Saturday, 11 February 2017

Old haunts


A dull cold day in the county with more or less constant sleet, rain and light snow for much of it.

It was a day of revisiting old birding haunts for me today so the first couple of hours were spent around the Polebrook Airfield complex looking at the scrubby reserve and large, flat fields more reminiscent of neighbouring Cambridgeshire. Good to see some purposeful habitat management and new hedging and this area is now looking more promising again. A Little Owl and a flock of fifty Golden Plovers plus several Brown Hares were the highlights.

Checking a couple of sites near Hemington and Barnwell failed to locate anything unusual so on to Thrapston Gravel Pits where I took a slow walk around the Titchmarsh Reserve and some of the other pits. It seemed quiet here too, the best being a Great White Egret on Heronry Lake, a Little Egret, two Kingfishers, a Water Rail, three Cetti's Warblers, a Lesser Redpoll (Debbie and Eric Graham saw six) and fifteen Siskins.

The Blatherwycke Lake area supported three Kingfishers, a Little Egret, a Brambling and two Siskins and the gulls congregating in the fields next to Rushton Landfill site all looked very ordinary. A roadside Barn Owl near Scaldwell was in hunting mode and caught something on the grass verge right next to my car late this afternoon.

Eleanor checked the valley below Hanging Houghton this morning and re-located a pair of Stonechat and saw a Barn Owl. She went on to see at least four Ravens at Staverton and on her way back notched up a pair of Goosander and a Water Rail at Daventry Country Park. Eleanor and Cathy Ryden walked around Ravensthorpe Reservoir this afternoon, noting two Great White Egrets, a drake Smew and two very playful Otters! Cathy had earlier seen a pair of Siskin and a Bullfinch on her garden feeders.

Sarah and Kenny Cramer tried some ringing at Milton Keynes Community Orchard today and caught and processed forty birds, thirty-one of which were new. Again Blackbirds dominated with twenty-one caught (seven re-traps), a fair proportion of which are likely to have originated from the continent. Other birds included a single Song Thrush, four Redwings, a Woodpigeon and a pair of Bullfinch.


Neil M

Snowdrops Blatherwycke

Male Reed Bunting.

Cock Pheasant.


Grey Heron. An adult bird
hunting rodents.

Fieldfare and apples!

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