Monday, 12 August 2019

Pitsford WeBs count


A small team of us completed the Pitsford Reservoir WeBs count today in calm weather conditions. There was one less Greylag Goose to count as yet another one had been hit by traffic on the causeway early this morning, and at high speed judging from the fatal injuries. I've lost track how many geese have been killed on the causeway this summer.

It was a quiet count and it seemed there were considerably less birds on-site than even yesterday when there were flocks of Gadwall and Pochard north of the causeway and these were mostly absent today. A Garganey was on the shoreline just south of the causeway car park, there were three drake Red-crested Pochard in the Scaldwell Bay, a Red-crested Pochard x Ferruginous Duck hybrid, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Greenshank, three Common Sandpipers, one or two Green Sandpiper(s), two Snipe, two Kingfishers, about fifteen Little Egrets and three Ravens. The meadow between the causeway and Maytrees Hide held freshly emerged Small Copper and Common Blue butterflies and Painted Ladies were still widespread.

At Stortons Pits today John Woollett and his team completed some bird ringing on the south side of the complex and caught 75 birds, 54 of which were new. Warblers made up the bulk of the birds as this is an excellent breeding area for a variety of scrub and reedbed specialities. Blackcaps totalled fifteen with four Garden Warblers, twelve Whitethroats, a Cetti's Warbler, twelve Reed Warblers and a Willow Warbler. Other birds included Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting.

A Raven was at Hanging Houghton today and at least one Whinchat and a Common Redstart were in Shrike Hedge in the Brampton Valley below the village. Another Common Redstart was again at Twywell Hills and Vales Country Park.

A Quail suddenly burst into song this afternoon, Eleanor hearing it quite clearly whilst visiting Fawsley Hall. It sounded as if the bird was calling from a nearby grass field containing sheep but was perhaps a little further away with the sound just carrying well.

Other birds reported today were two of the juvenile Cattle Egrets at Ringstead Pits with the other two juveniles with an adult at Stanwick Pits (plus a Ruff). Summer Leys attracted a Great White Egret (perhaps sharing this individual with Pitsford Reservoir as we couldn't find it today), a Spotted Redshank late this evening and a Green Sandpiper. The drake Common Scoter was again on the main barrage lake at Clifford Hill Pits but unfortunately the possible Marsh Warbler wasn't seen again.


Neil M

Painted Lady.

Common Blue.

Small Copper.

Tufted Duck. Female with five
well-grown ducklings approaching
full size.

Tufted Duck. Female with three recently
hatched ducklings. Five broods in total
have been seen at Pitsford this year. A female
Gadwall with two half grown ducklings
were also seen today...

Juvenile Common Gull. This species
does not breed regionally and is
likely to have flown quite a distance
during it's short life to reach us.

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