Thursday, 30 November 2017

Last of the November birds

Hello

Chris Payne and Sam Betts were ringing at Bradden today, catching 85 birds made up of 39 Blue Tits, 15 Great Tits, 2 Coal Tits, a Long-tailed Tit, 5 Chaffinches, 15 Goldfinches, 3 Robins, 2 Wrens, a Dunnock, a Blackbird and a Song Thrush. Interestingly a Hawfinch sat in the trees above them but elected not to enter the nets, at least not today!



Hawfinch at Bradden
courtesy of Chris Payne.




Jacob was at Pitsford Reservoir today and saw two Great White Egrets, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Shelduck, 21 Pintails, 5 Dunlin, a Grey Wagtail, a Nuthatch and 3 Siskins. He also saw 2 Ravens and a Woodcock at Moulton College, a Siskin and a Nuthatch at Scaldwell and a Barn Owl between Scaldwell and Brixworth.









Images of birds from the Scotland Wood ringing session
yesterday, courtesy of John Tilly (Wren, Great Spotted
Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper).


        Neil M


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Scotland Wood ringing

Hello

A ringing session took place at Scotland Wood on the Kelmarsh Estate today netting 99 birds. This is the first time any ringing has been attempted at this location since last winter so it was good to process 40 previously ringed birds suggesting reasonable survival rates. Of these re-traps, one was a Blue Tit that was first ringed as a juvenile at Harrington Airfield on 13th June 2017 and two of the Coal Tits are at least four years old.

One Blue Tit carrying ring number X671142 was first ringed as an adult at Scotland Wood on 2nd October 2010 which means that this long-lived individual is at least eight years old - very old for a Blue Tit!

Fourteen species trapped were made up of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 16 Goldcrests, a Wren, 2 Treecreepers, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Dunnocks, 2 Robins, 19 Great Tits, 24 Blue Tits, 16 Coal Tits, 4 Marsh Tits, 4 Chaffinches, a Bullfinch and a Nuthatch.

Other birds noted included a Hawfinch briefly, several Siskins and probably three different Woodcocks. A male Brambling was at nearby Kelmarsh Hall this afternoon.

Regards

Neil M


Marsh Tit.
Image courtesy of
Chris Payne.

Blue Tits.

Coal Tit.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Still more Hawfinches!

Hello

No birding for me today but Eleanor was up at Harrington Airfield this morning and there were still plenty of thrushes depleting the berries. Three Hawfinches were all perched in bushes and consuming hawthorn berries, two not far from the chippings compound and a bright male by the second bunker. An adult male Peregrine was in hunting mode and seemed to be targeting the Fieldfares.

Another Hawfinch was circulating around the village here at Hanging Houghton this morning, possibly spending time in the grounds of Lamport Grange, and it or another was heard calling this afternoon.

Regards

Neil M


Sorry for the recent repeat of
this image but I don't have
many pictures of Hawfinch!

Monday, 27 November 2017

166 and counting!

Hello

Harrington Airfield this morning still hosted plenty of thrushes, but those berries won't last forever! A single Brambling was with thirty or so Chaffinches on seed at the concrete track entrance.

A Raven was at Cottesbrooke and two more were over the A5199 near Hollowell Reservoir. A visit to Ravensthorpe Reservoir in the rain this afternoon was worth it to see the juvenile Whooper Swan socialising with the Mute Swans, and there were three Great White Egrets, ten Little Egrets, four Green Sandpipers and three Grey Wagtails present too.

Jacob's efforts at Pitsford Reservoir today provided a Shelduck, 10 Pintail, a Scaup, a Black Swan, 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Redshank, a Dunlin, a Woodcock, a Kingfisher, a Raven, 2 Stonechats, a Brambling, 3 Redpolls and 7 Siskins. The Woodcock was number 166 bird species seen at Pitsford this year by Jacob, a very impressive total!

Regards

Neil M


Long-tailed Tit.
Keeping close to thorn
bushes is an important
strategy for these little
birds in the winter as the
foliage disappears and they
are vulnerable to attack.


Juvenile Whooper Swan
at Ravensthorpe Reservoir.
This young bird has become
separated from its parents and
has now sought the company of
Mute Swans, which are not
 always that friendly!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Frosty November birds

Hello

An early morning visit to East Carlton Country Park provided views of three Hawfinches which were vocal and quite mobile. Other birds included about nine Siskins and small numbers of Marsh Tits and Nuthatches.

A little later and another Hawfinch was located in Rushton village, perched in an ash tree in the grounds of the Old Rectory opposite the churchyard. A Raven flew past. There were a number of large gulls at the nearby landfill site but they were distant and in conflicting light.

Kelmarsh Hall hosted a gang of noisy Siskins and a Grey Wagtail and Eleanor's afternoon visit to Ravensthorpe Reservoir provided views of the juvenile Whooper Swan again, three Great White Egrets, a drake Pintail, a Scaup and two Green Sandpipers and two Grey Wagtails.

Ringing at Stortons GP today resulted in 52 birds which were mostly Blue and Great Tits and Sarah and Kenny at Linford Lakes caught another 24 birds, 22 of which were new. They included a Moorhen (the first one caught and ringed here), a Chiffchaff, 11 Redwings, 4 Blackbirds, 2 Wrens, 2 Blue Tits and singles of Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Robin.

Regards

Neil M


Moorhen.
Courtesy of Kenny Cramer.


Chiffchaff.
Courtesy of Cathy Ryden.


Male Reed Bunting.
Courtesy of John Tilly.


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Saturday's taste of winter

Hello

Early morning snow flurries and then beautiful sunshine, blue skies and invigorating cool air reminded us that winter is almost upon us!

The birds at Pitsford Reservoir hadn't changed a great deal, several observers collectively seeing two Great White Egrets, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Shelduck, 13 plus Pintail, 3 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, a Green Sandpiper, a male Brambling on the feeders in the grounds of the Sailing Club, a Siskin, a Grey Wagtail and an adult Caspian Gull in the gull roost off the Sailing Club.

Harrington Airfield attracted about three hundred Fieldfares plus smaller numbers of other thrushes, and two Bramblings were at the concrete track entrance. Brixworth Water Treatment Works hosted two Grey Wagtails and a Chiffchaff.

Eleanor saw at least four Ravens at Staverton this morning but her visits to Borough Hill Country Park and Daventry Country Park drew a blank without any birds of interest being seen. Eleanor's last venue was Ravensthorpe Reservoir where she saw two Great White Egrets, the juvenile Whooper Swan and two Grey Wagtails. An unidentified diver sp.flew in at about 3.45pm and disappeared off over the dam and away...

Regards

Neil M

Grey Wagtails.

Female Siskin.
Courtesy of Kenny Cramer.



Long-tailed Tits courtesy
of John Tilly. These birds will
  always remain very high on the
 cute factor!

Northants BTO Newsletter

Northants BTO Quarterly Newsletter - Autumn 2017
View this email in your browser
To all BTO contacts in Northants
From Barrie Galpin and Ben Reeve, Regional Representative and Regional Ambassador for the BTO in Northants

Hi all,

We're proud to announce the release of the first of a regular quarterly newsletter for the BTO in the Northants region. The autumn edition includes an introduction to the regional team, information on the various BTO surveys undertaken in the county, a spotlight on Pitsford Water and other interesting information including BTO Training Courses and the brilliant BTO Bird ID videos.

The newsletter can be viewed by clicking on the following link -

Northants BTO Autumn 2017 Newsletter

Or by typing the following web address in your browser - 

http://bit.do/northantsbtoautumn2017

We do hope you enjoy the newsletter and if you have any feedback including suggestions for things you'd like to see in the the next newsletter we'd love to hear from you!

All the best,

Barrie and Ben.

Barrie Galpin
BTO Regional Representative for Northants
15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
Email: barrie.galpin@zen.co.uk
01780 444351
07717 446417


Ben Reeve
BTO Regional Ambassador for Northants
7 Rectory Close, Crick, Northants, NN6 7SY
Email: benreeve@outlook.com
Twitter: @NorthantsBTO
Personal Twitter: @BeardWarbler
01788 824413
07961 038455

Friday, 24 November 2017

Friday ringing

Hello

Dave Francis embarked on some further ringing at the main feeding station at Pitsford Reservoir today, catching 67 birds of 17 species. Finches were made up of 15 Goldfinches, a Greenfinch, a Redpoll and 6 Chaffinches. Other birds included a Reed Bunting, 3 Yellowhammers, 6 Tree Sparrows, 7 Dunnocks, 2 Wrens, a Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Great Tits and 4 Blue Tits. A fresh pulse of thrushes came in the form of a Fieldfare, 3 Redwings, 2 Song Thrushes and 10 Blackbirds.

Three ringers operating at Glyn Davies Wood west of Boddington today caught 152 birds (114 new and 38 re-traps) of 15 species. Woodland birds included 70 Blue Tits, 28 Great Tits, 8 Coal Tits, 4 Marsh Tits, a Long-tailed Tit, 4 Nuthatches and 5 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Other birds were made up of 2 Wrens, 6 Robins, a Dunnock, 7 Goldcrests, a Treecreeper, a Bullfinch, 4 Blackbirds and 10 Redwings.

A study of the gull roost at Boddington Reservoir after the nearby ringing session provided views of two Caspian Gulls (an adult and a 4th year/adult), an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail.

Regards

Neil M


Blue Tit.

Marsh Tit.

Great Tit.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Feeding the birds

Hello

The day after a stormy night, and a quick walk at Harrington Airfield this morning didn't locate anything much out of the ordinary, but there were at least five Grey Partridges on the top fields, and of course still plenty of Redwings and Fieldfares in the bushes.

We are now broadcast-feeding the birds on the concrete track next to the willow bushes just in from the metal gate and already today there were good numbers of Chaffinches and Yellowhammers taking advantage. If you do visit Harrington and can spare some safe mixed seed or similar we would be grateful if you would supplement our food by feeding the birds too. For some reason this spot seems to attract disproportionately large numbers of common birds, and when it becomes cold sometimes up to thirty Blackbirds and many others. It can be a good spot for Bramblings too and the advantage is that they can be watched from vehicles or at least from the gate area without causing too much disturbance.

Eleanor saw a pair of Ravens near Hanging Houghton this morning and my visits to the Kelmarsh Estate feeding stations provided me with views of Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, several Siskins and Grey Wagtail.

Chris Payne opened a single mist net for just over an hour at Bradden this morning and he caught 35 birds amounting to 12 Goldfinches, 3 Chaffinches, 17 Blue Tits and 3 Great Tits.

Regards

Neil M



Blue Tit.
Image courtesy
of Cathy Ryden.

Chaffinch.
Image courtesy
of John Tilly.

Brambling.
Image courtesy
of Steve Bennison.

All these birds are regular
visitors to winter feed stations.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ditchford WeBS count

Hello

In very mild and blustery conditions, I completed a WeBS count at Ditchford Gravel Pits today, taking about seven hours to cover my section of about two thirds of this large complex.

Scarcer birds included a female Goosander, an aythya hybrid (Tufted Duck x ?), an adult Mediterranean Gull (Wilson's Pits), two Water Rails, three Jack Snipe, just a single Common Snipe, two Kingfishers, a male Stonechat, two Chiffchaffs and five Cetti's Warblers. The more notable counts of common wildfowl included 83 Shovelers and 341 Gadwall.

Regards

Neil M


Gadwall.

Shoveler.

Jack Snipe.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Harrington thrushes.

Hello

Eleanor visited Harrington Airfield at lunchtime and was amazed at the sheer numbers of thrushes stripping the berry bushes. There were literally hundreds of Fieldfares and Redwings and much smaller numbers of Song Thrushes and Blackbirds. Four Hawfinches were in hawthorn bushes at the first bunker and flew when the thrushes swirled around them. Some eighty Golden Plovers were flying around too...

Regards

Neil M


Golden Plovers.

Redwing.

Fieldfare.
Image courtesy of
Jacob Spinks.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Pitsford WeBS count

Hello

The WeBS count was completed at Pitsford Reservoir today in dull and then latterly quite wet conditions. At least four Great White Egrets were present as were about 30 Little Egrets, in excess of 150 Cormorants, a Black Swan, a drake Red-crested Pochard, a juvenile Scaup, 2 drake Goosanders, 17 Pintail, 4 Redshanks, 4 Green Sandpipers, a Dunlin, 10 Snipe, up to 150 Golden Plovers flying around and a couple of Grey Wagtails. Blackbirds were in considerable numbers south of the causeway, stripping the berries from the hedgerows, and small numbers of Siskins were pretty mobile.

Regards

Neil M


Pintail.

Cormorant.
Image courtesy
of Steve Bennison.

Wigeon.
Image courtesy of
John Tilly.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday's county ringing

Hello

With relatively calm but cool weather conditions, it is no surprise that Northants Ringing Group members were busy today...

A small team operated mist nets at Stortons Gravel Pits catching about 70 birds of which 30 were previously unringed. These captures included 3 Goldcrests, 2 Robins, 5 Dunnocks, 3 Blackbirds, 3 Redwings, 3 Long-tailed Tits, 17 Great Tits, 2 Coal Tits, 18 Blue Tits, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Chaffinches and 5 Reed Buntings. Two of these Reed Buntings were carrying rings indicating they were ringed elsewhere.

Sarah and Kenny worked the mist nets at Linford Lakes and processed 54 birds of 12 species, 44 of which were new birds. This total was made up by 6 Goldcrests, 3 Robins, 4 Dunnocks, 3 Wrens, 14 Redwings, 4 Blackbirds, 8 Blue Tits, 4 Great Tits, 2 Coal Tits, a Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinches and a Siskin.

Jacob completed a little ringing at Scaldwell village this morning catching plenty of common birds but also a Bullfinch and 4 Redwings. A Grey Wagtail and a Hawfinch were noted flying over.

Jacob's subsequent birding expedition to Pitsford Reservoir provided views of 4 Great White Egrets, a Scaup, 2 Dunlin and 2 Redshanks and a Grey Wagtail. A female-type Common Scoter was located in the Holcot Bay but what was presumably the same bird was later in open water half-way between the causeway and the dam. Two Caspian Gulls found each other in the afternoon gull roost, a smart adult and a third calendar year bird.

Helen Franklin's foray into Glyn Davies Wood over in the far west of the county yielded Raven, Nuthatches, Marsh Tits and a Woodcock.

Regards

Neil M


Goldcrest.

Redwing.

Blue Tit.

All these species were
ringed in the county
by ringers today.
today

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Saturday sightings

Hello

Jacob was active at Pitsford Reservoir again today, locating or re-locating a Water Pipit in the Scaldwell Bay feeding with Meadow Pipits. Other birds which have now become regular were 5 Great White Egrets, 3 Scaup, a Red-crested Pochard, 13 Pintail, 20 Golden Plovers, 4 Redshanks, 2 Dunlin and 2 Green Sandpipers. I spent some time at Christies Copse in the Walgrave Bay in order to complete more work in support of the winter feeding station there and flushed 3 Woodcock from alongside the feeding ride and noted 2 Ravens flying over.

Eleanor was over at Staverton again today and noted a Peregrine, 4 Ravens and 2 Hawfinches which were initially perched on top of a conifer and then flew on. Afterwards a visit to Borough Hill Country Park provided views of the pair of Stonechat still plus a few each of Brambling, Redpoll and Siskin. A brief visit to Ravensthorpe Reservoir confirmed the continuing presence of 2 Great White Egrets, 10 Little Egrets and 2 Green Sandpipers.

Regards

Neil M


The big, glossy Raven!

Robin.

Blue Tit.

Coal Tit.

Nuthatch.
Above four images
courtesy of Steve Bennison.

This is the time of year when
garden and open country or
woodland feeding stations play
an important part in the lives
of our more common birds as
they prepare for winter and
identify safe and reliable places
to find suitable sustenance.

Friday, 17 November 2017

A Friday Fieldfare!

Hello

It was the last day of ringing at Harrington Airfield this week and the birds caught and ringed today included a Fieldfare, 14 Redwings, 2 Meadow Pipits and 6 Reed Buntings amongst 50 plus birds captured. No Hawfinches were noted on-site today and although there were still reasonable numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares about, visible migration was much quieter than of late. Vocal Golden Plovers were mostly flying over but they are coming down into fields nearby. A covey of Grey Partridge were seen yesterday and a single 'Redpoll' was mobile today late morning. 

A hunting Barn Owl was seen early this morning near Staverton and birds noted by Jacob at Pitsford Reservoir today included 5 Great White Egrets, 8 Pintail, a Red-crested Pochard, 4 Scaup, 2 Dunlin, 4 Redshanks, 116 Golden Plovers, 3 Green Sandpipers, 6 Snipe and a Stonechat and a Grey Wagtail. Eleven Siskins were seen flying over Scaldwell village and a Grey Wagtail was at Hanging Houghton.

Regards

Neil M



Fieldfare.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Ongoing migration

Hello

A modest ringing session at Harrington Airfield this morning provided 52 birds which included 25 new Redwings, 5 new Blackbirds and 5 new Meadow Pipits. Two Hawfinches were flying around the bushes with Redwings at 8.20am and there were various sightings and calls of singles during the morning including at least another one flying straight through, so a minimum of four birds. Nearby there two more Hawfinches in a hawthorn hedge in the Brampton Valley at Draughton Crossing and at 9am another single flying around gardens at Hanging Houghton.

Other birds noted at Harrington during the day included small numbers of Siskin, Redpoll and Brambling and a couple of Snipe. In excess of four Bramblings and a Barn Owl were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and small numbers of Brambling, Siskin and Redpoll were noted a several spots in the NN6 district this afternoon. Single Grey Wagtails were in Scaldwell village and Kelmarsh Hall.

Eleanor and Jacob visited Pitsford Reservoir and between them they saw 4 Great White Egrets, a Barnacle Goose, a Red-crested Pochard, 10 Pintail, 4 Scaup, 3 Redshanks, 3-4 Green Sandpipers, 8 Dunlin and 2 Siskins. Large numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares were moving over all day within NN6...

Regards

Neil M


Redwing.



Male Green Woodpecker. This bird
was first ringed as a juvenile at the
same site in 2015.