Sunday, 27 October 2019

Week-end birding


The constant rain yesterday (Saturday) made for a difficult day wildlife-watching. It was surprisingly mild in the morning but the afternoon temperatures dropped and that with the rain produced lots of sodden birds looking in a pitiful state, not least some of the young Woodpigeons not used to such a deluge and feeling so cold.

I visited feeding stations on the Kelmarsh Estate, one was flooded and difficult to gain access to, the other completely empty of food indicating large numbers of birds feeding. An adult Mediterranean Gull was again present in the gull roost at Pitsford Reservoir but sadly it didn't look well. There are always one or two sickly gulls about, possibly suffering from salmonella or similar and I suspect it is suffering the same. These birds tend to become weaker and simply keel over or are finished off by the resident Carrion Crows which are experts at picking out the weaker individuals. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was present too. Adrian saw the three Red-crested Pochard in the Scaldwell Bay and a female Scaup was seen at Summer Leys.

Today (Sunday) and of course the weather has been different again with light winds and all-day sunshine and not surprisingly more birds were found. The day started with a Ring-necked Parakeet near Barnwell and Summer Leys attracted a Bittern, two Great White Egrets, a hundred Golden Plovers, eleven Ravens and a Stonechat. Clifford Hill Pits hosted a Red-crested Pochard and a Stonechat and Thrapston Pits continues to hold on to the Whooper Swan.

Elsewhere a pair of Stonechats were near the Wellingborough Embankment and nearby Neville's Lodge attracted a Yellow-legged Gull, a Stonechat, four Grey Partridges and some Tree Sparrows.
A Great White Egret was at Stanwick Pits and Pitsford Reservoir held two Great White Egrets north of the causeway, three Red-crested Pochard, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, two Pintail and a couple of Stonechats. Eleanor completed a quick walk this afternoon around Borough Hill Country Park (Daventry) and three Short-eared Owls were flying around and making that extraordinary excited barking noise that they produce. At least four Stonechats were present too (a remarkable autumn for them)!


Neil M

The autumn has been a
good one for scarce small
birds in the county - it might
be time for some Bearded Tits!

This bird was photographed
at Leighton Moss, Lancs
by John Tilly.

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