Sunday, 31 January 2016

The challenges of a modern-day Barn Owl

Hello

I forgot to mention that early yesterday morning a Barn Owl was seen alongside the road between Creaton and Brixworth. I hope it fares better than the Barn Owl I picked up dead this morning alongside the busy A508 between Hanging Houghton and Brixworth. The bird was fresh and had been killed this morning; it was also ringed so I await details of where it originated.

The male Brambling graced the garden again this morning, arguing over the sunflower hearts with the local Greenfinches, and a couple of Reed Buntings came in for seed this afternoon. A visit to Brixworth Sewer Works confirmed the continued presence of a couple of Grey Wagtails and a Chiffchaff.

The gull roost at Pitsford Reservoir this afternoon was mostly uneventful but the adult Caspian Gull showed up again.

Regards

Neil M



Nuthatch

Treecreeper

It's not just water-birds
on show in Abington Park
(Northampton), as these
images from John Gamble prove.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bird Club Photographic Competition

Hello

This is a reminder to members and an invitation to non-members that this coming Wednesday (3rd February 2016) sees the next indoor meeting of the Northants Bird Club at the Pitsford Reservoir Fishing Lodge (NN6 9SJ) .

This will be the annual photographic competition and the first time that the prestigious Graham Soden shield will be awarded to the overall winner. The doors open at 7.30pm and tea and coffee and biscuits will be available. 

Please come along and enjoy your evening!

Neil M

Kelmarsh Hall ringing

Hello

Eric Graham was out on the Titchmarsh Reserve at Thrapston GP this morning and again saw the Great White Egret plus five Goosanders and eight Lesser Redpolls at the feeding station there.

Eleanor was out Staverton way this morning and saw the regular pair of Raven. A subsequent visit to Ravensthorpe Reservoir successfully coincided with two Otters active on the 'small side' of the reservoir at 1pm, and of course the Great White Egret was present too.

A ringing session at Kelmarsh Hall today yielded 105 captures made up of 56 new birds and 49 re-traps which amounted to 40 Blue Tits, 17 Great Tits, 4 Coal Tits, 7 Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest, a Wren, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Robins, 2 Blackbirds, a Redwing, 15 Chaffinches, 3 Greenfinches, a Siskin, 3 Goldfinches, 4 Nuthatches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Other birds noted included a Raven, a redpoll sp and at least one other Siskin.

A soggy Blueberry Farm this afternoon seemed mostly devoid of birds, a single male Stonechat being the only bird of note.

Regards

Neil M



Coal Tit

Image courtesy
of Cathy Ryden.

Kestrel at
Blueberry Farm, Maidwell

Friday, 29 January 2016

Ringing Recoveries

Hello

Little in the way of birds to report today - I did notice a Willow Tit at Scotland Wood and a Raven at Kelmarsh whilst trundling between feeding stations...

A couple of international ringing recoveries have been received of birds first caught and ringed at Stortons Gravel Pits...

The first relates to a Reed Warbler hatched in 2015 and caught and ringed initially on 29th August 2015. Whether this was a bird reared at Stortons or a bird already on passage migration is difficult to ascertain. This bird was caught again by ringers in Saint-Clement-des-Baleines, Charente-Maritime which is on the Atlantic seaboard in South West France 22 days later on 20th September 2015. In that time this young bird had flown 668km due south.

The second is a rather belated report referring to an adult male Blackbird first caught and ringed on 18th October 2009. This migrant thrush was found freshly dead on 1st March 2011 on the southern tip of Norway at a place called Farsund, some 449 days and 813km north-east from where it had first been processed. Presumably this Scandanavian-origin bird had over-wintered successfully in the UK during the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 winters and was returning to its breeding grounds when it met its fate.

Regards

Neil M


Reed Warbler

Adult male Blackbird

Both images courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Atmospheric images

Hello

No birding opportunities today but Lisa Morris visited Ravensthorpe Reservoir this morning and enjoyed just a single view of her first ever Otter!

The atmospheric images posted below are offered by Cathy Ryden, capturing the riot of colours and opportunities that this time of the year sometimes provides...

Regards

Neil M






Long-tailed Tit


Male Lesser Redpoll


All images courtesy of
Cathy Ryden

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Limited birding today...

Hello

The male Brambling put in a brief garden appearance this morning but dirty double-glazing isn't good for photos!

I paid Ravensthorpe Reservoir a visit late morning but didn't see any Otter activity. Birds visible from the causeway included the Great White Egret still plus a Little Egret and a Grey Wagtail.

Regards

Neil M


Male Brambling


Drake Goldeneye

Long-tailed Tit

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Blustery feathers!

Hello

In blustery conditions this morning, Eleanor took a long walk around the Blueberry Farm complex near Maidwell and was rewarded with views of an adult male Merlin, three Woodcock, a Barn Owl and a pair of Stonechat.

I didn't see much on my travels this morning, notching up a Grey Wagtail at Brixworth Sewer Treatment Works and another one here at Hanging Houghton. A nice male Brambling was feeding in the garden again. 

A couple of Red Kites were foraging at Brixworth but were just too distant in poor light to provide the best opportunity for photographs...

Regards

Neil M



Red Kite

Monday, 25 January 2016

Harrington birds

Hello

A foray out to Harrington Airfield this morning was sufficient to see singles of Raven, Woodcock, Brambling and a redpoll sp. A party of Siskins were at nearby Kelmarsh Hall.

Yesterday, Chris Payne came across a party of ten Little Egrets in fields near to Greens Norton. Apparently there have been up to twenty birds recently on the floods there...

Regards

Neil M

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Stanwick Ringing Demonstration

Hello

The bird ringing demonstration at Stanwick Lakes was very well attended and we had something like just short of a hundred birds to be able to show to people during the processing stage. Blue Tits were the most numerous, plus many Great Tits and plenty of other common species. Scarcer birds included three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Redwing, a Chiffchaff and at least five Goldcrests.

The site was busy with birds which included a thousand Lapwing, about five hundred Golden Plovers and good numbers of gulls and wildfowl. More unusual birds included a smart male Firecrest in reeds and scrub close to the breeze block/concrete hide just off the old railway track and a Siberian Chiffchaff in willows alongside the old railway track near to the Visitors Centre.

A brief visit to Broadholme Treatment Works next to Ditchford GP provided views of two Green Sandpipers, a Chiffchaff and 2-3 Grey Wagtails.

Regards

Neil M


Redwing


Siberian Chiffchaff

Red Kite

Green Sandpipers

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Pitsford WeBS count

Hello

Today was the WeBS count at Pitsford Reservoir, which initially had some mist to contend with. No sign of any Great White Egrets today but there were still eight Little Egrets despite the high water levels. A drake Smew was in the Scaldwell Bay and an adult female Peregrine put in a couple of appearances. The Red-necked Grebe was off the Gorse Bushes (precisely half way between the dam and causeway) and the Ruddy Shelduck was again in the vicinity of the Sailing Club. Two Redshanks were present today, as were forty Snipe and an adult Caspian Gull was seen in the roost late afternoon. Other birds included a male Stonechat, a Willow Tit, a Kingfisher, a couple of Little Owls, about twenty Siskins and in excess of twenty Lesser Redpolls.

A pair of Stonechat were again in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and Harrington Airfield this afternoon hosted a flock of ca250 Golden Plovers and a couple of fly-through Ravens.

Eric Graham was out on the Titchmarsh reserve at Thrapston GP today and notched up a Great White Egret, nine Goosanders, a Peregrine and at least one Lesser Redpoll.

Regards

Neil M


Quick count them, it's a WeBS count day!

Drake Goldeneye

Distant image of the
long-staying Red-necked Grebe


Male Stonechat

Ruddy Shelduck

All images at Pitsford
Reservoir today...

Friday, 22 January 2016

Ringing data

Hello

The provisional figures for bird ringing completed by members of the Northants Ringing Group in 2015 has been compiled by our secretary Nick Wood. Most of the birds were captured in the county with a couple of regular sites just over the county border. Total captures are calculated at 11,851 made up of 7,455 new birds, 1,314 nestlings and 3,082 re-traps/controls. With two other active ringing groups in the county it looks as if 2015 will be another successful year for Northamptonshire despite the frustrating catching conditions of late autumn and December.

More interesting recoveries include an adult female Great Tit that was re-caught at Pitsford Reservoir on Wednesday which was first ringed as a juvenile there in July 2010 meaning that she will have attained six years if she survives to the summer. Dave Francis has been informed of a recent Blue Tit re-capture which confirms that this bird is seven years old, very old indeed for a Blue Tit.

An adult female Lesser Redpoll caught at Linford Lakes (Milton Keynes) on 22nd November 2015 was first caught at Icklesham, East Sussex on 27th November 2013. An adult female Blackbird processed at Woodford Halse Nature Reserve on 1st November 2015 was first ringed as long ago as 24th August 2011 at Wanlip Gravel Pits, Leicestershire. She was aged as an adult when first ringed so I wonder what caused her to relocate 60km to the south?

Regards

Neil M


Female Blackbird

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Lesser Redpoll

Stanwick Lakes Big Garden Birdwatch event

Big Garden Birdwatch

Sun 24th January 2016


Start: 8:00 AM | End: 3:00 PM

Join us for this free event and find out more about the birds that live at Stanwick Lakes and the ones you might find in your garden.
From 8am – Bird ringing demonstration (weather dependent)
10am – 12 noon and 1pm – 3pm – Join Bob Webster for a guided walk
Various other bird guides will be in our hides around the site throughout the day.

 http://www.stanwicklakes.org.uk/northampton/whats-on/big-garden-birdwatch-2/



Thursday, 21 January 2016

It's becoming milder again...

Hello

No birding was possible today but Eleanor did see the pair of Stonechat in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton again.

Some more pictures from Robin...

Neil M


Drake Gadwall

Drake Wigeon



Long-tailed Tit

All images courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Scarce wildfowl

Hello

John Gamble was out and about around the Weston Mill area of the Nene Valley yesterday (Tuesday) in frosty conditions. Checking through the Greylag Goose flock he picked out singles of Barnacle Goose and Pink-footed Goose (please see images below).

Steve Rappitt paid Ravensthorpe Reservoir a visit this afternoon (Wednesday) and enjoyed excellent views of a drake Smew (please image below)...

Regards

Neil M



Barnacle Goose

Pink-footed Goose

Fieldfare

Above three images
courtesy of John Gamble.

Drake Smew at
Ravensthorpe Reservoir
courtesy of Steve Rappitt

Ringing at Pitsford Res

Hello

A few hours bird ringing in Christies Copse in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir today succeeded in trapping over a hundred tits, which provides a picture of the number of birds attracted to the feeders there. The majority of them were Blue Tits and Great Tits but also Long-tailed Tits, Coal Tits, two Marsh Tits and a Willow Tit.

Other birds noted in the same area included three Woodcock, a Raven, a Chiffchaff, a Water Rail, 1-2 Siskin(s) and 12 redpoll sp.

Sad news relayed today was that one of the Otters at Ravensthorpe Reservoir was run over on the causeway last night, I guess a fairly predictable result with the combination of a busy road and their activity.

Regards

Neil M


Willow Tit

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Birds of Ravensthorpe Reservoir

Hello

Virtually no opportunity for birding today, but I did flush up a Short-eared Owl at Harrington Airfield this morning on my walk to feed the birds there...

Cathy Ryden was at Ravensthorpe Reservoir this evening and saw at least one Otter.

Regards

Neil M


Black-headed Gull

Cormorant

Mute Swan

Goldcrest

All images from
Ravensthorpe Rservoir
courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Monday, 18 January 2016

The snow has almost gone...

Hello

The male Brambling was among the garden Chaffinches here at Hanging Houghton again today and Graham Bentley visited Ravensthorpe Reservoir this morning and watched three Otters, the Great White Egret and a pair of Smew.

Eleanor saw small numbers of redpolls and Siskins in Brixworth Country Park this afternoon and the Ruddy Shelduck was with Canada Geese in the Sailing Club grounds of Pitsford Reservoir. Chris Payne saw two Ravens down at Bradden today...

Kenny Cramer conducted some ringing at Linford Lakes yesterday, catching some 27 birds of 12 species which included a Song Thrush, a Green Woodpecker, three Goldcrests, a Chiffchaff and three Siskins.

Albeit it is weather dependent, it is hoped to run a ringing demonstration at Stanwick Lakes this coming Sunday (24th January) with Ian Wrisdale presiding but supported by other members of the Northants Ringing Group. More details in due course...

Regards

Neil M

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Wintery Northamptonshire!

Hello

The snowfall from last night created a very wintery landscape today.

Birds at Harrington Airfield this morning included 150 Golden Plovers, 3 Snipe and 15 Skylarks and a meander at Blueberry Farm again provided three pairs of Stonechat and two Woodcock.

The weather of the last two days has pushed different birds in to our garden which has included a couple of Reed Buntings, a Tree Sparrow or two, a Mistle Thrush and today a Brambling. A Blackcap was in Jacob Spink's garden in Scaldwell village yesterday and today he noted a first year Caspian Gull in fields between there and Pitsford Reservoir.

A ringing session around the Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station at Pitsford Reservoir this morning provided a significant haul of 108 birds made up of 52 Yellowhammers, 13 Reed Buntings, 9 Blue Tits, 6 Great Tits, 6 Dunnocks, 5 Chaffinches, 3 Redwings, 3 Blackbirds, 2 Tree Sparrows, 2 Goldfinches, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Robins, a Goldcrest, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Pied Wagtail.
A Kingfisher and a Goosander were also present.

A walk at the Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows reserve (part of the Ditchford Gravel Pits complex) provided records of a Cetti's Warbler, a Chiffchaff, three Water Rails, three Snipe and three Lesser Redpolls.

Some census work on land at Orton this afternoon yielded a fabulous flock of about 250 Yellowhammers, sharing a field with up to 38 Reed Buntings, 50 Skylarks and a dozen Tree Sparrows.

Regards

Neil M




Snowy Northamptonshire!