Friday, 22 July 2016

Pitsford Reservoir antics


A ringing session at the main Pitsford Reservoir feeding station spanning a few hours yesterday evening (Thursday) and first thing this morning (Friday) yielded a very good total of 71 captures (64 new birds and 7 re-traps). As you would hope at this time of the year most of the birds were juveniles (hatched this year) and were made up of 14 Dunnocks, 13 Tree Sparrows, 6 Chaffinches, 5 Sedge Warblers, 4 Blue Tits, 4 Robins, 5 Blackbirds, 6 Great Tits, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Wrens, 2 Reed Buntings and singles of Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Reed Warbler and Woodpigeon. 

The RAF Red Arrows display team whizzed over the reservoir heading south yesterday evening, and this afternoon they came back north between Hanging Houghton and Blueberry Farm.

Clouds of biting flies (Cleggs and Deer Flies) surrounded us this morning in warm conditions at Pitsford as efforts were made to tidy up the ringing rides in the Walgrave Bay, and work has started this week in replacing the bridges arching over the brooks at the very ends of the Scaldwell and Walgrave bays. Pedestrian access around the reserve shouldn't be affected by this essential work which is likely to take some weeks. A couple of Marbled White butterflies can be seen in the Scaldwell Meadow currently, between the causeway and the Maytrees Hide.

A flock of 14 Mistle Thrushes at Hanging Houghton this morning is a typical summer record when all the local village birds flock up after all breeding efforts are over. This bird is another of those species which is still present over most of its original range but the numbers have thinned out during the last few years.

Several hours walking and scanning in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this afternoon in sultry and humid conditions paid off for Eleanor with sightings of two Crossbills over Blueberry Farm, at least one Hobby and a juvenile Marsh Harrier again hunting cereal fields and grass headlands. Just a few Marbled Whites were visible at Blueberry Farm.

Birds of interest in the area of the dam and sailing club at Pitsford Reservoir this evening amounted to little more than two adult Yellow-legged Gulls and a Common Sandpiper.


Neil M

Some of the Red Arrows
(of a flight of nine aircraft)

Yellow-legged Gull
at Pitsford Reservoir
today courtesy of
Jacob Spinks (Young
Birdwatcher of the
Year finalist!)

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