
now present at Pitsford Res
including many fine drakes.

Egrets & Co


This morning I took a wander in to the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res.  The bird highlights were 1-2 Great White Egret(s), 13 Red-crested Pochard (still including the leucistic drake), 13 Pintail, a drake Goosander, 3 Black Swans, several Little Egrets, a Dunlin, 2 Redshank and a few Golden Plover.  At least one Marsh Tit is regularly at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station these days and today a Willow Tit was by the James Fisher Hide.

Eleanor flushed a Woodcock along the Brampton Valley Way, again by the Spratton crossing, and 2 Bramblings were also along the Way below Brixworth.

Good numbers of common birds were at the concrete track entrance of Harrington Airfield this morning, many of them bathing in the puddles there.  Birds coming down for the seed at the same place included 8 Bramblings.


Neil M

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Birds setting their stall out for winter.


This morning a scan at Ravensthorpe Reservoir provided views of the still present leucistic female Red-crested Pochard and a Raven proclaiming its territory.

A visit to Harrington Airfield this morning confirmed the presence of hundreds of Fieldfares stripping the berries off the hawthorns.  Also present were two Red Kites, 4 Bramblings and a Chiffchaff.  Fly-overs included 2+ redpoll sp and a Grey Wagtail.

A single Grey Wagtail was present in Hanging Houghton village.  Single Woodcock were present at Kelmarsh Hall and Scotland Wood.

Birds noted at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this afternoon included a Barn Owl, 2 Woodcock, 2 Grey Partridges, a pair of Stonechat, 2-3 Red Kites and over-flying finches included 5 Bramblings and 2+ redpoll sp.

Scanning from the yacht club at Pitsford Res this afternoon provided views of two fishing Great White Egrets, four Little Egrets and 2 Yellow-legged Gulls.


Eleanor and Neil

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Brampton Valley and beyond...


Today Eleanor spent some time locally, starting with a run along Merry Tom Lane, along the Brampton Valley Way and around Cottesbrooke to Hanging Houghton.  Birds en-route included about 6 Bramblings near to Brixworth, a Woodcock along the BVW towards the Spratton Crossing, 2-3 Crossbills between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton (Gamboro' Plantation) and 2 Ravens below HH.

A visit to Brixworth Country Park provided views of 16 Lesser Redpolls by the hide, at least 2 Bramblings and another Woodcock.  A walk at Harrington Airfield confirmed the continuing presence of 4+ Bramblings by the shooting wall.

In the meantime Dave Francis was completing a ringing session at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station at Pitsford Reservoir, the overall session providing 80 birds, with just over half of the birds being new.  Ringing has helped us to confirm that this year at least 166 new Tree Sparrows have made use of the foodstuffs which is provided year-round.

New birds included a Moorhen, 3 Redwings, 6 Blackbirds, 4 Yellowhammers, 6 Tree Sparrows and 10 Greenfinches.

Egrets noted south of the causeway this afternoon included four Little and two Great Whites.


Neil M

Monday, 25 November 2013

Pitsford WeBs Count


Today was taken up completing the monthly count of water-birds present at Pitsford Reservoir.

Three or four Great White Egrets were again present - it still has not been possible to see all suspected four birds at the same time!  One showed particularly well just off the causeway this afternoon, causing a small gathering of curious on-lookers taking photos.  Possibly as many as 15 Little Egrets were present.

Good numbers of waterfowl were present, the highlights being 11 Goosanders, a drake Smew (Holcot Bay), a Black-necked Grebe (near yacht club), 10 Pintail and 24 Red-crested Pochard (plus an extraordinary drake RC Pochard x Mallard hybrid)!  Less authentic species included the Bar-headed Goose still and three Black Swans.

Waders were well-represented - a single Black-tailed Godwit, 4-5 Redshank, 40 Snipe, a Grey Plover and a Common Sandpiper.

Other birds included an adult female Peregrine, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, two Kingfishers, 12 redpoll sp, a couple of Siskins, a Grey Wagtail and a Chiffchaff.  One of the adult Great Black-backed Gulls present has learnt to catch fish by diving in to the shallows in a similar manner to a Gannet - the Scaldwell Bay is its usual fishing haunt.

One of the many Little Grebes present suffered predation in the jaws of a large Pike in the Pintail Bay - probably a regular but rarely witnessed event.  The Little Grebe clearly saw the underwater predator because it was sounding the alarm and tried to take evasive action but to no avail.


Eleanor & Neil

Red Fox and escort!

First year Great Crested Grebe


Drake Teal

Bar-headed Goose


Drake Smew

Great White Egret

Little Egret

Little and Large!

Vanity is a terrible thing -
he/she clearly admires the reflection!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Ditchford GP


Today was spent wandering around Ditchford Gravel Pits completing a rather late WeBs count.

Birds west of Ditchford Lane included an adult drake Scaup, 3 Egyptian Geese, a first year Yellow-legged Gull, a first year Caspian Gull, 2 Little Egrets, a Woodcock, a Water Rail, a Kingfisher, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Cetti's Warblers.

Birds east of Ditchford Lane included hundreds of Gadwall, 2 Woodcock, 2 Green Sandpipers, a Little Egret, a Water Rail, 5 Kingfishers, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Cetti's Warblers.


Eleanor and Neil

Distant image of the
drake Scaup (centre
bird below the Coot).

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Long-tailed Duck!


Thanks to Neil Hasdell's careful scanning, a Long-tailed Duck was located at Pitsford Res this afternoon, frequenting the Walgrave Bay.  This is a species which has become a very rare visitor to the county in recent years, no doubt linked to a world-wide reduction in numbers.  The bird was still present at dusk, still in the Walgrave Bay albeit it was seen in flight briefly.  Please see Neil's images below...

Other birds noted north of the causeway this afternoon included a Black-tailed Godwit and a drake Goosander, and 7 Little Egrets and 2 Great White Egrets were seen flying to roost.

A ringing session at Kelmarsh Hall today was very busy with 126 birds being caught of 12 species.  Confirming a good breeding year locally, 49 of 50 Blue Tits were birds fledged this year.  Great Tits and Goldfinches were similarly caught in good numbers and again with high numbers of youngsters from this year.  The overall catch included two Marsh Tits, four Coal Tits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and ten Blackbirds.

Other birds noted included two Ravens, 1-2 Siskin(s), a Brambling, plenty of Nuthatches and a Kingfisher.


Eleanor and Neil M

Friday, 22 November 2013

Quick look!


A quick look at Pitsford Res this morning confirmed the continued presence of at least 2 Great White Egrets north of the causeway plus 3 Little Egrets and at least 8 Red-crested Pochard in the Scaldwell Bay.  A Dunlin was heard calling.

A female Peregrine was perched in a tree on the west side of Hanging Houghton this morning, there were 2 Ravens nearby and 2 Red Kites and at least 2 Bramblings near to Beck Dairy, Cottesbrooke.  Harrington Airfield seemed quiet.


Neil & Eleanor M

Common Buzzard
in afternoon sunshine
Blueberry Farm 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wet, Windy Wednesday

A quick walk at Harrington this morning produced 4 Bramblings, again sitting very quietly in the bushes near the shooting wall. A flock of about 100 Golden Plover were very restless and vocal.  Heavy rain soon put a stop to my birding.

As soon as it stopped I went for a run. This means that I have to rely on my ears and I heard the familiar "cronk, cronk" of the Ravens as two went overhead near Lamport.  The Red Kites were equally as vocal, and there were 3 together near Draughton.
Late afternoon found me and Baz walking around Blueberry, again dodging the showers. The female Merlin was again present at dusk, as well as a Barn Owl and pair of Stonechat.

Neil visited Ravensthorpe Reservoir and noted a leucistic female Red-crested Pochard, a Kingfisher and a Water Rail. At Pitsford Res there were 2 Great White Egrets, one either side of the causeway.

A Woodcock was flushed at Sunderland Wood on the Kelmarsh Estate.


Eleanor + Neil

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Northern Autumn Glory

It was a spur of the moment decision this morning to 'head north'! Following a hasty breakfast I literally bundled the dogs into the car and off we went for the day.

First stop was East Carlton Country Park where the ground was white with frost and the air crisp and clear. Initially it seemed very quiet but then I came across a flurry of activity as a rather vocal mixed tit flock moved through the bushes. As I watched them I realised that there was a number of additional birds quietly feeding on the floor, and counted 10+ Brambling.

Other birds included a male Blackcap, 30+ Siskin, 8+ Redpolls, Marsh Tit, Nuthatches and of course Red Kite.

I then drove the short distance to a large area of rough grass outside East Carlton [Wire Road], where the first bird I saw was a Short-eared Owl. I walked a quick circuit and bumped into a pair of Stonechat, 4 Lesser Redpoll and numerous Red Kites.

Coffee time found me at Wakerley Wood, and suitably refreshed I walked around for just over 2 hours and actually found places in the wood which I had never visited before.

The autumn colours were simply stunning, a beautiful mixture of yellows, gold, orange and brown bathed in the sunlight. The change in temperature meant that the trees were now shedding their leaves rapidly and it reminded me of confetti. I wish that I had taken my camera as I would have had a fantastic picture of Bazra, my collie boy, standing amongst the larch trees in the dappled sun with the fine larch needles gently falling over him. He looked fantastic against this backdrop.

Anyway, back to birding was quiet, just a smattering of Siskin, Nuthatches, Marsh Tit, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Common Buzzard and Red Kite.

A Roe Deer stepped out onto the track in front of us and realised it's mistake and in slow motion it walked back into the trees and melted from view. The dogs took one look at it and thought "too big for us"!

There were some really sheltered areas in the wood and I saw at least 2 Red Admiral Butterfly, amazing for the time of year.

I usually visit the cafĂ© at Fineshade Top Lodge for their delicious home made soup and today was no exception.  I only walked a short circuit here and it seemed quiet. I did come across 2 Brambling which were feeding on the ground.  My personal observations of the Bramblings this autumn is that there are quite a few about, but that they are not very vocal. They seem to be either sitting around or feeding quietly, just getting on with things rather than shouting about it.

Time to start making my way home, but I still had two further venues to visit. Firstly Blatherwycke Lake, which I always find a strange place, yet there is often something good there. I had to do a double take this afternoon as the first bird I saw was a Great White Egret standing on the grass towering over it's companions, 2 Little Egrets.  This place certainly attracts the geese and there were 100's of Greylag Geese and a careful look through them provided singles of Egyptian and Barnacle Goose. Other birds present were 4 Mandarin Duck, 2 Kingfisher, 12 Siskins and umpteen Red Kite and Common Buzzard.

As I was driving near Bulwick myself and the car coming towards me had to almost do an emergency stop as 2 Red Kites decided to swoop down into the road after a fresh road kill. The kites appeared totally oblivious to the potential danger they were in and played about like two children vying for the best bit of the meat. I wonder if they were youngsters who still have a lot to learn?

Final destination was Fermyn, somewhere I haven't visited for a while. The bushes in the country park itself were alive with Redwings and Fieldfares. I walked through the country park and headed to the Lady's/Souther Wood complex, but I stopped at the obvious open area of farmland where I could look back towards Fermyn and forwards towards Lyveden New Bield.  The fields towards Lyveden were alive with birds -  Black-headed Gulls, 50 Golden Plover, Lapwings, Starlings and corvids . I also counted 18 Red Kite in the air together, an amazing sight, and the sound of their evocative calls simply spine tingling.

A 'ringtail' Hen Harrier was quartering the fields near to Lyveden and a Merlin, on size suggesting a female, caused chaos for a few minutes as she zapped through.

It was difficult to draw myself away, but I had to as I was quite a way from the car with 2 tired dogs and it was dark when we reached the car park, all rather tired and muddy.

I think that the next few days are going to be quiet in comparison to today.



Monday, 18 November 2013

Grey day birds again...


Spending time at Pitsford Res today indicated that there were at least three Great White Egrets present but possibly four birds.  Two spent a long period south of the causeway with singles in the Scaldwell and Walgrave Bays at much the same time, however logistics ensured that it wasn't possible to see all the birds at the same time!  About ten Little Egrets also remain.

Other birds include one or two adult Yellow-legged Gull(s), 2 Redshank, 2 Dunlin and at least 2 Grey Wagtails.  Three Redwings and three Meadow Pipits were caught and ringed at the reservoir today.  A Chiffchaff and a redpoll sp were present in the adjacent Brixworth Country Park.

Birds at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this afternoon included a female Merlin, 2 Barn Owls, 2 Red Kites and the pair of Stonechat.


Eleanor and Neil

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Birds of a grey day...


A little ringing at Kelmarsh Hall this morning resulted in 36 birds being captured in a single net, the highlights being a Goldcrest, a Marsh Tit and 12 Goldfinches.  However John Woollett and his team at Stortons GP enjoyed the exciting capture of a pair of Bearded Tits this morning!

Other birds seen at Kelmarsh this morning included two Ravens, a redpoll sp and 1-2 Siskin.

At Pitsford Res today, the three Great White Egrets were still present (two north of the causeway and one south), the 12 Red-crested Pochard were still in the Walgrave Bay and waders included a Black-tailed Godwit, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and four Redshank.  A Chiffchaff, a Grey Wagtail and an adult Yellow-legged Gull were south of the causeway.  A flock of about a hundred Golden Plover was the only sighting of note at Harrington Airfield this afternoon.


Eleanor, Neil H and Neil M

Bearded Tits
Stortons GP
courtesy of
Chris Payne

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Pitsford has it!


A modest ringing session at Pitsford Res utilising the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station produced a nice variety of birds including quite a few Goldfinches and Greenfinches, a Redwing and an adult male Lesser Redpoll.  Birding the site confirmed the continued presence of three Great White Egrets with two birds north of the causeway and a third ensconced south of the causeway on the Brixworth bank.  Other birds included 12 Red-crested Pochard in the Walgrave Bay and 5 Pintail and an adult Yellow-legged Gull in the Scaldwell Bay.  A Shelduck appeared north of the causeway and the day's surprise was three Black Swans touching down and swimming in to the Scaldwell Bay.  Waders were well represented with a gaggle of Snipe, 2 Redshank, a Green Sandpiper and 10 Golden Plovers.  There were plenty of Goldeneye and a Raven was heard croaking.

Birds elsewhere were hard work, Harrington Airfield provided 4 Bramblings by the shooting wall and the Blueberry Farm area yielded just 2 Stonechats and a Brambling.


Neil H, Neil M and Eleanor

Adult Redwing
Pitsford Res

Friday, 15 November 2013

Long-tailed Tits out in force!


A ringing session in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir this morning was enjoyable in the super late autumn sunshine and produced 91 small birds.  Bird of the session was definitely the Long-tailed Tit with 30 birds captured.  Other birds processed included 3 Song Thrushes, 6 Goldfinches, 2 Coal Tits and a Marsh Tit.

Other birds noted in the Walgrave Bay included a Raven, 7 Red-crested Pochard, a Little Egret, a Grey Wagtail and a Kingfisher.

A wander around Harrington Airfield this morning provided another viewing of an immature male Merlin, 2 Crossbills over heading towards Kettering, 8 Bramblings and 4 redpoll sp.

A Sparrowhawk took a Greenfinch off our garden feeder this afternoon, it all happening so quick that I don't think the prey item knew much about it.

This afternoon, birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and at the adjacent Blueberry Farm complex included a female Peregrine, 2 Red Kites, 2 Ravens, 2 Barn Owls and 2 Stonechat.


Eleanor and Neil

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

November status quo


A visit to Pitsford Reservoir this afternoon produced the adult Mediterranean Gull in the gull roost again (assumed to be the regular returning wintering bird).  Two Great White Egrets and four Little Egrets were south of the causeway on the Brixworth bank and a Grey Wagtail was in the grounds of the yacht club.

A pair of Stonechat and a Barn Owl were noted at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this afternoon.

Earlier in the day and an exploration of Harrington Airfield only provided heavy numbers of migrating Fieldfares plus four Bramblings.


E & N

Red-crested Pochards!


A quick scan at Ravensthorpe Reservoir from the causeway this morning was sufficient to see a leucistic female Red-crested Pochard, a Siskin and a Grey Wagtail.

At Pitsford Reservoir today, a flock of 21 Red-crested Pochard were in the Walgrave Bay at 12.10pm (including a leucistic male), and a Great White Egret was visible from the causeway about half an hour later.


Neil M

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Egrets steal the show !

It has been another one of those autumn days which meant that birding won hands down over indoor jobs......they will get done one day, honest !

I began the day with my collie companions in the valley below Hanging Houghton and walked towards Blueberry. There was certainly no shortage of birds around. There was a constant movement of Skylarks and Starlings, but I think that the most amazing sight was that of literally hundreds and hundreds of Fieldfare flying across the fields resembling a "snow blizzard".
Other birds included 3 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Grey Partridge, Barn Owl, 2 Red Kites, 2+ Ravens, a pair of Stonechat and a few Tree Sparrows.

After brunch I decided to visit Pitsford Reservoir. On the small side at least 20 Red-crested Pochard were easily visible, the males looked stunning in the sunshine. Two Great White Egrets were together in the Scaldwell bay, along with 3 Redshank and 8 Pintail.

I decided that I would walk around the whole of the bigside !! Bazra, my old collie didn't look too impressed at the prospect, whilst Bobbie was delighted to be pushed around and act as my "scope bearer". 

As I walked across the causeway I noticed a group of walkers looking quite intently at something and laughing.  They were watching a Little Egret which was standing on a bed of weed next to the causeway and this bird was really playing to its audience. The bird was dancing about, turning from side to side and not remotely bothered by the people who were within touching distance. It evoked memories of being in the Everglades many years ago with Egrets etc literally walking over our feet.  This bird certainly gave a lot of pleasure to folk and who knows may have ignited a spark of interest in bird-watching. 

Later I was stopped by a couple of folk walking around as they said that they had just seen a "huge White Heron"!, and I was able to confirm that indeed they were looking at a huge White Heron or more specifically the third Great White Egret currently present. We then chatted and they were keen to find out more about the birds and some of the other birds nearby.

Other birds around the big side included a Redshank, Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 10+ Lesser Redpoll and another pair of Red-crested Pochard.

It took me just over 4 hours to walk around and it was dark by the time I returned to my car; a couple of Little Owls were making all kinds of weird and wonderful noises near to the causeway.



Monday, 11 November 2013

And an afternoon of drizzle too...


A wander in the midday drizzle at Harrington Airfield today provided views of a Peregrine and about c100 Golden Plovers.  Good numbers of Chaffinches are currently feeding on the seed at the concrete track entrance, and some days a few Bramblings join them.

At about 1.20pm this afternoon, 4 Red-crested Pochard were visible in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res, and presumably different birds from the birds seen in the Scaldwell Bay earlier on.

A change of scenery this afternoon with a visit over to Stanwick GP; however the birds were about as dismal as the weather!  The gulls didn't behave and kept away from the main lake and other birds noted included a Kingfisher, a Little Egret, a Redshank, a Dunlin and two Chiffchaffs with plenty of Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers audible from the reed margins.

A ringing session at Stortons GP on Sunday was very successful with 60+ birds being captured which included Water Rail, Redwing, Song Thrush and Treecreeper in addition to the usual Reed Buntings, Chaffinches, tits etc.


E & N

Birds of the heavy drizzle!


In pretty filthy conditions this morning, a couple of Ravens were near Cottesbrooke and two each of redpoll sp and Brambling were on the Brampton Valley Way below Brixworth.

At Pitsford Res, scanning in to the Scaldwell Bay revealed that the Red-crested Pochard flock had increased to 18 birds including a leucistic male.  Apart from a scattering of Goldeneye the only other bird of note visible in the wet and murky conditions was an adult Yellow-legged Gull.


E & N

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A sunny November day!


A bird ringing session took place in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res this morning, after setting up yesterday afternoon.  In excess of sixty birds were caught, the majority being tits but also included a Treecreeper, 4 Goldcrests, 2 Linnets, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and several of the thrush family.  Highlights amongst the tits included singles of both Willow and Marsh.  Three Crossbills flew south west over the bay shortly after 9am and a couple of redpoll sp and Little Egrets were seen on and off.  A migrant flock of about a hundred Woodpigeons flew south west shortly after dawn and small numbers of Redwings were fidgeting about and flying over.

At Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) this morning birds included a female Peregrine, 3+ Red Kites, a Barn Owl and a pair of Stonechat.  The warm sunshine was sufficient to attract Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies to fly again today.

At Harrington Airfield this afternoon, the young male Merlin was again present and spending time around the third bunker.

At Pitsford Res late this afternoon, the gull roost attracted an adult Mediterranean Gull and quite an influx of Herring Gulls which included many of the 'argentatus' types.  A Great White Egret and at least 4 Little Egrets were active between the causeway and the dam, the GWE spending time fishing the shoreline between the Gorse Bushes and the Pintail Bay.


Eleanor and Neil

Willow Tit

Dodgy digi-scope images of
adult Mediterranean Gull
Pitsford Reservoir!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

A day of heavy passage...


Today was a day of very heavy diurnal migration with thousands of Starlings passing south through the county and regular very large flocks of Woodpigeons and Fieldfares flapping the same way.  A large skein of about a hundred Pink-footed Geese flew over Blueberry Farm this morning, disappearing off towards Haselbech at about 9.45am.  A couple of Red Kites and the pair of Stonechat were still present and two Ravens were about.

Harrington Airfield today hosted c100 Golden Plovers, a female Peregrine, c8 Bramblings and 2 Red Kites.

Birds in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Res this afternoon included 4 Red-crested Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, a Grey Wagtail and a Barn Owl.


Eleanor and Neil

Friday, 8 November 2013

Birds before the rain...


A ringing session at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station at Pitsford Reservoir provided 57 captures, the majority of which were new birds.  Birds included 10 Tree Sparrows, 7 Goldfinches, 5 Chaffinches, 2 Redwings and a Meadow Pipit.

Other birds seen in the Scaldwell Bay included 12 Red-crested Pochard, c10 Pintail and 2 Green Sandpipers, a couple of Little Egrets and a Grey Wagtail

Also this morning there was a Grey Wagtail at Hanging Houghton, a Red Kite in the Brampton Valley below the village and 2 Ravens near Cottesbrooke.

A wander around Harrington Airfield produced a heavy passage of Starlings, 2 Little Egrets on standing water on the top fields, c50 Golden Plovers, 2 Red Kites and 10+ Bramblings (shooting wall area).  However the best bird was a first year Ring Ouzel around the third bunker.


Eleanor and Neil

Thursday, 7 November 2013

A day of Kites !!

The day started with an early morning wander at Harrington Airfield, where there were at least 10 Bramblings along the main track. At the moment there does appear to be good numbers of Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet and Skylark which are worthy of a good long scan.......just in case!
There were also 2 Ravens, 2 Red Kites and 2 Grey Partridge.
Late morning found me walking around Sywell Reservoir where there are muddy margins and this afforded good views of 2 Water Rails running around squealing their heads off. How does such a lovely bird make these blood curdling noises ?! Even the dogs were bemused by the noise.
There was also a Green Sandpiper, 2 Grey Wagtails, pair of Stonechat, 2 Red Kites,  6 Lesser Redpolls and at least 30 Siskin.
Whilst enjoying lunch at Beckworths Emporium with friends I noticed 3 Red Kites circling above us.
My final outing was the southern end of the Blueberry Complex where the pair of Stonechat remain, and nearby 2 further Red Kites, a Barn Owl and a male Merlin whizzed over towards Hanging Houghton.
I saw 9 Red Kites today, that was without really trying, but I never tire of watching them, such graceful birds with their evocative call.

Regards Eleanor

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Wet birding!


Eleanor's excursions today included a visit to Harrington Airfield which saw two over-flying Crossbills, 12 Bramblings and smaller numbers of Siskins and redpoll sp plus a couple of Ravens.

At Harlestone Heath there were at least two flighty Crossbills, c50 Siskins and a few redpoll sp.


Neil M

Pitsford a.m.


Birds at Pitsford Reservoir today include at least two Great White Egrets (Scaldwell Bay and Gorse Bushes), 12 Red-crested Pochard and 13 Pintail (Scaldwell Bay), a Grey Wagtail and a Brambling.


Neil M

Monday, 4 November 2013

Welland and Woods!


With bright and breezy conditions today we decided that an excursion to the north of the county was well overdue.  However before we set off four Crossbills flew south-west over the garden here at Hanging Houghton (7.20am).

Our first venue was East Carlton Country Park which hosted plenty of common birds which included a Woodcock, a Kingfisher, c20 Siskins, several redpoll including a large pale bird seen only in flight, a Brambling and a Grey Wagtail.

We then meandered up the Welland Valley and took a diversion on to the old Harringworth Airfield.  Plenty of passerines and Red Kites galore but nothing was found out of the ordinary.  Adjacent Wakerley Wood provided views of four Crossbills, c10 Siskins, a few redpoll sp and tits and woodpeckers.

More views of Red Kites in the afternoon sunshine at Fineshade were enjoyable, with plenty of Common Buzzards competing for air space too.  A Kingfisher, a Brambling and just a few redpoll sp and Siskins were noted and the feeders in front of the Wildlife Hide were providing good views of common woodland birds.  Insects included Hornet, Red Admiral and Comma.

Our last venue was Blatherwycke Lake as the sun began to seriously dip and the temperature plummet.  The large flock of Greylag and Canada Geese also included a Barnacle, the Mandarin Duck flock totalled twenty-two and other birds included lots of Red Kites, three Little Egrets, two Kingfishers and a Grey Wagtail.


Eleanor and Neil

With a bumper autumn of goodies on
offer here's hoping the Grey Squirrels stay
off our bird feeders!

Blue Tit

Common Buzzard

Red Kites

Greylag Geese

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Yet more windy conditions!


The regular autumn theme of strong wind and showers continued today, with the sun coming through later in the day and the temperature dropping to the point where gloves were required for the first time this autumn!

Morning birds included a Short-eared Owl and 2 Stonechats at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell and a couple each of Siskin and redpoll sp in Scaldwell village.

Birds in Hanging Houghton village today included a Brambling and a Grey Wagtail.

A scan at Ravensthorpe Reservoir this afternoon provided views of the expected Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper but nothing out of the ordinary, unless you include the stunning black and pebbled emulsion-white plumage Coot that is currently in residence!

Harrington Airfield this afternoon again attracted a male Merlin, a Red Kite and two Bramblings.

The gull roost at Pitsford Res was sufficient to attract a third year Yellow-legged Gull and an adult Mediterranean Gull, with a Grey Wagtail at the water-line.


Eleanor and Neil

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Blustery Blueberry !

A very entertaining walk around Blueberry area this afternoon thanks to the antics of a Common Buzzard and a collie called Bazra !!.
We started our walk below Hanging Houghton and as we headed towards Blueberry the fields were "pulsating" with literally hundreds of Fieldfares and good numbers of Redwing, Starling and Skylark. These proved irresistible to a Peregrine Falcon, who could easily have caught any of these birds, but instead seemed happy to play in the wind.
The largest and highest field of the Blueberry complex has been cut and this appeared very attractive to 2 Red Kites, a male Merlin, several Kestrels and 4+ Common Buzzard. 
As we neared the summit I could hear a "squeaking" noise coming from an area of grass which hadn't been cut. Bazra went ahead to investigate and in doing so he "flushed" a Common Buzzard from the ground, which flew up carrying it's prey. I don't think the Buzzard realised that I was only a few metres behind and as it rose the wind blew the Buzzard my way. I could have caught it's prey item as it dropped it at my feet.......a slightly stunned Weasel, which shook itself off and disappeared into the grass with Bazra in pursuit, but being the obedient collie he is he soon left the Weasel in peace.  I can't remember the last time I actually saw a Weasel.
Birds seen on the walk back to the car included 2 Barn Owls, pr Stonechat and a "brown" Crow.
Prior to going out for a walk I had been tidying the garden and a Red Kite, 2 Ravens, Brambling, several Siskin and Grey Wagtail had gone over.

Regards Eleanor

Harrington a.m.


Eleanor spent some time up at Harrington Airfield this morning and again saw the male Merlin.  There were 10 -14 Bramblings present including two on seed by the main concrete track entrance.

A re-trapped male Sparrowhawk in the garden this morning was first captured in 2006 and is now eight years old!


Neil M

Friday, 1 November 2013

Local bird stuff


A ringing session at the Old Scaldwell Road feeding station at Pitsford Reservoir this morning resulted in 45 captures, the majority of which were new birds.  New birds included a Lesser Redpoll, a Bullfinch, 3 Goldfinches, 7 Greenfinches, a Reed Bunting, 5 Tree Sparrows and 6 Goldcrests.

Other birds noted north of the causeway included 2 Great White Egrets, half a dozen Little Egrets, a Green Sandpiper, 7 Pintail and 7 Red-crested Pochard.

Birds noted at Harrington Airfield this morning included a male Merlin again, c200 Golden Plovers, 6 Bramblings, 4 Siskins and 8 fly-over redpoll sp.  A Raven and 2 Siskins were in residence at Scotland Wood (Kelmarsh Estate) this afternoon.


Neil & Eleanor