With a day of virtually no wind I decided to commit to a little garden ringing this morning, a rare luxury to catch and process the birds coming to the garden whilst also appreciating home comforts! I was pleased with the number and variety that found the garden mist net, and not surprisingly the Blue Tit was the most common. All the tits seemed in good health but I did see a Blue Tit the other day at Pitsford Reservoir that was clearly unwell - fluffed up and hopping around on the ground - and it reminded me of the scare in the spring of a virus or similar affecting Blue Tits on the continent and with reported cases in the UK too. I hope this is not something which will become a widespread issue!
Locally there seems to be a problem with Woodpigeons with a number being found simply sitting quietly and lethargic and then subsequently dying. I have seen a number of dead birds that give the impression of simply sitting on the ground and it isn't until you are close that you realise they have died. There is no obvious physical trauma and they don't seem to be showing the symptons of trichomonosis, which is a regular avian disease caused by a parasite associated with finches and doves/pigeons.
Helen Franklin over at Priors Marston was also ringing in her garden this morning and caught and ringed a stunning Grey Wagtail.
Bird-wise the day belonged to the chats and allies - with at least six Stonechats and a Common Redstart at 'shrike hedge' in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning (plus a small falcon seen poorly that may have been a Merlin) and a Corn Bunting, and four Stonechats and one or two Wheatear(s) and a Common Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Turtle Dove all at Harrington Airfield. This afternoon the Stonechats in the Brampton Valley were nowhere to be seen but were replaced with a Wheatear and a Whinchat (Common Redstart still present). Two more Common Redstarts were at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this morning.
Over at Borough Hill Country Park, the Black Redstart from yesterday remained and was seen during the day around the BBC buildings at the summit. A Wheatear was present too.
This evening there were twelve Yellow-legged Gulls in the gull roost at Pitsford Reservoir (off the dam).
Nene Valley birding was still good at Stanwick Pits today with a Marsh Harrier and two Great White Egrets present this morning and a Mediterranean Gull, four Yellow-legged Gulls and a Dunlin there this afternoon.
The Lammergeier was reported in Oxfordshire today, now south of us, so if it did waft over Northamptonshire it seems no-one managed to witness it!