Monday, 31 October 2016

A day out to Norfolk...


Dave Francis committed to some ringing again at Pitsford Reservoir this morning, this time working the Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station. He caught 57 birds which included 2 Goldcrests, 7 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Tree Sparrows, a Reed Bunting, a Yellowhammer and three Blackbirds.

Eric Graham spent some time at Thrapston Gravel Pits today and again saw a mobile Great White Egret as well as the usual fare.

Today we had a day out on the North Norfolk coast, starting at Burnham Overy Dunes. Here we connected with an Isabelline Wheatear which has been present for well over a week, plus a couple of Snow Buntings, a Water Pipit, a couple of Marsh Harriers, a Brambling, plenty of common waders and in-coming winter thrushes. Lots of Pink-footed Geese unfortunately brought out wildfowlers who were actively bringing them down as they flew over us. Wonderful to see the geese and their evocative calls, but the thump of guns and bags of dead geese was sickening quite frankly.

A wander around the sands and coastal vegetation at Holkham was good for watching a flock of at least 35 Shore Larks, well at least until the mist/fog came down! A large flock of Linnets and good numbers of Rock and Meadow Pipits were also present but it was probably human disturbance that had caused displacement of the reported Twite and Lapland Buntings of the last few days. We heard a Waxwing and Siskin and watched thrushes coming in off the sea and a hunting Barn Owl, but with the visibility curtailing any more birding we moved on to Titchwell.

The RSPB reserve rarely disappoints and the scrapes and islands were packed with birds including a thousand Golden Plovers, over a hundred Ruff and many godwits and other waders, geese and gulls. Up to four Marsh Harriers quartered the reeds, one making an effort to try and catch the roosting Starlings (which included a white bird). There was a group of four European White-fronted Geese, plenty of vocal Water Rails and the bushes and trees held Chiffchaffs, Siskins and Bramblings. Birds at dusk included three Water Pipits, a Barn Owl and small flocks of Common Scoter on the sea.


Neil M

Male Bearded Tit

Isabelline Wheatear

Snow Bunting

Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

NBC Indoor Meeting 2nd Nov


The next indoor meeting of the Northamptonshire Bird Club will be this coming Wednesday evening (2nd Nov) at the Fishing Lodge, Pitsford Reservoir, Brixworth Road, Holcot (NN6 9SJ).

The meeting starts at 7.30pm and following preliminary notices the main part of the evening will be a presentation by Tim Mackrill on the Rutland Osprey Project. The aim is to bring the Osprey back in to the midlands as a breeding bird and Tim will provide an illustrated update following on from a previous presentation. Hot drinks and biscuits will be available all evening.

This meeting is open to members and non-members alike and we look forward to seeing you there!


Neil M


Sunday's birds...


This morning we spent a couple of hours at Ditchford Gravel Pits on the pits west of Ditchford Lane. Birds noted included three Egyptian Geese, a Snipe, a Kingfisher, two Water Rails, three Cetti's Warblers and three Stonechats. A group of four Rock Pipits touched down briefly but after only about five minutes of foraging around the edge of one of the pits they appeared to fly off.

Kenny Cramer and team enjoyed another ringing session at Linford Lakes near Milton Keynes this morning, processing forty-six birds. Thrushes dominated with seven Redwings, two Song Thrushes, two Blackbirds and a single Fieldfare. Six new Robins and four new Goldcrests suggested an influx. Amphibians on show amounted to Great Crested Newt, Common Newt and Common Toad and there was a late Grass Snake visible too.

John Woollett and team were industrious at Stortons Gravel Pits this morning with thirty-nine birds caught. One of these was a re-trap Goldcrest which was first caught in November 2015 and again in February 2016, suggesting that this individual treats the vegetative borders of the gravel pits complex as a suitable wintering site (generally there are no Goldcrests on-site during the summer months). Other birds captured included a Chiffchaff, three other Goldcrests, a Reed Bunting, a Song Thrush and three Redwings. Other birds overflying included a Siskin and a pair of Raven.

A Woodcock and three Snipe were flushed from field margins near to Lamport Hall this afternoon and birds in the village at Hanging Houghton today included a Nuthatch, a Siskin, a Brambling and two Grey Wagtails.


Neil M

Goldcrest at Stortons
GP, courtesy of John Boland.

The Redwing has featured
heavily on the blog recently
but I couldn't resist this image
from Chris Payne of one of the
birds captured at Stortons GP today...

House Sparrow x Tree Sparrow
hybrid. This bird was caught at
Hanging Houghton this afternoon.
Superficially this bird most
resembled a Tree Sparrow but was much
too large and note the extensive bib,
absence of a clear cut cheek patch, grey/
brown flecking to the front of the
crown and almost a hint of a pale
supercilium. The underside was greyer
than a pure Tree Sparrow. It is likely that
this is a male bird.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Glyn Davies Wood


A complete change of venue this morning as a small team of us ventured over to the small but special Glyn Davies Wood in the extreme west of the county. This relict woodland reserve is an occasional winter ringing site and is managed by the warden Mike Lewis of the Banbury Ornithological Society. We set up some mist nets before dawn but the three or so calling Tawny Owls evaded capture and we could hear a calling Barn Owl patrolling just outside the wood.

We went on to catch 68 birds, the composition of the catch clearly influenced by the very mild conditions. The most common bird we caught was Goldcrest with 26 birds being ringed. Other birds of note included two Lesser Redpolls, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Treecreeper, five Coal Tits and two Marsh Tits.

A male Brambling, a couple of Siskins and a Woodcock were also present in the wood.

A pair of Stonechat were on the south side of the Blueberry Farm complex this afternoon and two Ravens were again present at Staverton.

A late visit to the dam at Pitsford Reservoir this evening provided views of an adult Caspian Gull and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.


Neil M


Lesser Redpoll.
Images from the Pitsford
ringing session yesterday
courtesy of Lynne Barnett.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Wildlife Trust Optics Day


On Saturday 12th November 2016 The Wildlife Trust of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire will be holding an Optics Day at Grafham Water with corporate partners Opticron and Anglian Water. 

Opticron will be showcasing its range of binoculars, telescopes, tripods and accessories, and will be on hand throughout the day to help and advise you. Whether you are just starting out in birdwatching and don't know where to begin, or if you are a veteran birdwatcher looking to upgrade your old binoculars or telescope, it will provide an opportunity to have your questions answered and to receive a demonstration.

Perhaps you would like to try them out on one of the guided walks which will be led by the Huntingdon Local Group. Bookings for walks should be made on our website as spaces are limited. Please note that the end time is weather dependent, maximum places for walks are 15. 

The event is free, but donations are welcome; normal car parking charges at the venue apply.

Posted on behalf of the Wildlife Trust for BCN...


Neil M

Pitsford birds


A ringing session in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir proved useful with 86 birds of 17 species being handled. The local Tawny Owl turned up in the nets and we can track this individual back a good number of years now and she is in excess of 12 years old! Other birds included 5 Blackbirds, 9 Redwings, a Song Thrush, 23 Long-tailed Tits, 13 Goldcrests, a Treecreeper, 2 Bullfinches, 2 Lesser Redpolls and singles of both Marsh and Willow Tit. A couple of Grey Wagtails were around the trapping area with another regular individual at the Sailing Club.

Other birds noted at Pitsford Res today included two Great White Egrets in the Scaldwell Bay plus eleven Red-crested Pochard, plenty of Pintail, three Green Sandpipers and a small party of Siskins. A calling Water Pipit flew over in a westerly direction at 11.40am. The evening gull roost provided views of two adult Yellow-legged Gulls and an adult Caspian Gull.

Two pairs of Stonechat were west of Hanging Houghton between the Brampton Valley Way and the Gamboro' Plantation this afternoon.


Neil M

Willow Tit

Lapwing. Fewer birds than ever
seem to spend their time in the
fields of Northamptonshire, and
the numbers are going down at
Pitsford Reservoir too...

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Time to feed the birds...


Broadcasting seed on the concrete track at Harrington Airfield brought plenty of Chaffinches in straight away this morning, a couple of Bramblings also joining in to feed. A Peregrine was hunting over the disused airfield.

At least two Bramblings were in Hanging Houghton village for most of the day...


Neil M


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Pitsford WeBs count


Our focus today was Pitsford Reservoir where a small team successfully completed the monthly WeBs count. Wigeon dominated with well over three thousand birds present, to the degree where it became difficult to count anything else! Most of them were packed in the shallow water of the reserve section. Notable birds included one or two late Garganey (a singleton in the Walgrave Bay and also the Scaldwell Bay a little later), six Red-crested Pochard, two Goldeneye, thirty-six Pintail, three Great White Egrets, a Redshank, up to six Green Sandpipers, nine Snipe, nineteen fly-through Golden Plovers, two Kingfishers and both Willow Tit and Marsh Tit.

Near to the reservoir between Holcot and Walgrave this afternoon a cream-crown Marsh Harrier was flying around fields and a pair of Stonechat were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.

Yesterday (Tuesday) and Chris Payne was again ringing at Greens Norton and caught seventy-two birds in his relatively small garden. Forty-one of these were Goldfinches and there were also nine Greenfinches, three House Sparrows, three Great Tits, twelve Blue Tits, three Dunnocks and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Today and Chris enjoyed watching a Grey Wagtail around his garden pond, the first time he has seen this species in his garden.


Neil M

There seems to be plenty
of Wigeon around at the moment!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Still plenty of Bramblings...


A wander around Harrington Airfield first thing provided views of a pair of Stonechat, twenty Golden Plovers and the large covey of Grey Partridge again. At least four Bramblings were on the seed at the start of the concrete track, feeding with Yellowhammers and Chaffinches.

Brixworth Country Park hosted two Bramblings and two Siskins and there were two Ravens at Hanging Houghton. A pair of Stonechat were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and another pair were at Blueberry Farm. A small flock of at least six Bramblings were in a small copse between the Brampton Valley Way and Blueberry Farm. Yesterday there was a pre-roost gathering of thirty-four Red Kites near to Blueberry Farm.

This afternoon four Jack Snipe and fifteen to twenty Snipe were at Barnes Meadow Reserve and the usual adult Yellow-legged Gull was off the Sailing Club at Pitsford Reservoir as was a Grey Wagtail.


Neil M

Yellow-legged Gull. Large gulls
regularly spend time at Pitsford
Reservoir eating dead and dying
fish and the once scarce Yellow-
legged Gull is much more common
than previously. And they are staying
for longer...

Monday, 24 October 2016

Ditchford WeBs Count


For much of the day I was at Ditchford Gravel Pits part completing the monthly and rather late WeBs count. I concentrated my efforts at the older pits between Higham Ferrers and Ditchford Lane in the vain hope that whilst counting the wildfowl maybe the forest of willows might just turn up a tiny phylloscopus from Siberia. Every year I hope and every year I fail! In fact it was generally quiet but these old pits had nearly a thousand Wigeon packed in on them and smaller birds included nine Kingfishers, seven Cetti's Warblers, six Chiffchaffs, three Grey Wagtails and a couple of Siskins.

A female Peregrine was chasing passerines in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning and this afternoon there were eight Stonechats in the Blueberry Farm/Brampton Valley area where in addition two Crossbills flew east. A small number of Siskins flew over Hanging Houghton this morning and there were two Bramblings in the valley below the village with another at Walgrave village.


Neil M

Ditchford Gravel Pits
supports good numbers
of these colourful birds.

Sunday, 23 October 2016



It seemed that wherever I was today there were flocks of Linnets about. By way of example early this morning a mobile flock at Harrington Airfield numbered exactly 235 - it's easy to count them when they line up side by side on some wires!

Other birds at or over the disused airfield included just one male Brambling around the seed with Chaffinches at the start of the concrete track, a covey of 11/12 Grey Partridges, just 10 Golden Plovers, a mobile flock of 8 Tree Sparrows and of course lots of migrating thrushes. Sadly there was no sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler or Ring Ouzels of the last couple of days and although there were plenty of birds about I failed to connect with anything scarce or rare.

Eleanor was unable to find the Ring Ouzels at Staverton today but the four Ravens were still present.

The future land usage at Blueberry Farm is still uncertain but it appears likely that following the expiry of the seta-side grant scheme the land will return to main-line agriculture. Most of the fields have been cut and today this was proving attractive to at least 12 Red Kites and 6 Common Buzzards.


Neil M

Linnets in winter plumage.
Courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

More thrushes!


An early morning search at Harrington Airfield this morning produced evidence of more large scale thrush movements just after dawn with particularly large numbers of Redwings. Smaller numbers of Fieldfare still numbered two hundred birds and there were plenty of Song Thrushes and Blackbirds but the stars were two Ring Ouzels half way along the concrete track in bushes by the dead willow trees. About six Bramblings were also present which included one on seed at the entrance of the concrete track with Chaffinches. A large covey of Grey Partridge numbered at least ten birds.

Later in the morning two more Ring Ouzels were in a grass field on the outskirts of Staverton, a favourite spot for Raven which numbered at least four individuals today. This afternoon a pair of Stonechat were present at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell.

Eric Graham was again at Thrapston Gravel Pits today and found a Jack Snipe, a female Goosander, two Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap.

In many respects the weather conditions today were ideal for mist-netting birds for ringing purposes. Nick Wood was at Chase Park Farm (bordering Yardley Chase) and caught 43 birds amounting to 16 Blue Tits, 6 Great Tits, 12 new Long-tailed Tits, 3 Goldcrests, a Wren, a Treecreeper, 2 Robins, a Bullfinch and a Blackbird. Chris Payne has been monitoring the Goldfinches coming to his garden feeders and so far this month he has caught 78 different individuals; this species is clearly a modern day success story and the provision of appropriate feedstuffs successfully supplements their natural food of seed emanating from thistle and similar plants.

A ringing session at Pitsford Reservoir today was centred at both the Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station and in the Scaldwell Bay which culminated in 133 captures. Highlights included a Kingfisher, 12 Redwings, a Song Thrush, a Marsh Tit, 2 Willow Tits, a Blackcap, 7 Tree Sparrows, 2 Reed Buntings and 5 Yellowhammers including a re-trapped individual which is at least four and a half years old. Goldcrests caught numbered 24 birds and there were also 5 Bullfinches and 2 Lesser Redpolls (one of which was rather cold coloured).

Other birds noted at the reservoir included two Great White Egrets, three Green Sandpipers, a Snipe, a Raven, seven Pintail and a Chiffchaff.


Neil M

Picture courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Harrington migration


Harrington Airfield was exciting this morning in classic conditions - lots of thrushes spiraling around in the low cloud and initial mirk. Redwings were in their hundreds and there were good numbers of Fieldfares, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Skylarks and Chaffinches on the move. Several flocks of Starlings arrowed south-west and other migrants included four redpoll sp and at least two Bramblings. Birds in the bushes included a couple of Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap and there was a flock of fifty mobile Golden Plovers.

Richard How visited later in the morning and located a Yellow-browed Warbler with a tit flock next to the old shooting wall. An excellent find and well overdue for the site. Unfortunately it couldn't be re-located later.

Two or three Bramblings were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning.


Neil M



Thursday, 20 October 2016

South Northants Ringing


Chris Payne was busy ringing down at Bradden yesterday catching 59 birds made up of 30 Blue Tits, 19 Great Tits, 2 Robins, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Coal Tits, a Chaffinch, a Dunnock and a Nuthatch.

Today it was the turn of his garden at Greens Norton where the configuration of nets and feeders are positioned for optimum catching opportunities. Chris caught 41 new birds and no re-traps, Goldfinches easily being the most common bird with 28 individuals, the majority of them being birds hatched this year. Other birds amounted to 5 Greenfinches, 4 Blue Tits, a Great Tit, a Goldcrest, a Coal Tit and a Blackbird.

Birds at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell prompted two visits there today providing sightings of a Tree Pipit, a pair of Stonechat, probably about ten Bramblings, four redpoll sp flying over, a Corn Bunting, about a hundred Fieldfares and over three hundred Redwings. Eight Red Kites were again following a tractor.

At Harrington Airfield this afternoon birds amounted to four Ravens, at least two Bramblings, two or more redpoll sp and about ten Golden Plovers.

A brief stop at Pitsford Reservoir this afternoon in the vicinity of the Sailing Club was sufficient to see the Ruddy Shelduck, plus an adult Yellow-legged Gull and fly-over singles of Brambling and a redpoll sp.


Neil M

Another view of the furtive
Siberian Accentor from yesterday...

First Winter
Mediterranean Gull.

Chiffchaff. At this time of the year
Chiffchaffs come in all different plumage
tones and colours and make a confusing array of
contact calls. Many of these individuals
are likely to be from far-flung lands and trying
to assign them to specific races is at the least
problematic. For the unwary, some of the shrill
 single and double note calls closely resemble other
 rarer phylloscopus species...

And of course it is the
season of the Redwing! These
very dapper winter thrushes
are true nomads and their impetus
to migrate always seems so strong...

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Quality birds in Northants and Yorkshire!


A walk around the Harrington Airfield complex this morning was good for eight Bramblings (at least six by the concrete entrance and two by the shooting wall), a Short-eared Owl (initially asleep on straw bales at the end of the track), at least four Grey Partridges, thirty Golden Plover, a Blackcap, two Grey Wagtails, a pair of Stonechat and a steady flow of migrating Redwings and Fieldfares over.

Blueberry Farm this afternoon yielded two pairs of Stonechat, a female Peregrine, a female 'ringtail' Hen Harrier at 16.40hrs which flew towards Haselbech and Red Kites and Common Buzzards following a tractor as it was cutting the setaside vegetation. A Barn Owl was hunting in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.

A small team of us ventured up to Easington in East Yorkshire today and successfully saw the Siberian Accentor which has been there for about a week now. A stunning bird which before this autumn had not been recorded in the UK. We also managed to connect with an Isabelline Wheatear which was being pushed around by a Northern Wheatear and other noteworthy birds during the day included Mediterranean Gull, a Peregrine, a Black Redstart and two Shore Larks.


Neil M

Siberian Accentor

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Amazing Migration!


Back on home turf today, and a wander around Harrington Airfield in the rain this morning was sufficient to confirm the presence of good numbers of migrant thrushes. A Golden Plover was heard calling but otherwise I didn't see anything of note.

Neil H was at Pitsford Reservoir this morning and noted three Great White Egrets, three Green Sandpipers and a Pintail on the reserve. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was in the gull roost off the dam this afternoon and a female Peregrine was in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton earlier on this afternoon.

A number of ringing recoveries have been received as follows:-

Two Chiffchaffs ringed in Yorkshire earlier this year have been re-trapped at Pitsford Reservoir this autumn and an adult female Chiffchaff caught and ringed at Pitsford on 19th June this year had only travelled 42 km in a south south-west direction to be re-trapped at Hillesden in Buckinghamshire on 2nd October;

X177982 relates to a Reed Warbler which was ringed at Stortons Gravel Pits as a juvenile on 19th July 2009, which was then re-trapped in Portugal on 24th August 2012. This bird was then captured again at Stortons Gravel Pits on 19th August 2013 and finally was controlled at Wilstone Reservoir, Hertfordshire on 17th July 2016. So where will this seven year old reed dweller turn up next?

Another Reed Warbler (Z677862) was ringed as a nestling at Chew Valley Lake, Avon and Somerset on 24th June 2016 and was then caught at Stortons Gravel Pits on 24th August. This young bird travelled 155km in a north-east direction;

An adult male Blackbird which was caught and ringed in our garden at Hanging Houghton on 26th February 2015 was found freshly dead near Elamajarvi, Vaasa in Finland on 31st August 2016. This migrant Blackbird was found 1982km north east from where originally ringed and thought to have been tragically killed by a cat.


Neil M

Courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Reed Warbler


Sunday, 16 October 2016

Cornish birding


Challenging weather conditions with some hefty showers and strong winds in the coves of Cornwall today, but some sunny spells and mild temperatures too. A lengthy vigil at Porthgwarra seemed destined to failure but during the early afternoon the Red-eyed Vireo finally showed in an elm copse there. A wander around the cove and headland provided views of three Chough, a couple of Ravens and two or three Firecrests. A relatively small Ocean Sunfish was visible from the headland. 

Another vocal Firecrest was seen in Penzance and a stop on the Hayle Estuary was suitably timed to see a juvenile Spoonbill, a Mediterranean Gull and a fine mixture of common waders.

A bit of a drive to Chapel Porth near St Agnes on the north coast provided just a brief view of a secretive Dusky Warbler and another Firecrest.


Neil M

A swimming Water Rail!

A sunlit Gannet

Herring Gulls pecking
at an Oceanic Sunfish

Record shot of the Red-eyed Vireo

Grey Plover

Bar-tailed Godwit

Saturday, 15 October 2016

More county ringing...


Today (Saturday) provided ideal ringing conditions locally in Northants. Dave Francis and Cathy Ryden worked at the Pitsford Reservoir Old Scaldwell Road Feeding Station and Chris Payne and Helen Franklin processed birds at the Bradden site in South Northants.

Fifty-nine birds were caught at Pitsford and included a very young juvenile Brambling which was a bit of a surprise. Dunnocks like this site and twelve were caught there today, only one being a retrap. Other birds included ten Tree Sparrows, eight Robins, six Reed Buntings, four Long-tailed Tits, two Yellowhammers and singles of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Goldfinch.

At dawn there were 69 Mute Swans congregated in the Scaldwell Bay and there was a small passage of Redwings and Fieldfares passing over. A Stonechat was also present.

At Bradden Chris and Helen caught and processed a very respectable forty-four birds made up of sixteen Blue Tits, sixteen Great Tits, two Coal Tits, three Chaffinches, two Robins, a Goldcrest, a Dunnock and three Blackbirds.

The birding down here in the Isles of Scilly has remained very good but so far the islands are not keeping pace with the outstanding list of rarities on the east coast.

On Thursday 13th October we ventured over to the very pleasant island of Bryher and caught up with the two juvenile Dotterel and went on to see a Yellow-browed Warbler feeding on some seaside rocks. Other birds included three Ring Ouzels, two Lapland Buntings, a Merlin and a Peregrine. The island hosted large numbers of thrushes, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and migrants were everywhere.

On our return to St Mary's we spent much of the afternoon obtaining eventual great views of a Pallas's Warbler which had been located on the Garrison. This little mite was whizzing around at probably twice the pace of a Yellow-browed and was very hard to keep up with! Other birds included a Yellow-browed Warbler in the neighbouring tree, a Pied Flycatcher and a couple of Black Redstarts.

Yesterday (Friday) was a difficult birding day with some heavy showers but we managed two Lapland Buntings on St Mary's plus six Black Redstarts, a Common Redstart, several Water Rails, four Jack Snipes, two or three Yellow-browed Warblers and a Ring Ouzel. Being this far south there are still Sandwich Terns in the harbour and still plenty of warblers even if the Wheatears and Whinchats are beginning to thin out.

This morning and a heavy deluge of rain hit when we were in the exposed area of the airfield meaning we were quickly drenched! After the rain several birds emerged from the dripping bushes which included a Siberian Chiffchaff, several Yellow-browed Warblers and a couple of Firecrests. Water Rails and Jack Snipe again showed well and raptors included Peregrine and Hobby. Two Lapland Buntings were a touch flighty and then it was time to again board the Scillonian III and sail to Penzance. Wildlife highlights included Common Dolphins, auks, plenty of Gannets, an Arctic Skua and with a drake Eider in Penzance Harbour.


Neil M





Yellow-browed Warbler!


Sunset from St Mary's

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Ringing exploits from the week-end


Northants Ringing Group members were active in the field again last week-end with sessions at Pitsford Reservoir and Linford Lakes (Milton Keynes).

The nets in the Scaldwell Bay were utilised at Pitsford Reservoir during the afternoon of Saturday 8th and morning of Sunday 9th October, resulting in 59 captures. This included 10 Chiffchaffs, nine Goldcrests, two Redwings, a Blackcap, a Willow Tit and a Jay. One of the Chiffchaffs was a bird previously ringed at Wheldrake Ings reserve in Yorkshire on 26th September 2016 and the Jay was seemingly a bird ringed at Pitsford several years ago with no recaptures since.

Kenny Cramer and team enjoyed an excellent session at Linford on Sunday morning capturing nearly a hundred birds. Correlation with Pitsford was evident with the capture of twenty Chiffchaffs, thirteen Goldcrests, a Blackcap and seven Redwings. Other birds included a Kingfisher, a Green Woodpecker, a Cetti's Warbler and a Lesser Redpoll. Other creatures noted included two Grass Snakes and three Great Crested Newts.

Down here in The Scillies things have quietened down a little although migration is still evident with new birds being found each day. Yesterday (Tuesday), it was decidedly cooler but mostly dry and sunny and still with a stiff easterly wind. Eleanor ran around the complete coastal path around St Mary's first thing, seeing Wryneck, Lapland Bunting and Subalpine Warbler on her way around.

General birding during the day located a second Wryneck and more Yellow-browed Warblers and Firecrests, a Red-breasted Flycatcher, a Pied Flycatcher and small numbers of assorted wagtails and chats. A Hobby was mobile around the island and other birds of interest included Mediterranean Gull, Willow Warbler and several Siskins.

Today (Wednesday) and the weather conditions cooled further and some showers materialised this afternoon. At least three Hobbies were hawking insects around the islands and the thrush numbers further increased with more Redwings, Fieldfares and Ring Ouzels. A couple of Lesser Whitethroats were seemingly of eastern origin, an 'acredula'-type Willow Warbler showed well and Firecrests and Yellow-browed Warblers could be found at a number of localities on St Mary's. Jack Snipe were still in evidence on the island and more common waders could be found on the plentiful beaches and rocky outcrops.


Neil M

Firecrest. Always a stunning bird
and on the Scillies this year they are
 almost as common as the Goldcrest.
A little ringing around our accommodation
has identified five different individuals
utilising the ivy clad elms.

Subalpine Warbler. Considered by some to
be a 'Western' Subalpine Warbler...