Sunday, 3 May 2020

Time for breeding


It seemed a very quiet day for sightings of anything different bird-wise in the county today. Cuckoos were being found at a few sites but sadly I haven't heard one around Hanging Houghton yet. Alan recorded a Grasshopper Warbler at Irthlingborough.

Representatives of most of the summer migrants have arrived now with perhaps Spotted Flycatcher to go, but I suspect some-one has seen one this week-end somewhere in the county.  That being said the bulk of the Swifts, Garden Warblers and other rather later migrants have still to arrive so there will be plenty of in-filling for the next couple of weeks.

The stunning sunshine of April and some recent rain has ensured that the leaf burst on the trees has been spectacular and it won't be long before it will be difficult to see birds in trees and bushes due to the foliage. 

Our modest little garden has come up with 39 species recorded from it after day three of the new month, the best vocal additions being Little Owl, Nuthatch and Willow Warbler.

Pitsford Reservoir also seemed quiet today but if the current calm conditions and constant water levels continue it could be a bumper year for the Coots as there are occupied nests all along the shoreline. A couple of brood of Mallard are around and there are now four goose nests (two each of Greylag and Canada) on the tern rafts, much to the disapproval of the Black-headed Gulls and returning Common Terns, and it's likely that the pair of Oystercatcher have a nest too.

Young Grey Herons are visible in the new nests in the Scaldwell Bay this year and other birds noted today included two Yellow-legged Gulls and just a single Little Egret.


Neil M

Yellowhammer courtesy of
Paul Crotty.

This bird was
photographed at Harrington
 Airfield, the venue for an
 on-going long-term project on
Yellowhammers associated
 with year-round
supplementary feeding.

Common Tern
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Many of the local
population of potential
breeders are back already
but it will be a few weeks
before they really
begin in earnest.


Pitsford Reservoir can
attract as many as two
thousand of these birds in
the late autumn/early winter
but by mid- March most of
these extra birds will have
gone. This leaves just over a
 hundred birds left to try and
breed on-site. Coots and Moorhens
are common nocturnal migrants
and can be heard calling at night
in any month of the year, often only
flying (from the sound of it), a couple
of hundred feet overhead.

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