Sunday, 10 May 2015

Long Day Count SP55


Today was a cool grey day in SP55 for the Banbury Ornithological Society Long Day Count, with a period of cold and murky mist descending for a couple of hours and a warmer and occasionally brighter but breezier afternoon. Helen Franklin assisted me in trying to find as many species in the square as possible.

We started along the roadside at Mantles Heath and star birds visible from here first thing included Garden Warbler, Tree Sparrow, Lapwing and Hobby. Not too far from there and mobbing Blackbirds located a Tawny Owl for us and then on to Fawsley Park which hosts the greatest diversity of birds in this area. Here we started with a drake Mandarin Duck and 3-4 Spotted Flycatchers, and went on to connect with a calling Water Rail, a Little Owl, another Tawny Owl, Nuthatch and singing Reed and Sedge Warblers. No sign of the usual Kingfisher though and a bird we failed to find all day. The biggest surprise of the day was undoubtedly the female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker found feeding quietly on a small tree shrouded in mist just before 8am, and about our sixtieth species of the day by then.

Big mammals were a feature of SP55 today with three different sets of Fox cubs noted at roadsides, a decent sized herd of Fallow Deer at the border with Warwickshire and the usual Muntjac, Brown Hare etc. With a couple of Badgers noted before we started the survey this morning and loads of Brown Hares, a few adult Foxes and a few Roe Deer yesterday, clearly this area of South Northants is relatively mammal-rich.

Moving on from Fawsley, we next visited the Catesby area and quickly connected with several Ravens and a couple of singing Willow Warblers, one of only two sites discovered with this species today. The first of several Yellow Wagtails for the day was seen here too (a bird we blanked on yesterday) and as we moved on further west we were fortunate to locate an adult male Peregrine, the first of several Lesser Whitethroats and our first Red Kite of the day.

We were late finding House Martin for the day and a pair of Little Grebe on a farm pond were a bonus. Sadly, as per yesterday, another day without seeing or hearing Cuckoo. Early afternoon roadside stops added a couple more species including a Wheatear near Preston Capes and another scattered half dozen Ravens with bulging throat sacks - clearly transporting food to awaiting young nearby.

This morning Eleanor visited Harrington Airfield and located two Turtle Doves and a Spotted Flycatcher in bushes at the end of the concrete track.


Neil M

Female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Fawsley Park

Ladysmock - a common wild
flower but one of my favourites

Sheep Sofa!

Common Buzzard

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