Sunday, 18 June 2017

Hot June birding


Yesterday (Saturday) and Eleanor's wanderings provided records of 'reeling' Grasshopper Warblers at Blueberry Farm (bottom of The Hill) and in the regular weedy field between Lamport and the farm.

A brief foray to Harrington Airfield also yesterday confirmed the continuing presence of a pair of Sedge Warblers at the north-west end of the concrete track, at least three Grey Partridges and a couple of Turtle Doves. Small butterflies included a fresh Grizzled Skipper and the first emergence of the day-flying Burnett moths.

This morning and a small band of ringers were operating mist nets at Linford Lakes providing 90 captures, a very good total mostly of new birds (76) and a small number of re-traps (14) which included a Reed Warbler and Blackbird which have been ringed elsewhere (known as 'controls').

This relatively new ringing site just outside Northamptonshire is proving a profitable location for some long term studying. Highlights included 7 Whitethroats, 13 Reed Warblers, 8 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs, 3 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Sedge Warblers, a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker, a juvenile Treecreeper and a Kingfisher.

Also today a small number of Northants birders drove south in the sweltering heat to Pagham Harbour in Sussex. A coastal tern colony has recently attracted an Elegant Tern to linger and after a bit of a wait we finally obtained good views of this pristine-looking bird. A little larger than a Sandwich Tern and armed with a long orangey-yellow bill, this bird will have originated on the Pacific coast of the USA. However the colour-ring sequence on it's legs indicate that this is a male bird that has previously tried breeding with Sandwich Terns in France, it's identity apparently having been confirmed by DNA (there are many large yellow/orange billed terns in the world)!

Other birds included a fine adult Roseate Tern sporting impossibly long tail streamers, lots of Sandwich, Common and Little Terns, good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls, a couple of Avocets and a Peregrine.

Eleanor noticed a flock of at least thirty Lapwings in a scuffled field at Blueberry Farm this afternoon, the first flock of these mostly failed breeding birds.


Neil M

Common Whitethroat.

Mediterranean Gull.

Distant images of
the Elegant Tern.

All images courtesy of
Jacob Spinks.

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