Saturday, 7 December 2019

Storms and egrets!


Yesterday (Friday) and if you liked Great White Egrets and powerful storms it was a good day!

The Great Grey Shrike was still at the DIRFT3 site near Crick again and Summer Leys continued to host two Great White Egrets and a Red-crested Pochard. Two Great White Egrets flew into the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir in the afternoon and a Yellow-legged Gull stoically sat on his tree stump through all that violent and very wet weather!

The bird of the day though was a Firecrest found by Ken Prouse in a hedgerow in the pretty village of Upper Harlestone.

Today (Saturday) and Summer Leys still had two Great White Egrets, the drake Red-crested Pochard and the long-staying 'redhead' Smew. Stanwick Pits hosted another two Great White Egrets and a Goosander and there were 200 Golden Plovers off the A45 at Earls Barton.

Bob Bullock relocated a Brent Goose that has been seen a few times briefly at Stanford Reservoir over the last couple of days. This time it was with Canada Geese 300m inside Leicestershire from the entrance of Stanford Hall.

Eleanor located a pair of Goosander and eight Siskins on the small lake at Marston Trussell and the gated road between Marston Trussell and Clipston (a lovely piece of Northamptonshire countryside) attracted a female Merlin and large numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares. 

Two Ravens were at Hanging Houghton today and we are lucky enough to enjoy three Pied Wagtails coming to our garden currently. Birds in the Brampton Valley below the village this afternoon included a Barn Owl, two Woodcock and two Bramblings.


Neil M

'Redhead' Smew.


Images courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Tits galore!


Yesterday's (Wednesday) birds reported in the county were pretty minimal but Pete Finden saw the Great Grey Shrike near Crick plus a Stonechat. Chris Green noted seven Goosanders at Ditchford Pits and Tom Green notched up a Jack Snipe and a Short-eared Owl at Neville's Lodge near Finedon.

Today (Thursday) and the pace didn't exactly quicken but Tom saw a Jack Snipe again at Neville's Lodge and Bob Bullock saw two Great White Egrets at Summer Leys.

I visited Brixworth Treatment Works today which produced my best bird of the day which was a Willow Tit coming to the feeders there. Two Grey Wagtails and a Snipe were also present.

Raven was the best bird at Hanging Houghton today and Pitsford Reservoir hosted two Great White Egrets, a Goosander, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Kingfisher plus a small murmuration of 300 - 400 Starlings - all these birds at the south end of the water.


Neil M

Blue Tits.

Great Tit.

Willow Tit.

All images from Brixworth
Water Treatment Works today.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Ringing at Glyn Davies Wood.


At Pitsford Reservoir this afternoon David Arden spent some time in the Scaldwell Bay noting a Great White Egret, 5-6 Pintail, a Chiffchaff and a Water Rail.

Nick Parker was at Thrapston Pits today and saw the wintering Whooper Swan, two Great White Egrets and an 'aythea' duck hybrid (possibly a Tufted Duck x Pochard).

I saw the DIRFT3 Grey Great Shrike this afternoon, albeit distantly from the very wet Lilbourne Meadows Nature Reserve. I struggled to find anywhere to park on the industrial estate even though I could see the bridleway so decided for a wander around the reserve instead. Other birds included a Short-eared Owl sparring with a crow, a pair of Stonechat and a couple of Snipe.

A ringing session took place at Glyn Davies Wood in the far west of the county. This is a small plot of ancient woodland owned by the Banbury Ornithological Society but sadly a proportion of this woodland is expected to be lost if/when High Speed 2 progresses.

Some 160 birds were caught of eleven species today dominated by tits attracted to the woodland which included three Marsh Tits, seven Coal Tits and ten Long-tailed Tits. Other birds included four Goldcrests, five Nuthatches, a Song Thrush and ten Redwings.


Neil M

Great Tits are susceptible
to growths around the face,
head and belly...

Adult Blue Tit with an
aberrant bill growth. This
bird was newly ringed today
so we don't know at what
stage it's bill began to grow.
This bird was slightly underweight
and is probably very reliant on
the feeders maintained in the wood.

Images courtesy of Helen Franklin
and Chris Payne.

Monday, 2 December 2019

A cold start to December


Another cold morning in the county and our early morning foray to Harrington Airfield produced good numbers of common birds including plenty of overflying Redwings, gulls and Woodpigeons from the north and the east. A Woodcock and a Common Snipe were flushed.

Pitsford Reservoir today provided two very mobile Great White Egrets, two Goosanders, a Redshank, a Yellow-legged Gull, a couple of Stonechats, a Kingfisher and two hunting Barn Owls to the south of the causeway on the Brixworth bank (one flying around in broad daylight this morning and two late afternoon). A small Starling murmuration of perhaps just 400 - 500 birds around the Brixworth Country Park this afternoon would be spectacular if it grew in numbers!

The Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton awoke from it's slumber this afternoon and delivered another Barn Owl, very large numbers of winter thrushes, a pair of Stonechat and a covey of eight Grey Partridge.

Chris Green found three Green Sandpipers and a Redshank at Broadholme Water Treatment Works (adjacent to Ditchford Pits) and a Grey Wagtail and a Water Rail were again at Brixworth Water Treatment Works.


Neil M

John Tilly had to endure over
six hours waiting in the cold
during three visits to finally
photograph this Bittern which
was then only on view for a
couple of minutes! Bird and
images taken at Calvert Reserve,
Bucks. Well done John!

NBC Indoor Meeting 4th Dec


The next indoor meeting of the Northants Bird Club will be this coming Wednesday (4th) when the speaker Chris Ward will be presenting Part 1 of his talk on the wildlife of the USA National Parks. Chris will return in May 2020 to deliver the second part. Chris has been an almost annual speaker at the club and we look forward to many excellent images.

The meeting commences at 7.30pm, the venue being the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir. There will be hot drinks and biscuits available and the meeting is open to both members and non members alike. We look forward to seeing you there!


Neil M

American Redstart.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Birds of Sunday


Yesterday (Saturday) and three Goosanders were seen by David Arden at Pitsford Reservoir and today (Sunday) Fiona Barclay noted 24 Golden Plovers at a very muddy Harrington Airfield.

A Great White Egret was seen at Daventry Country Park this morning and a stubble field near Walgrave contained a flock of at least sixty Skylarks (a large flock by modern day standards).

Hunting roadside Barn Owls this afternoon were near Scaldwell and between Creaton and Brixworth.

A ringing session today at Stortons Pits netted 43 birds which included seven Redwings, a Blackbird, a Robin, two Reed Buntings, a Chaffinch and plenty of Blue and Great Tits.

Linford Lakes, Milton Keynes was the venue for Kenny Cramer's ringing efforts this morning which was all about quality if not quantity. The catch included two Water Rails, a first year Sparrowhawk, a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, a Blackbird and eleven Redwings.


Neil M

Water Rail.



All images courtesy
of Kenny Cramer.