Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thursday's birds


Single Barn Owls were noted near Brixworth and again below Hanging Houghton today.

A visit to the floating rafts at Pitsford Reservoir provided evidence of more hatched Common Tern chicks and with two of the Oystercatcher chicks still present too. A small 'black goose' with the Canada Goose flock is seemingly one of the races of Cackling Goose or one of the small types of Canada Goose and presumed of captive origin.

An experimental ringing session at Lamport Hall this evening provided the capture and ringing of eleven Swifts and two House Martins, with a pair of Hobby in close attendance!


Neil M

Juvenile Robin!

A Swift in the process of being ringed.

Images courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Images from Pitsford Reservoir.


Some recent images from Pitsford Reservoir with my thanks to Robin and David for their valued contributions...


Neil M

Tufted Duck

The acrobatic Common Tern


All above images
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Common Spotted Orchid
as found in the Walgrave Bay.

Juvenile Common Buzzard.
 This bird is exhibiting some kind of
 deformity or disease affecting the softer tissue
 to the right hand side of the head.

Above two images courtesy of
David Arden.

Grey Heron.

Courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Pitsford CES


Dave Francis worked Session 6 of the Constant Effort ringing effort in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir today, catching 47 birds. This is much less than would be expected and appears to confirm a poor breeding season at Pitsford for many species.

Nineteen species were captured today including two Coots and a Mallard in the duck trap and other birds of interest included two Kingfishers, six Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, a Reed Warbler, five Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a Treecreeper, a Song Thrush and a Bullfinch. The only bird in good numbers was the fabulous Robin with eleven individuals logged.


Neil M

Stroppy Avocets!

Images from Titchwell
taken on Sunday.

Monday, 27 June 2016

More images from Norfolk...


Yesterday (Sunday) and the ringing session at Stortons Gravel Pits was somewhat curtailed due to this unpredictable June weather. However 22 birds were captured before rain and wind stopped play and included juvenile Whitethroats and a juvenile Sedge Warbler. A Reed Bunting bearing ring number Z310185 was netted - this bird was first caught and ringed at Harrington Airfield in September 2014.

Today (Monday) and a single Turtle Dove was the only bird of note located at Harrington Airfield with Blueberry Farm hosting now three 'reeling' Grasshopper Warblers and a Barn Owl this evening.


Neil M

Common Tern

Sandwich Tern

Bearded Tits

Mallard duckling


Avocet chick

All images from the
RSPB reserve at Titchwell.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

A day to Norfolk


Northants Ringing Group members assisted at a bioblitz project at Linford Lakes near Milton Keynes yesterday (Saturday), catching 49 birds, 40 of which were new. A juvenile Cetti's Warbler was confirmation that this species now breeds on-site but something of a surprise was the capture of a first year female Redstart. Presumably this is a failed breeder already on it's way back south. Other birds included 5 Reed Warblers, 5 Blackcaps, 3 Garden Warblers, a Whitethroat, a Treecreeper, 2 Reed Buntings and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Today (Sunday) and Debbie and Eric Graham were out and about on the Titchmarsh Reserve at Thrapston and located four singing Cetti's Warblers and saw a Peregrine too.

Also today a car-load of us headed to the North Norfolk coast, stopping first at Sandringham where we were treated to at least one Firecrest.

On next to Holme in an effort to see the Great Knot, only to see the complete flock of summering Knot  (which it spends it's time with) lift off and fly rapidly east! A Marsh Harrier and a Turtle Dove were some compensation.

We drove to the RSPB reserve at Titchwell but there was no sign of the GK. Three Ruff included a couple of moulting males, one of which was displaying between bouts of feeding. Up to four Spotted Redshanks were still in summer plumage, three or four first summer Little Gulls were mobile as were three summer plumage Mediterranean Gulls. Some fledged juvenile Marsh Harriers clearly required further practice at food-passing, losing the hard-earned prey on two occasions!

On next to Brancaster where we walked down to view the Knot flock on Scolt Head. Little, Common and Sandwich Terns fished the shallow waters as we scanned the mostly soft greys of the Knot, interspersed with summer plumage 'Red Knot'. And there it was, the super Great Knot, keeping to the edge of the flock and then coming down to feed on the receding tide! After putting the news out we helped other birders on to the bird as they ambled amongst ordinary holiday makers enjoying the classic sandy Norfolk beach.

We finished the birding day back at Titchwell where Bearded Tits showed well, five Spoonbills were in flight, a Bittern boomed and we watched the antics of the volatile breeding Avocets as they tried to force out any other bird from 'their' stretch of mud and shallow water.

Please also see the Tab 'Robin's Wildlife Antics' which includes a recently posted series of shots depicting aggressive interaction between a trio of Great Crested Grebes...


Neil M



Little Tern

Sandwich Tern

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Ringing at Brixworth


A ringing session at Brixworth water treatment works this afternoon was a little slow but we eventually caught 37 birds which included 14 Pied Wagtails, a female Yellow Wagtail, a juvenile Grey Wagtail, a House Martin (which was a returning bird from 2014), 12 Swallows (including a bird first ringed in Hertfordshire in August 2015) and 4 Magpies...

A Hobby was one of five species of raptor noted during our time there.


Neil M

Pied Wagtails.

Quite a number of the
Pied Wagtails we are catching
are juveniles and there seems
 to be plenty of them!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Middle England in June


Today an early morning walk at Harrington Airfield didn't provide any particular birds of interest apart from a couple of Willow Tits which remained mostly well hidden in the vegetation.

Three Grey Partridges were found close to Hanging Houghton again and the Ruddy Shelduck remains within the grounds of the Sailing Club at Pitsford Reservoir.

Welford Reservoir this evening looked spectacular in strong sunshine against a backdrop of dark rain-laden clouds and the only birds of note was a fish-carrying Kingfisher and Great Crested Grebes with stripey young. A Spotted Flycatcher was present between Naseby and Welford.


Neil M

Common Spotted Orchids
Harrington Airfield.

Poppies at Harrington Airfield.

Juvenile Blue Tit.

Joseph our long-staying
rescue dog on foster care.
Is there a home out there
for him?

Singing Yellowhammer
on hawthorn.

'Middle England' complete with
spiraling Common Buzzard!

There they go!

The Red Arrows
heading north over
the Brampton Valley
near Hanging
Houghton this evening...

Thursday, 23 June 2016

More images from Robin


Nothing much to report locally today, so some more wildlife images from Robin Gossage to cast your eyes over....


Neil M

Stock Dove

Grass Snake


Marsh Tit

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Warm but wet June


At Pitsford Reservoir this morning an Osprey was fishing between the dam and the causeway for nearly half an hour before finally catching a fish and heading off at about 7.30am. Other birds included the injured Ruddy Shelduck and a couple of Little Egrets.

A pair of Grey Partridge were present at Harrington Airfield this morning and a sticky, warm Blueberry Farm was good for two singing Grasshopper Warblers this evening.


Neil M

Reed Bunting

Courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Sedge Warbler carrying food.

Courtesy of John Gamble.