I took a drive over to Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows (part of the Ditchford GP complex) this morning as part of preparation for a guided walk there this coming Sunday. It perhaps goes without saying that the Nene Valley is flooded and access is problematic at some points. Standard birds here included a Little Egret, half a dozen Cetti's Warblers and a Water Rail. Both a male and female Sparrowhawk were endeavouring to flush out passerines from flooded bushes and the male soon caught an unfortunate individual.
I then went on to Ditchford Lane and tried to walk westwards but the usual paths were flooded. Many of the waterbirds appeared to have been dispersed due to the excessive brown water. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the Watersport Pit and still present to at least 1pm.
Closer to home, Pitsford Res yielded a Great White Egret this afternoon by The Holly Tree north of the dam and two Red-crested Pochard in the Scaldwell Bay.
Eleanor visited the Kelmarsh Estate feeding stations where she noticed there was an influx of Siskins in all three woods. Scotland Wood attracted 15 Siskins, a couple of Red Kites and the usual Nuthatches, Marsh Tits etc. A monster tit flock at Kelmarsh Hall included 30 Long-tailed Tits and there were at least 8 Siskins present too. An unidentified raptor moved over Sunderland Wood (the view was obscured but it appeared to be a Hen Harrier) and birds in the wood included Marsh Tits, Nuthatches and 10 Siskins.
Harrington Airfield provided views of a female Peregrine, c100 Golden Plovers, a Woodcock and 10+ Bramblings.
Provisional bird ringing totals for Pitsford Res for the year 2013 came to 2411 ringed individuals. Singles of Common Buzzard and Grey Heron were new species ringed on-site. Flagship birds such as Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer totalled 172 and 158 respectively. A great deal of effort is made on the reserve to try and support these nationally declining species with food provided all year round and managing suitable breeding areas during the summer. An on-going Constant Effort (Ringing) Site endeavours to accurately assess breeding success and survival rates of passerines using the Scaldwell Bay in the summer, and as one of the largest schemes in the UK contributes to the national assessment.