Sunday, 31 August 2014

Redstarts and company


The daily visit to Harrington Airfield this morning was sufficient to confirm the continuing presence of Redstarts, with three birds present. This species is now a much more common bird during the spring and autumn passage periods (it used to be a very scarce migrant thirty years ago despite being a species that once bred in the county regularly), and this year has provided an excellent opportunity to catch up with this elusive but stunning bird. The birds today include singles in roadside bushes near to the concrete track entrance, in bushes just before the first bunker along the old airstrip approaching from the gravel compound and at the very end (north-west) of the concrete track. Other birds included the two Turtle Doves still, a Whinchat and a Wheatear plus plenty of Whitethroats.

'Shrike Hedge' in the Brampton Valley between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton hosted a very large flock of birds with many Whitethroats and Willow Warblers plus another Redstart late morning. A Wheatear was in nearby fields.

At Pitsford Res this morning, an Osprey spent some time over the Scaldwell Bay from about 10.50am before moving off west. A strong diurnal migration of hirundines (particularly Swallows), wagtails (one Grey, c20 Yellow and c10 'alba') and pipits were audible and partly visible all morning. The pipits were made up of one Tree and c6 Meadow. Other birds noted included Hobby, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and the two Black Swans still.

A ringing session at the Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station became wind-affected and produced only a small catch of birds. Pick of the bunch was Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler and Tree Sparrow all of which delighted the 'new to ringing' attendees!


Neil M
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