Saturday, 22 February 2014

Quality passerines

Hello

After morning chores (more feed stations), I picked up Neil H and we went off to complete some birding in the county.  A dozen Bramblings were on the seed at Harrington Airfield and 13 Grey Herons flew up from the heronry at Pitsford Res when a couple of Common Buzzards strayed too close.  Hopefully this means that there are at least half a dozen pairs breeding in the dense conifers.

A rare visit to Stanwick Gravel Pits was made in an effort to see the Marbled Duck, but despite scanning from a variety of angles the bird couldn't be located on the main pit.  Waders included c130 Golden Plovers, 9 Redshank and 2 Oystercatchers.   A couple of Cetti's Warblers included one showing rather well and singles of Siskin and redpoll sp flew over.

We decided to have a look for the normally rather elusive Great Grey Shrike near Lowick.  This bird hadn't been reported for a couple of weeks, but it soon showed itself in trees and hedges along the footpath that runs between the village and the Greenside Wood complex.  In the strong wind this bird was prone to Kestrel-like hovering and at one stage seemed to have a bumble-bee in it's bill. In the strong sunlight it was possible to determine a weak pinkish flush to the underside, presumably indicating it is a male bird.

Next was a wander around Fermyn Wood Country Park where there were plenty of people but not much in the way of birds, apart from a Siskin or two. A single Great Crested Newt showed itself a couple of times in one of the ponds and the cafe paninis were very good!

Our final destination was Thrapston GP and we noted a Little Egret, three Goosanders, two Oystercatchers, the Long-tailed Duck on Town Lake and a Chiffchaff.  However the best birds were two Firecrests which were reasonably vocal but quite secretive in the bushes and brambles alongside the River Nene and Willowbrook Lake, close to the footbridge that leads from Town lake on to the Titchmarsh Reserve.

Regards

Neil M


Kestrel
Lowick
Flying-away shot of the
Great Grey Shrike!

Firecrest
Thrapston GP

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