Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Osprey, Common Cranes and a trail camera!


Yesterday evening (Monday) and a venture back to the south end of Pitsford Reservoir after all the rain provided views of dramatic, cloud formations and bright lavender skies. An Osprey came out to fish and despite being harried by the merciless attentions of the local Common Terns, finally caught his/her prize and flew off with a trout. A Sparrowhawk successfully hunted down one of the Starlings going to roost and a Kingfisher flashed by. A female Gadwall with five almost adult-sized ducklings is the first confirmation of this species successfully breeding at Pitsford this year. It's tempting to think it is the same female that has produced a succession of small broods during the last five years or so. Three Foxes were playing in a stubble field near to the reservoir and were having a great time!

In the meantime Eleanor was out in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton admiring the same amazing clouds and coloured skies when something light against the brooding landscape turned out to be two flying Common Cranes! These birds were silent and methodically flapped south towards Brixworth in line with the A508. I waited for them to potentially appear at Pitsford but sadly they must have stayed following the valley south and I didn't see them. A Hobby was also cruising around the valley.

A recently acquired trail camera was deployed in the front garden last night for the very first time. I'm not technically-minded and I wasn't totally confident I had set it up correctly but this morning there was evidence that I had done something right and that technology produces results! It had successfully recorded a cat, at least one Hedgehog and a Fox (the latter which I didn't even know was visiting the garden)!

Today (Tuesday) and John Hunt at Spratton realised that his two young Swifts had fledged from the nest early this morning. There is evidence to suggest that once flying it is thought that recently-fledged youngsters begin their flight south to Africa almost straightaway - I wonder where they are now?

Birds in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Reservoir early this afternoon included a Hobby, a Yellow-legged Gull, a drake Goldeneye and a Common Sandpiper. Although windswept the Scaldwell meadow attracted plenty of butterflies including Small Heath, Small Copper, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Essex Skipper.

Ken Prouse had a flock of eight Crossbills over Upper Harlestone this morning and later saw a male Common Redstart between Whilton and Little Brington. Twenty Crossbills were still at Bucknell Wood again this morning and in the Nene Valley Stanwick Pits attracted two Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper and at least seven Yellow-legged Gulls whilst at Earls Barton Pits there were three Great White Egrets, a Hobby, a Green Sandpiper, two Dunlin and two Little Ringed Plovers. Kinewell Lake at Ringstead Pits hosted a Hobby this afternoon plus a couple of Mandarin Ducks and two Common Sandpipers.

Hollowell Reservoir is a favoured venue at this time of the year and Martin's list included five Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper and a pair of Egyptian Geese.

A couple of Clouded Yellows were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this afternoon, attracted to the flowers in the nectar crop that was sown earlier in the year.


Neil M


Red Fox.

Coot and Cootlet!

A rather worn Essex Skipper.

Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown.

Black-headed Gulls and 
Common Terns at Pitsford 

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