Saturday, 5 May 2018

Pitsford CBC


A Common Bird Census was completed on the reserve section of Pitsford Reservoir in remarkably warm and sunny conditions! As I started at 6am, Bob Gill had already finished sorting through and releasing the moths from the overnight catch and he was off home to see what his moth trap at home had caught! I think committed naturalists need to be insomniacs too!

The CBC took over six hours today with plenty of bird song most of the way around, dominated really by good numbers of Garden Warblers, most of them having just arrived from Africa. Blackcaps were in good numbers too of course plus the usual number of singing Chiffchaffs. On the negative side, only two singing Reed Warblers were detected and Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers were no-showers, a far cry from the eighties when both species were regarded as being common on the reserve. Sadly only one Willow Warbler appears to have stayed to hold territory, I would have expected more...

High and stable water levels are providing opportunities for Coots to potentially produce plenty of early broods, that is if they can keep the Carrion Crows at bay from stealing their eggs! At this time of the year the path around the reserve is littered with broken Pheasant and Mallard eggs where the crows have found the nests and consumed the contents.

I didn't see any birds out of the ordinary but a Little Egret was in the Scaldwell Bay and a Spotted Flycatcher by the Fishing Lodge, as was a Common Sandpiper on the shore there. Both Willow and Marsh Tits were recorded. Neil H walked south of the causeway but didn't find the Black-necked Grebe, but came across a Barn Owl and two Ravens by The Pines whilst looking for it.

Plenty of butterflies on the wing during the second half of the survey including plenty of the stunning Orange-tips, and my Muntjac count for the day was only eleven.

Eleanor saw an Otter at Ravensthorpe Reservoir this afternoon, visible from the Coton to Ravensthorpe causeway looking on the 'small side'!


Neil M

Tawny Owl. Mobbing
Blackbirds and other
birds help to pinpoint
these birds in the foliage.

Rook, this one clearly
carrying plenty of food
in it's pouch for hungry
nestlings. For some reason
the traditional rookery in
the covert in the Walgrave
Bay is smaller each year...

Coot. 2018 may be a good
breeding season for them!

Canada Geese. Both
Canada and Greylag
Geese goslings can be
seen on the reservoir now.


First year Great Black-backed Gull.
In recent years this species has summered
at Pitsford, taking advantage of dead and
dying fish. There are several of these big gulls
at the reservoir currently and plenty of dead Pike
(probably due to the spawning stress) are providing
food for them and Herring and
Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Male Orange-tip Butterfly.

Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower,
one of the food plants of the Orange-tip.

Oystercatcher. He/she approves
of the Bird Club hide roof as
 a look-out!


All images taken at
Pitsford Reservoir this

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