Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Skokholm migrants

Hello

A lively day today on Skokholm which despite quite strong breezes and periods of sunshine and rain produced plenty of incoming migrants with just under fifty new birds being caught.   Willow Warblers made up the majority but were supported by small numbers of Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap. Efforts at catching large gulls failed and we will have to consider a different strategy for the next couple of days!

I cooked tonight so there is every chance that there might be repercussions for the stomachs of the Northants Ringing Group!

Regards

Neil M

Odds and Ends

Although I have been out and about in the past few days checking the bean fields below Hanging Houghton, feeding the birds at Harrington Airfield and checking for migrants at Pitsford and Sywell Reservoirs , my bird list is pretty poor.
The bean fields look really good, but there has been a distinct lack of birds. These fields have been sprayed and fertilized in close succession recently so I wonder if this is significant.  Today the remaining straw bales were removed , so I expect the Wheatears will move on.
This morning at Harrington there was a Whinchat and a male Common Redstart around the second bunker, otherwise it was quiet.
I always find Sywell Reservoir an interesting spot, but today the only birds of note were several singing Sedge Warblers.
Today I have heard a Cuckoo everywhere I've been.....unless it is the same one following me around !!!


Regards Eleanor

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Skokholm

Hello

On Sunday myself and six other Northants Ringers journeyed down to Pembrokeshire for a week's expedition on the island of Skokholm.  The first site en-route was to the watch-point at Symonds Yat in Gloucestershire where the birds included large numbers of Common Buzzards, several Ravens, a couple of Sparrowhawks and of course Peregrines.  Other observations included several Mandarin Ducks, Goosander, Nuthatch and Siskin before we moved on to the Wildlife and Wetlands site at Llanelli. This was a new venue for me and very much like Slimbridge but on a smaller scale.

Wild birds included singles of Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill and Peregrine plus a couple each of Mediterranean Gull and Little Egret.  Waders were made up of Curlew, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank.

The last birding of the evening was at St Anne's Head on the Pembrokeshire coast where Manx Shearwaters were rafting off-shore and both Chough and Peregrine appeared overhead.

Yesterday morning (Monday), and we successfully boated over to Skokholm and made ourselves ready for our birding and ringing experience.  We quickly began making use of the Heligoland Traps and mist-nets and began to catch migrants which included Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Whitethroat.  Swallows whizzed overhead, Whimbrel trilled and stalked the island, Raven and Chough skirmished with Jackdaw and Carrion Crow and a pair of Peregrine terrorised the island.  Small birds hopping along the short turf included Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Meadow and Rock Pipit.  In the late evening we made our first efforts at the nocturnal catching of Manx Shearwater, with some twenty-eight birds being captured and providing the first opportunity for many of the team in handling these fabulous birds.

Today (Tuesday) and the weather was very nice but there was minimal migration visible on the island. Despite the paucity of migrants, quality birds caught included several species of warbler including a Grasshopper Warbler and a couple of very smart Wheatears.  We took the opportunity of taking a RIB to the island of Grassholm which houses a colony of 85,000 Gannets which was pretty spectacular!

Regards

Neil M


Razorbill

Herring Gull



Gannet








Sunday, 27 April 2014

Strange Sunday !

I started the day with an early morning walk at Harrington Airfield and it was disappointingly quiet with no birds of note.
Late morning found me walking around the bean fields below Hanging Houghton. These fields look perfect for a "goodie", but there are an awful lot of bean fields to cover. !!  I decided to walk to the highest point of the fields as there is a fantastic view .  It was here that I had a total unexpected  group of 9 Whimbrel and a Golden Plover sp feeding!!!.  I say Golden Plover sp as I had a small Golden Plover type with an unusual call a couple of days ago and I've been trying to relocate it ever since. After watching it today, I am still not sure.  I really needed my scope, so I took the dogs back home, picked up my scope and went back.......of course those birds were nowhere to be seen, but there were 2 Wheatears. This evening I trekked around more of the bean fields with my 4 legged companions who think that I've "really lost the plot", but could not relocate these birds, but saw 2 Grey Partridge, Barn Owl and had a Cuckoo singing well.
Oh well there is always tomorrow.


Regards  Eleanor

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Recent ringing data

Hello

Some interesting information has been forthcoming from local ringing as follows:-

An adult Stock Dove was caught at Pitsford Res on Wednesday. This bird was bearing a ring and had been ringed as a nestling in a nest-box in the Holcot Bay at Pitsford in May 2012.  This bird was captured exiting a nest-box in the Scaldwell Bay where there were two very young nestlings.  The indications were that this bird was a female and after being reared successfully herself on the reserve she had chosen to breed on the same site albeit in a different bay and nest-box.

In addition two adult female Tawny Owls breeding in the nest-boxes were also caught and these were bearing rings.  One bird was first ringed in 2005 when she was an incubating female and the other was first ringed in 2008 when she also was an incubating female.  Clearly these matriarchs are very site-faithful as well as attaining a good age and continuing to produce owls for the next generation.

A Goldfinch caught and ringed at Greens Norton on 18th November 2013 was recovered dead at a place called Prosperous, Nass in County Kildare (Eire) on 1st April 2014.  This suggests that it wintered in the UK or was on passage and that it was intent on breeding in Eire.  The two locations are 406 km apart.

Finally a Blackbird that was first ringed in Sunderland Wood on the Kelmarsh Estate in February 2012 was found dead 575 km away at a place called Sandhorst, Weser-Ems in Germany in February 2014. This suggests that this bird was of a continental origin but successfully overstayed in the UK or passed through during the cold winter of 2011/2012.

Regards

Neil M

Another one that got away?

Hello

Yesterday afternoon (Friday), Eleanor saw and heard an interesting summer plumage 'Golden Plover' in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.  Sadly the observation only lasted a short time as the bird was flying.  The bird seemed very slim and issued a 'shuwee' like call.  The exact colour and shade of the auxillaries was not determined, but it seems possible that this was either an American or Pacific Golden Plover.  The bird appeared to pitch down but wasn't seen again yesterday evening and despite a good scour of the fields today seemingly still remains absent.

Two Wheatears in the fields next to the straw-stacks were the only birds of note in the valley this morning.

Regards

Neil M

Friday, 25 April 2014

Early morning murk!

Hello

A pad around at Harrington Airfield this morning in the low cloud and drizzle produced just a single male Wheatear as the only obvious staging migrant.

A male Redstart was in the edge of a copse in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning, and four Wheatears were in nearby bean fields

Eleanor and Neil

Thursday, 24 April 2014

This afternoon...

Hello

This afternoon's birds included a male Ring Ouzel at Harrington Airfield (second bunker) and four Wheatears, with another four Wheatears in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.

At 5pm the drake Scaup was visible just south of the road causeway at Pitsford Res and a Raven flew over. Andrew Tyrrell has kindly communicated to state that the Egyptian Goose is still present at the Nene Barrage/N'pton Washlands this afternoon.

Regards

Neil M

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

All beak and no trousers!

Hello

For much of the day, Neil Hasdell and I checked the large nest-boxes on the reserve at Pitsford Res and found three of them occupied by Tawny Owls with others occupied by Jackdaws, Stock Doves and Grey Squirrels!  Below are some images of a Tawny Owl chick and it's parent.

Other birds noted on the reserve today included a drake Scaup in the Holcot Bay (first seen by Robin Gossage on Saturday), two Common Terns, two Oystercatchers and two Goldeneye.

Eleanor located six Wheatears at Harrington Airfield - please see images below by Dave Jackson.

In the meantime, John Woollett, Chris Payne and John Boland managed to access a Raven nest in the south of the county and ringed the absolutely beautiful occupants!

Regards

Neil M




Tawny Owls at Pitsford Res
courtesy of Neil Hasdell


Wheatear at Harrington Airfield
courtesy of Dave Jackson


All beak and no trousers!
That's the Ravens not you Chris!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tuesday late morning...

Hello

Further checks of the bean fields below Hanging Houghton late morning indicates that the majority of the migrants including the Black Redstart have already moved on as it has warmed up.

Brief visits to Pitsford Res causeway and dam succeeded only in locating a single Swift and a couple of Oystercatchers.

Regards

Neil M

Tuesday am

Hello

An early morning jaunt to Harrington Airfield this morning provided views of two male Ring Ouzels at the second bunker, which subsequently flew towards the third bunker at 7.15am.  Two Wheatears were also present, generally between the first and second bunkers.

Eleanor in the meantime continued her methodical checking of the bean fields in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning.  The best bird was an adult male Black Redstart with other passerines at about SP737734.  Other birds in these collection of fields included four Wheatears, at least a dozen Yellow Wagtails, plenty of Skylarks and half a dozen Golden Plovers.  However, no Dotterel as yet!

Regards

Neil M

Monday, 21 April 2014

Firecrest

Hello

A visit to Harrington Airfield this afternoon provided a view of an adult male Ring Ouzel and four Wheatears.

David Arden is to be congratulated on finding a Firecrest at Pitsford Res this morning, the bird was located in the Scaldwell Bay in larches near to the New James Fisher Hide.  This evening birds noted north of the causeway at Pitsford included the Ross's Goose still, a Goldeneye and at least one Oystercatcher.

Regards

Neil M

Harrington Ouzels

I decided that I would start the day with an early morning walk at Harrington Airfield.  First job was to feed the birds, even though it would appear that the Bramblings have moved off there are still plenty of birds enjoying the seed.  There were good numbers of Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Chaffinch. A single Tree Sparrow and 2 Lesser Redpoll made a brief appearance.
There were 2 Grey Partridge, 4 Wheatears and a Cuckoo on the rough area.

As I loitered around the second bunker I could hear at least 2 Ring Ouzel "chacking" away and one of these birds, a super male, perched on top of a bush and started to sing and he was really showing off. It is certainly the best view which I've had of these birds.  Another male, not so well marked broke cover and perched out in the open on the concrete bunker and I could still hear another bird calling, so pretty sure 3 birds remain.

Regards Eleanor

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A quiet Easter Sunday

Hello

Yesterday evening (Saturday) saw me padding around parts of the Blueberry Farm complex at Maidwell, but the only birds a little different included a single Wheatear and a pair of Grey Partridge.

With a blocking north-easterly breeze and Arctic Terns on the move in the UK today, I fully expected to see some evidence of visible migration at Pitsford Res.  Two visitations failed to find much of anything new - and it seems that yesterday's Black-necked Grebes have already moved on.

A quick circuit at Harrington Airfield early afternoon was also a quiet affair with a single male Wheatear being the highlight. Eleanor managed to find two Wheatears on the extensive bean fields in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning and I finally caught up with my first singing Sedge Warbler of the year near Brixworth.

Regards

Neil M


Great Crested Grebe
Pitsford Res


Adult Grey Heron
Pitsford Res

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Pitsford CBC

Hello

It's that time of the year again  - the Common Bird Census at Pitsford Res!  Starting at 6am this morning on a cold and frosty morning, there was a surprising number of avian songsters despite the initial grey conditions.  By way of example there were six singing Song Thrushes in the Holcot Bay banging out their repeated volleys of musical noise!

Most birds noted were very much the norm, with plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs on territory and some Willow Warblers too.  An early Reed Warbler had to do with some Blackthorn to sing from and it will be some weeks yet before any reeds have grown up!  On territory Marsh Tits were in two areas and a couple of Lesser Redpolls were buzzing about.  One pair of Oystercatcher had doubled to two pairs.  Other birders noted a Garden Warbler and Peregrine.

Just as I was about to leave, a last scan with the binoculars revealed a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe near to the Lagoon Hide. Subsequently two more appeared from underneath waterside willows and all three were watched as they dived and took insects off the surface of the water.

Regards

Neil M



Orange-tip Butterfly

Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower

Mallard with ducklings

Harrington am

This morning at Harrington Airfield there was a Ring Ouzel favouring the area between the first and second bunkers.  Sometimes the bird was on full show, but more often than not was seen in flight before disappearing into the bushes. With a bit of patience I'm sure you will see this bird and who knows what might drop in as you wait ?.  There were several Wheatear around the bunkers.
I fed the birds by the entrance and when I returned to the car I could hear the familiar harsh "chack" of a Ring Ouzel and there was a stunning male sitting on top of a roadside bush !! As it dropped out of the bush I was aware that another similar size bird was also lower down in the bush, but I didn't see this clearly enough , but probably another one.


Regards Eleanor

Friday, 18 April 2014

Ringing at Harrington

Hello

Despite often quite bright sunshine and a cool northerly breeze, the planned ringing session at Harrington Airfield took place this morning.  My thanks to those visiting birders who changed their plans on arriving at this disused airfield this morning, enabling us to catch 24 birds safely.  Seven Willow Warblers were among the catch, we assume a combination of birds intending to breed on the old airstrip but also migrants aiming for more northern climes.

What was probably the same individual Ring Ouzel was seen a number of times, often elusive and very mobile around the site.  For a short time there was a group of seven Wheatears, but they were disturbed and hadn't returned by the time we left.  Other birds included a mobile Yellow Wagtail, singing Lesser and Common Whitethroats and a Raven.  There was no sign of yesterday's Stone Curlew.

The leaves of Common Spotted Orchid were visible and Grizzled Skipper was the pick of the butterflies on the wing there today.

Birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this afternoon included a dozen Golden Plovers and four Wheatears on the bean fields.

Regards

Neil M


Yellowhammer at Harrington
Airfield, courtesy of Clive Bowley.

Record shot of yesterday's
Stone Curlew at Harrington Airfield.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Harrington Airfield update

Hello

This evening at Harrington Airfield there were three Ring Ouzels still present in bushes along the old airstrip and a mobile group of 6 - 10 Wheatears, mostly around the second bunker.

Visiting birders are reminded that there is no public access to the old airstrip and that the public footpath runs along the concrete track which is accessible from the minor road to Draughton.  The land-owners show no huge concerns for the occasional regular birder straying off the footpath but the downside of finding a rare bird which we all naturally want to see at this site, causes them alarm.  This is partly associated with the quite dangerous state of the concrete bunkers with plenty of opportunity of falling in to unguarded holes, tripping over concrete and wires and the amount of broken glass strewn over the area etc.  Clumsy and thoughtless parking in front of the gates to both the chipping compound and the vehicle access point to the concrete track causes further frustration. As perhaps the most regular birders visiting this site, we are keen to ensure that access for local birders is not compromised and that we all stand a chance of seeing good birds there to the future.

We are also at the very early stages of potentially creating a regular ringing station on the airfield.  This is very much at the development stage.  Tomorrow morning it is hoped to run a ringing session on the airstrip as arranged with the land-owner and public access is restricted to invitees only.  Mist nets and other devices create further hazards to walkers and themselves are prone to damage by people and animals simply wandering in to them!  In due course as we find our feet and can properly assess the risks, it is likely that such restrictions may be relaxed and all interests accommodated.  Your forbearance is much appreciated.

Regards

Neil M

Stone Curlew

Recently Harrington airfield has enjoyed some good birds and more coverage by birders.  This morning, one lucky birder Gary Burrows, couldn't believe his luck when a STONE CURLEW landed on the field in front of him !!!!!!  I think I would have fainted with shock !!.  Initially the bird was standing on full view in the open between the first and second bunker before being frightened by the sound of a nearby gas gun. It then flew a short distance to where the crop provided more cover.
Quite a few birders managed to get out and watch the bird before it flew at 10.30am and was lost to view. When I left at 11am it was still being looked for.
Thanks Gary.


Regards Eleanor

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Pitsford by boat

Hello

Eleanor popped up to Harrington Airfield this morning and briefly espied the male Ring Ouzel near the first bunker.

Whilst at Pitsford Res today, Dave Francis and I took a boat out in order to carry out some remedial work on the floating tern rafts. On our way back we checked on the Cormorant colony and various floating nests of other species, and took a few photos of wildfowl whilst doing so (please see below).

Eleanor scoured the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening, and two Wheatears were located in the bean fields.

Regards

Neil M


Cormorant

Drake Gadwall

Drake Tufted Duck

Mallard duckling

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Blueberry and Harrington PM

Mid afternoon found me walking around Blueberry area with my 4 legged companions. As expected on such a bright and breezy day there were plenty of Red Kites and Common Buzzard, including the rather stunning 'white' Buzzard on the wing.  As I walked along a hedgerow I heard a Redstart calling and to my surprise I located 2 stunning males following the hedge. 

At Blueberry Farm itself there was a male Ring Ouzel in one of the horse paddocks.  The fields in the valley have recently been set with beans, so we will be watching them closely. Meanwhile these fields are attractive to the Wheatears and there were at least 4 present.

Plenty of butterflies today, notably some pristine Orange Tips.

I decided to spend the final hours of daylight at Harrington Airfield, where the only birds of note were 2 Wheatear and a Brambling. I just missed a male Ring Ouzel which was being watched as I walked along to the bunkers, but despite searching it was not re located.

Regards Eleanor

Harrington a.m.

Hello

A visit to Harrington Airfield this morning provided views of two male Wheatears, a singing Whitethroat, a singing Lesser Whitethroat and a male Yellow Wagtail.  After such a clear night and cool frosty morning it was no surprise that we didn't find any Ring Ouzels!

Regards

Neil M



Yesterday's Male Ring Ouzel at
HarringtonAirfield, against
evening sunshine back-drop

Male Wheatear at Harrington
Airfield this morning, perched on
a lichen-covered concrete bunker.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Monday p.m.

Hello

This evening, a re-visit to Harrington Airfield provided views of a male Ring Ouzel around the first and second bunkers (from the chippings compound), and four Wheatears.

Birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this evening included two Wheatears and two Ravens.

Regards

E & N

Monday a.m.

Hello


Harrington Airfield this morning was productive with a female Ring Ouzel in roadside bushes near to the concrete track entrance, 4 Bramblings on the seed just inside the entrance and at least 6 Wheatears on the second and third airstrip bunkers.


However Pitsford Res seemed relatively unproductive - the Green Sandpiper, a Grey Wagtail and 100+ Sand Martins were visible from the dam and the usual 2 Oystercatchers and passage Swallows and at least 8 displaying Common Buzzards were north of the causeway.


Regards


Eleanor and Neil

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Returning migrants on a cool breeze

Hello


Limited birding opportunities today in bright warm sunshine but still with a cool breeze.  A singing Whitethroat was noted between Pitsford Res and the village of Old and a singing Lesser Whitethroat was in roadside hedging between the villages of Old and Scaldwell.


A brief visit to Pitsford Res this evening confirmed the continuing presence of the Green Sandpiper below the dam on floodwater, and a Raven was in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.


A few Swallows and House Martins were noted visiting old nest sites in local villages today, the fore-runners no doubt of many more to come.


Regards


Neil M

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Saturday morning ringing

Hello


In pretty overcast and cool conditions a bird ringing session at Pitsford Res this morning provided 46 captures including many Yellowhammers, eight of which were new birds.  Other new birds included ten Tree Sparrows and a Coot. 


Some exploratory ringing at Harrington Airfield also this morning provided a modest catch of 12 birds which included an early Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff.  Other migrants noted at Harrington Airfield included Swallow, redpoll sp, Siskin and Meadow Pipit, but for the second day in a row no Bramblings were seen.


Regards


Neil M

Friday, 11 April 2014

Cowslips on parade

Hello

No birds of particular note today although there was a solitary Wheatear and a pair of Grey Partridge at Harrington Airfield.

I spent some time at Pitsford Res watching a particularly small Herring Gull associating with Common Gulls. In addition to the small size, the gull's bill was curiously-shaped and the markings were not typical of an adult or near-adult bird (please see below).

Sadly I recovered a dead Tawny Owl today - another wildlife casualty of the A508 Brixworth by-pass.

Cowslips are now well in flower, with many colonies obvious on the verges of our county 'A' roads, the A45 and the A14 perhaps being the best examples.

Regards

Neil M



Herring Gull

Cowslips

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Birds of Hanging Houghton

Hello

Fleeting birding opportunities today but Eleanor located two Wheatears and c50 Golden Plovers on fields in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this afternoon and a couple of Common Buzzards were hassling a Raven over Clint Hill which is near to the village.

Regards

Neil M

Snake's Head Fritillaries

Hello

Birding highlights yesterday (Wednesday) were minimal in the cool breeze but warm sunshine.  The Green Sandpiper remained below the dam at Pitsford Res in the morning and a Little Ringed Plover was heard overhead.  Small numbers of Sand Martins and a couple of Swallows were also present as was a singing Grey Wagtail and on-territory Meadow Pipits

The daily visit to Harrington Airfield yielded 6 Bramblings, 2 Wheatears and a pair of Grey Partridge and a couple of Ravens were present at Kelmarsh village.

The Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton produced c100 Golden Plovers and 2 Wheatears on the fields.

The wild flowers looked splendid at Kelmarsh Hall and included Wood Anemones, Primroses and Snake's Head Fritillaries.

Regards

Eleanor and Neil



Snake's Head Fritillaries















Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The migrants are arriving...

Hello

Two Bramblings were present at Harrington Airfield this morning and the white wing-tagged Common Buzzard made an appearance near to Hanging Houghton.

This evening two Curlew flew east over the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton, a flock of c500 Golden Plovers were in the fields there which is presumably why the adult female Peregrine was there too!

At Pitsford Res, birds visible from the dam this evening included the Red-necked Grebe, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, two male Grey Wagtails and plenty of hirundines made up of c50 Sand Martins, 2 House Martins and at least 6 Swallows.

Regards

Eleanor and Neil


Close-up image of a Coal Tit
courtesy of Jacob Spinks

Cormorant
Pitsford Res

Monday, 7 April 2014

Red is the colour of summer!

Hello

Still plenty of small birds coming down to the seed at Harrington Airfield today, but only one Brambling was noted.

The Red-necked Grebe was again present off the valve tower at the dam of Pitsford Reservoir at lunch-time today.  The bird is now progressing well in to summer plumage.  The Green Sandpiper was on floodwater still below the dam and three Swallows and seven Sand Martins were spiraling around in the strong breeze.

Ravens were noted at Lamport, Maidwell and Kelmarsh today, probably amounting to four birds in total.

Regards

Neil M

Sunday, 6 April 2014

A quiet Sunday

Hello

Quite a bit of time out today but very little of note located.

The two Oystercatchers remain at Pitsford Res and the Harrington Airfield feeding flock contained six Bramblings.  Migrants on the old airstrip included an early Cuckoo and two Wheatears.

Regards

Eleanor & Neil

Saturday, 5 April 2014

East to West

Hello

A excursion to a restricted area to the east of the county this morning was interesting and provided views of a pair of Little Ringed Plover, three pairs of nesting Lapwing, two Snipe, a pair of Shelduck, three Wheatears and a couple of singing Willow Warblers.

An afternoon wander around the Titchmarsh Reserve at Thrapston GP yielded a pair of Shelduck, a 'redhead' Goosander, up to five Little Egrets, a pair of Oystercatcher, three Common Terns, four Swallows, five Cetti's Warbler territories, a couple of Willow Warblers, and a singing Sedge Warbler was reported.

Birds seen from the dam at Pitsford Res this morning included the Great Northern Diver, the Red-necked Grebe, a Green Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail.  About half a dozen Sand Martins were visible from the causeway.

At Harrington Airfield this afternoon, two Lesser Redpolls came down on the track to feed alongside four Bramblings, and a Raven and two Wheatears were also present.

Andrew and Karen Moss and Helen Franklin committed to some ringing this morning in the very west of the county at Glyn Davies Wood.  Good numbers of woodland birds were processed and assessed and included a couple of Blackcaps, two Chiffchaffs, two Nuthatch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Regards

Neil M




The full famous weed dance ceremony of
Great Crested Grebe is not often witnessed
and it is even more difficult to capture with
still photography.  These images by Robin
Gossage provide an insight in to this spectacular
if sometimes rather rapid and ornate ceremony.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Kelmarsh Hall ringing

Hello

A ringing session at Kelmarsh Hall this morning provided an opportunity of processing 73 birds which in the main were common finches and tits plus a Nuthatch, four different Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Chiffchaff.  Two Ravens were also present.

An Osprey was in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton at 5.20pm, the bird flying up towards the village and presumably onward to Pitsford Res.

Regards

Eleanor and Neil

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Snow Bunting

Hello

Gary Pullan located a confiding Snow Bunting at Daventry Country Park today, and the bird continued to show well in to the late afternoon.  Please see some images below kindly provided by Andrew Tyrrell and Dave Jackson.

At Hanging Houghton, a dead lamb in one of the grass fields adjacent to the village attracted a couple of Ravens and a Red Kite.

I noticed a north-bound Swallow over Brackmills, N'pton this afternoon and a singing Willow Warbler was present at Kelmarsh Hall this evening.

Regards

Neil M


Snow Bunting
Andrew Tyrrell

Close-up shot of Snow Bunting
by Dave Jackson, depicting the classic
bunting anvil-shaped lower mandible.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Early breeders

Hello

Yesterday Dave Francis spent some time on a boat at Pitsford Reservoir for tern raft maintenance and made a point of counting the nests in the Cormorant colony.  Thirty-six nests are in use and many of them have young visible, including one brood that were almost adult-sized!  It is possible to hear the young calling from as far away as the Old Scaldwell Road.

An occupied Raven nest was located in the NN6 area today and there were four Bramblings on the seed at Harrington Airfield at about 12.15pm.

Despite spending some time at Pitsford Res this morning, the only birds of note included the Red-necked Grebe off the dam and the pair of Oystercatcher still mostly on the reserve section of the reservoir.

Regards

Neil M

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Blue-winged Teal

Hello

Yesterday (31st March), and it seemed that singing Blackcaps were just about everywhere I was - they are obviously hot on the heels of the now widespread singing Chiffchaffs!

Also late yesterday morning, Eleanor witnessed an impressive 'kettle' of 18 Common Buzzards circling over the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.  It wasn't clear if this was an indication of migration or whether it was simply local birds gathered together enjoying the warm air and light breeze.

This morning Stanwick Gravel Pits stalwart Steve Fisher found yet another rare bird on his local patch, this time a very smart drake Blue-winged Teal.  The bird was associating with a pair of Shoveler on the A45 layby pit but reportedly flew off some time after 10.30am.

A pair of Shelduck were noted at Pineham today in the Nene Valley and Pitsford Res continued to host the Great Northern Diver and Red-necked Grebe north of the dam this evening.  Andrew Tyrrell saw and heard the female Wood Duck on the River Nene at Carlsberg today.

Regards

Neil M