Sunday, 7 August 2022

A rare gull and a mad Weasel!


A potential first for Britain was identified over at Grafham Water today in Cambridgeshire in the shape of the fairly newly-named Cape Gull (formerly Kelp Gull) which is a Southern Hemisphere gull taking the niche occupied in the Northern Hemisphere by the Great Black-backed Gull. This species has extended it's range over the decades, travelling up from Southern Africa and breeding along the Atlantic shores of North Africa followed by sightings in Iberia and France and those that study potential vagrancy to these shores have predicted one being spotted in the UK some day soon!

This bird posed for the crowds unaware of the excitement it had created, mixing in with a flock of Yellow-legged Gulls for company. It wasn't surprising that plenty of Northants birders took the relatively short journey to Grafham, particularly those interested in gulls, and it was good to catch up with quite a few faces rather than just reading about what they have seen on-line!

In Northamptonshire the heat of the day probably caused a certain paucity of records but birds at Pitsford Reservoir included five Red-crested Pochards, a Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Wheatear, mostly in the Scaldwell Bay.

Over at Stanford Reservoir the Osprey appeared again, a Tree Pipit was seen and other birds included five Lesser Whitethroats, two Cetti's Warblers and five Ravens.

The White-rumped Sandpiper was still at Eyebrook Reservoir again today and a Great White Egret was at Daventry Country Park (no confirmed sightings of the Ferruginous Duck today). At Summer Leys an Osprey was seen over the Main Lake and there were two Great White Egrets, two Green Sandpipers and two broods of Tufted Ducks.

A Green Sandpiper on a pond at Boughton Pocket Park was a good find and a Hobby was hunting down dragonflies at Harlestone Lake this morning.

Two Whinchats were in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke at 'shrike hedge' and at Harrington Airfield there was a juvenile Whinchat at Bunker Three, several Grey Partridges and a Clouded Yellow butterfly. Stanwick Pits attracted two Redshanks, five Common Sandpipers and three Water Rails and an Osprey from the Rutland scheme was photographed at Hollowell Reservoir.

It would appear that low water levels over the southern half of Britain has created plenty of draw-down at reservoirs and gravel pits and as a result the wader passage we expect to be polarised at this time of the year is more scattered as the birds have plenty of venue choice.

The video below (of a madcap garden Weasel) is courtesy of Fiona Barclay 😁


Neil M

Reed Bunting courtesy
of Lewis Aaron.


Grayling butterfly.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Brampton Valley birds


A simple river valley with just a small brook, fields, hedgerows and small areas of grass headlands and a nectar belt for insects nevertheless has been a magnet for birds over the last few days - the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton today sported a Short-eared Owl (showing during daylight hours finally), a Marsh Harrier, more than ten Spotted Flycatchers, a Common Redstart and two Whinchats. At least four Clouded Yellows and Painted Lady butterflies were present too.

Three Common Redstarts and a Tree Pipit were at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this morning and birds at Lamport Hall were made up of a Common Redstart and at least ten Spotted Flycatchers.

Birds at Hollowell Reservoir included three Dunlin, a Ringed Plover and five Little Ringed Plovers and two Great White Egrets and a Kingfisher were in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir with four Red-crested Pochards, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Scaldwell Bay.

A Marsh Harrier was again at Summer Leys LNR and at Stanford Reservoir an astonishing 393 new birds were ringed and other birds included an Osprey, a Common Sandpiper, a Dunlin, a Grasshopper Warbler (caught and ringed), a Hobby and two Ravens.

A ringing session at Harrington Airfield today provided sixty-six birds which included twenty-three Linnets, five Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff, two Blackcaps, five Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat. Two Hobbies were harrying the Linnet flock, a Common Redstart was heard calling and other birds included a Raven and a pair of Grey Partridge. A probable Short-eared Owl was flying high over Kettering this afternoon

Local rarities remain in situ - the Ferruginous Duck was still at Daventry Country Park today and the White-rumped Sandpiper still at Eyebrook Reservoir.


Neil M

Spotted Flycatcher courtesy
of Bethan Clyne.

Short-eared Owl.


Friday, 5 August 2022

Plenty of Spotted Flycatchers!


A fairly early morning walk at Harrington Airfield didn't produce much but I think the Linnet flock has now grown to over two hundred and it was good to see three half-grown Grey Partridge chicks. There will be more ringing operations tomorrow which restricts access to the rough strip and scrub running from the Chippings Compund, around the bunkers to the juncture with the concrete track. The footpath and concrete track itself is unaffected.

Birds in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton today included a Short-eared Owl captured again on a camera trap at about 2.20am and at a more reasonable hour there were two Whinchats and a Wheatear near to 'Shrike Hedge'. A family of Spotted Flycatchers in trees around the small car park adjacent to the Brampton Valley Way seemingly attracted more birds this evening with a dozen or so there, only for the flock to move to the brook and increase to at least fifteen birds! At least one Clouded Yellow butterfly continues to dance around the nearby nectar strip parallel to the Brampton Brook.

A family of Spotted Flycatchers remain in Hanging Houghton village and nearby at least eight Spotted Flycatchers and a Common Redstart were at Lamport Hall. At least one Common Redstart remained at Woodford Halse.

Birds at Pitsford Reservoir today included five Great White Egrets, a Garganey, a Green Sandpiper, a Yellow-legged Gull and a male Common Redstart all in the Scaldwell Bay. Hollowell Reservoir attracted two Ringed Plovers, five Little Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin and birds at Stanford Reservoir amounted to four Black-tailed Godwits, an Osprey, a Green Sandpiper, two Cetti's Warblers and two Ravens.

The Ferruginous Duck was seen again at Daventry Country Park and the Eyebrook White-rumped Sandpiper remained throughout the day, with a Wood Sandpiper there too.


Neil M

Dunnock courtesy of
Robin Gossage.

House Sparrow courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Juvenile Blackbird enjoying
some water courtesy of
Jim Dunkley.

Kingfisher caught and ringed
this morning at Greens Norton
courtesy of Chris Payne.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Lots of Redstarts and warblers


With the warm but cooler conditions of late and relative low wind speeds and moderate cloud cover, two teams from the Northants Ringing Group were active today at two of our regular sites - Stortons Pits and Harrington Airfield.

Some significant management work is being undertaken at Stortons following the very successful Common Reed (Phragmites) growth plots - in fact it's been too successful as there is now a need to scallop and cut sections of the reedbed to ensure there are appropriate margins and areas of open water as required by specialist birds such as Bittern, Water Rail, waders etc.

The small ringing team of three enjoyed an excellent session there, processing a high total of eighty-one birds which included only three re-traps from previous sessions. As expected warblers dominated the catch particularly with twenty-nine Blackcaps, but also eight Garden Warblers, three Reed Warblers, five Sedge Warblers, three Cetti's Warblers, eight Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and eight Chiffchaffs. A Jay added some colour and bulk and other birds included a Song Thrush and a Treecreeper.

Over at Harrington Airfield, at least for some of the time a team of six, managed to process just over a hundred birds in this dry open country site with scrub. Again only three re-traps were encountered and the session was dominated by sixty-two new Linnets which were mostly freshly-fledged juveniles and part of a flock numbering some one hundred and fifty individuals. Small numbers of warbler included two Blackcaps, singles of Garden Warbler and Chiffchaff, seven Willow Warblers, seven Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat. A moulting adult Common Redstart was a highlight and we heard another calling in the bushes. A Hobby was seen and a good hatch of Common Blue butterflies has occurred during the last couple of days with many fresh individuals plus a couple each of Small Copper and Small Heath.

Elsewhere and Pitsford Reservoir fielded two Common Redstarts opposite the Paul Britten bench in the field hedge, two Great White Egrets, three Yellow-legged Gulls, three Red-crested Pochard, three to four Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, a Garganey and a flying flock of ten Black-tailed Godwits.

Birds at Stanford Reservoir today included a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Grasshopper Warbler that was caught and ringed, ten Ravens and a Kingfisher. Two hundred and seventy birds were processed by members of the Stanford Reservoir Ringing Group on-site today.

Birds elsewhere included a Common Redstart at Clifford Hill Pits, a Wheatear at Wollaston and a Marsh Harrier and about seven Black-tailed Godwits at Summer Leys LNR. A Wood Sandpiper was reported from the north side of quarry workings at Earls Barton Pits

Two Common Redstarts remain at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell and at least two more were at Lamport Hall together with at least ten Spotted Flycatchers. The two Common Redstarts remain at Woodford Halse, a Yellow-legged Gull was at Wicksteed Park Lake and waders at Hollowell Reservoir amounted to a Ringed Plover, four Little Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper.

An escaped Steller's Sea-eagle must have made a fabulous sight at Hellidon this afternoon (reportedly lost from Warwick Castle) and an adult White-rumped Sandpiper has pitched up just outside the county at Eyebrook Reservoir.

Finally a Clouded Yellow butterfly and at least four Spotted Flycatchers were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this afternoon.


Neil M

Jay courtesy of
Chris Payne.

Lesser Whitethroat courtesy
of Chris Payne.

Common Redstart
Harrington Airfield.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

It continues warm and dry


Yesterday (Tuesday) evening we managed to miss four Whinchats at Harrington Airfield and couldn't see them today either - must try harder!

Up to three Common Redstarts were still present at Harrington Airfield today (Wednesday) but were keeping a very low profile with only one being spotted, the others being vocal from cover. There will be restricted access at this site tomorrow and on Saturday during ringing operations on the belt of scrub around the bunkers.

The Ferruginous Duck was again present at Daventry Country Park under waterside bushes and viewable from the dam and an Osprey lingered. The two Common Redstarts were also present at the reserve at Woodford Halse.

A pair of Spotted Flycatchers at Hanging Houghton are feeding three nestlings and below the village there were at least four Clouded Yellows and fresh Painted Lady butterflies in the Brampton Valley around the planted nectar strips. Another Clouded Yellow was seen at Rushden Lakes today.


Neil M

Peacock butterfly.

Red Admiral.

Drake Mallard in eclipse plumage.


Tuesday, 2 August 2022

A much quieter day...


A warm but windy day provided relatively few reports of birds in the county, however the elusive Ferruginous Duck was eventually found at Daventry Country Park today after early attempts failed to connect.

Two Spotted Flycatchers were at Lamport Hall today and an evening visit to Harrington Airfield provided two pairs of Grey Partridges (without young sadly) and an adult Yellow-legged Gull on the fields with other gulls. There will be ringing sessions on the scrubby section between the Chippings Compound and the main track on Thursday and Saturday this coming week when access will be restricted.

Stanford Reservoir hosted an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, a Hobby and a Raven and birds at Stanwick Pits this morning were made up of three Common Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Peregrine.

Ian found two Common Redstarts at Woodford Halse today just north of the trust reserve in a field hedge close to the Jurassic Way footpath.

A pair of Grey Partridges in the Brampton Valley between Hanging Houghton and Cottesbrooke have done very well with eleven half grown youngsters in tow!


Neil M

Large Black Longhorn Beetle
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Male Red Longhorn Beetle
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Hummingbird-hawk moth.

Male Kestrel.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Ringing, another Pied Fly and lots of migrants!


On Saturday 30th July a small team of ringers led by Kenny Cramer worked mist nets at Linford Lakes in Milton Keynes where they anticipated plenty of new birds of the season and of course warblers. They were not to be disappointed with an excellent array of twenty-two species amounting to one hundred and sixty-one birds. Only nine of this total were birds previously ringed and as Kenny commented, warblers led the charge with thirty Blackcaps, sixteen Reed Warblers, twenty-one Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, two Sedge Warblers, fourteen Garden Warblers, three Lesser Whitethroats and seven Common Whitethroats. Other notable captures included two Goldfinches, a Treecreeper, a Goldcrest, a Green Woodpecker and a Kingfisher and among the tits a re-trap Long-tailed Tit was first ringed as a juvenile in 2018.

Today (Monday) and a modest ringing session at Pitsford Reservoir accounted for just over forty common birds which included some quite aged Blue Tits! Birds noted in the Walgrave Bay included a vocal Curlew flying over at about 8.40am, two Great White Egrets, a Green Sandpiper, a Hobby and six Ravens. Birds in the Scaldwell Bay included the still present and vocal male Common Redstart opposite the Paul Britten seat in the field hedge, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Green Sandpiper, two Common Sandpipers, two Common Snipe, a reported Garganey and a Yellow-legged Gull. As the name suggests the Kingfisher Screen has been paying dividends recently with up to two Kingfishers at a time showing nicely in front of the screen.

Hollowell Reservoir hosted two Whinchats and a Black-tailed Godwit today and although difficult to find the Ferruginous Duck was still to be found lurking at Daventry Country Park, hiding under willows at the south end. A Black-tailed Godwit and four Green Sandpipers were also present.

A quieter day at Stanford Reservoir still provided a Water Rail, a Hobby and five Lesser Whitethroats and at Summer Leys LNR there was a Wood Sandpiper. Eleanor's 'purple patch' continued with another Pied Flycatcher being found this afternoon, this time at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell with a flock of tits and warblers and two Common Redstarts. Nearby a Common Buzzard was flushed from prey which proved to be a freshly-killed Tawny Owl and a pair of Grey Partridges were escorting four young.

Interestingly a 'camera trap' video in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton recorded at 3.15am this morning shows an 'asio' owl, possibly an unseasonable Short-eared Owl drinking from a water source!

A Great White Egret was on Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows this morning and at least one Common Redstart remains at Harrington Airfield. Clouded Yellow butterflies were seen in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton (up to seven), Blueberry Farm and a single at Borough Hill Country Park.


Neil M

Common Whitethroat.

Willow Warbler.

Reed Bunting.



Images courtesy of
Kenny Cramer.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Busy last day of July


The last day of July and the back end of the month has been a particularly lively and interesting one for passage birds through the county. In more historic times July was a poor birding month when most local birdwatchers turned to insects and other disciplines to keep themselves entertained. In recent years the latter days of July have provided lots of interest with plenty of waders and passerines more associated with August and September.

Pitsford Reservoir provided quality avian interest today with a significant haul of scarce birds and migrants, mostly to be found in the Scaldwell Bay. A flock of six Common Scoters was a great if not unprecedented find as we know these ducks migrate up and down the spine and coasts of the UK during the summer and first one and then a second Cattle Egret are rare visitors to Pitsford. The male Common Redstart was still in field hedging opposite the Paul Britten hide, a flock of twenty-eight Black-tailed Godwits this afternoon must have been a splendid sight and other waders included a Green Sandpiper, two Common Sandpipers and latterly a very vocal Whimbrel by the dam this evening. The two drake Red-crested Pochard were still present and Yellow-legged Gulls at both ends of the reservoir probably amounted to at least seven birds.

Summer Leys LNR received plenty of observer coverage today with sightings amounting to a Wood Sandpiper, a Greenshank, two Green Sandpipers, 4-7 Black-tailed Godwits, a Great White Egret, a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier.

Stanford Reservoir's birds included a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, an Oystercatcher, a Common Sandpiper, a Hobby, nine Ravens and two Cetti's Warblers with two Ospreys again at Hollowell Reservoir this afternoon.

A Ferruginous Duck was located at Daventry Country Park this afternoon by Gary Pullan, the bird skulking and elusive in a bay on the eastern side of the old reservoir.

Eleanor's run of Common Redstarts continues with one at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell and two elusive birds at Harrington Airfield with a Crossbill and a Siskin flying over at the latter site.


Neil M

One of the two Pied
Flycatchers at Harrington
Airfield yesterday, this one
a bird hatched this year.
Images courtesy of Nick Parker.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Harrington Airfield, love it or hate it !!

 I always think that Harrington Airfield is a bit like "marmite" in that you either love it or hate it.   For me it is definitely the former, especially after the amazing week I have had there. This week has been quite exceptional for the time of year. 

Last week I was struggling to find any birds of note as is often the case with Harrington.  Then a couple of days ago I took the dogs for a walk around the rough area/bunkers mainly looking at butterflies.  I had literally bumped into a Common Redstart in the bushes between the chipping compound and bunker 1 but very little else.  By the time I reached bunker 3 one of the dogs was lagging behind so I was just standing still waiting for him when a Black Redstart started hopping about infront of me !!! It then just melted away as quickly as it came.  Earlier that morning I had bumped into a Northern Wheatear and had noticed that there seemed to be birds moving about.  Harrington is one of the best places I know to witness and feel visible migration. 

Yesterday afternoon I went back to Harrington with the dogs and spent over 2 hours simply meandering slowly through the bushes and sitting around the bunkers.  It is amazing how many birds will pop out when you are sitting still.  I had some close encounters with young Willow Warblers,  Whitethroats and Grey Partridge plus a couple of Clouded Yellow butterflies.  The Common Redstarts proved more of a challenge.  Despite calling well I had to work really hard to see them but finally managed to see 3 individual birds.

Today I was up early and arrived at Harrington Airfield just after 6am. I  took my 2 young collies as they love to mooch around and will sit patiently whilst I'm looking at the birds etc. The plan was to enjoy a nice peaceful walk before starting on the long list of jobs I had. I decided to park at the main entrance and walk a large circle so I headed off up the road towards the chipping compound checking the roadside bushes as I went.  Plenty of activity in the bushes,  Blackcaps,  Whitethroats and Linnets dominating.  I managed to locate 2 Common Redstart between the chipping compound and bunker 2.      In order to complete my circle I walked down to the main track where a short walk to the end of the track produced nothing of note I back tracked and walked towards the shooting wall where there was plenty of activity,  more Blackcap and Whitethroat and at least 4 Spotted Flycatchers which were actively flitting about.   It was evident that there were more birds about today. 

I  was on the final leg and thinking about my breakfast when I noticed quite a few birds hopping about on the track infront of me and  could hear the plink plink of Chaffinch.  There was quite a mixed flock of Chaffinch,  Greenfinch,  Goldfinch and Linnets.  I was just about to take a step forward when I noticed a movement low down on the vegetation at the side of the track. I  could not believe my eyes when I saw that it was a Pied Flycatcher!! My heart skipped a beat and I was just gobsmacked.  I  watched it for a  couple of minutes as I wanted to be 110% sure before putting the news out.   By this time it was after 8am and I knew that the track would be getting busy with dog walkers and bang on cue the first dog walker arrived closely followed by a  tractor.  My heart sank as the birds disappeared.  Once it went quiet again I  just walked very slowly up and down the track much to the amusement of my collies who decided that they would simply sit and wait rather than join me. Thankfully the birds started to come back onto the track and nearby bushes and I saw the Pied Fly again, phew.   Then a pesky Robin chased the Pied Fly around the bushes but another Pied Flycatcher popped out which was brighter than the original bird. I was astounded by this,  especially when they both perched momentarily together.   There was no one else around to watch these amazing birds.      I had now been at Harrington for 3 hours and was starting to feel light headed as I hadn't had my breakfast and the other 2 dogs at home needed walking so I had to drag myself away.   As I left more dog walkers were arriving  so the birds would get disturbed.  I'm not sure how long the birds stayed around for but Nick Parker and John +Lynn Hunt managed to catch up with them shortly after I left. 

After some welcome breakfast it was the turn of the other two dogs. I didn't really expect quite an exciting time with them,  but I did find at least 8 Spotted Flycatchers and a Common Redstart in an old hedgerow near Lamport hall.                        Late afternoon I took a walk to Blueberry and there were 2 or 3 Common Redstart in their favourite hedge just beyond Blueberry Farm heading towards the highest point and Haselbeech. 

I thought that I had had my fill of Flycatchers today but we had one in the garden this afternoon showing my youngsters how to do agility!!!!. I have a few pieces of agility equipment set up in the garden for the youngsters to practice on. When I looked out of the window I  saw a  Spotted Flycatcher sitting on the "contact " area of the seesaw and then it flew over to the weaves and flitted along the top of the weave poles !!! Perhaps I should be competing with this bird rather than my two collies,  might get a clear round then , ha ha.

Other birds around today include Pink Footed Goose at Ravensthorpe Reservoir,  Osprey at Hollowell Reservoir and  Wood Sandpiper,  Bittern and Marsh Harrier at Summer Leys.

I wonder what Harrington Airfield has in store tomorrow and the coming weeks? this space. 

Regards Eleanor 

Friday, 29 July 2022

Birds and butterflies of late July


Eleanor's visit to Pitsford Reservoir provided sightings of a Great White Egret, a Greenshank and three Common Sandpipers south of the causeway and two Great White Egrets, two drake Red-crested Pochards, a Pink-footed Goose and a Green Sandpiper in the Scaldwell Bay. David Arden subsequently saw the male Common Redstart and a Hobby also in the Scaldwell Bay.

Three Common Redstarts were present at Harrington Airfield plus a Hobby and a family party of very young Grey Partridges plus a Clouded Yellow butterfly. Another male Common Redstart was seen at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell and two Green Sandpipers were on the scrape at Summer Leys LNR.

A number of Clouded Yellows in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton delighted a succession of observers today and Brimstone and Painted Lady butterflies and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth were all attracted to the nectar strips too. A Purple Hairstreak was a garden first for Fiona at Hanging Houghton today.

Birds at Stanford Reservoir today included the Garganey again, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, two Common Sandpipers, a Hobby and nine Ravens.


Neil M

Lesser Swallow Prominent.

Rosy Footman.

Emerald Damselfly.

Blue-tailed Damselfly.

A rather tatty White Admiral!

Ruddy Darter in cop.

Speckled Wood.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Hollowell's Ospreys and lots of chats!


Yesterday's two Ospreys at Hollowell Reservoir were well photographed by Jon Cooke to the point that part ring numbers and other salient features confirms these birds as originating from the Rutland Osprey project. Both are seemingly males, one bird being a three year old and the other a five year old bird. The latter bird is mature enough to breed now but these two birds have been meandering around with the five year old bird spending plenty of time in Hampshire as well as our region. An Osprey appeared back at Hollowell Reservoir at about 7.15pm this evening.

Eleanor had a good day for chats today with two Common Redstarts at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell first thing and followed by a Wheatear and a Common Redstart in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton. A subsequent visit to Harrington Airfield followed in a similar vein with a Black Redstart at Bunker Three (with the bird hopping up to her on the concrete apron) and a Common Redstart between the Chippings Compound and Bunker One. Paul saw a Common Redstart later at Bunker Two which flew to Bunker One.

This afternoon what is presumed to be the same lingering Marsh Harrier was in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton flying towards Cottesbrooke and a Clouded Yellow butterfly still attracted to the nectar strips.

A Pink-footed Goose was seen on the Titchmarsh reserve at Thrapston Pits today and a Bittern was reported from Summer Leys LNR (with a belated report from the week-end).

Birds at Stanford Reservoir today include a morning Osprey and an evening Marsh Harrier, a Yellow-legged Gull, two Common Sandpipers, two Ravens and two Kingfishers.


Neil M

Ospreys at Hollowell Reservoir
yesterday courtesy of Jon Cook.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Migration momentum


Yesterday evening (Tuesday) saw two Hobbies hawking insects over a small weedy field on the outskirts of Hanging Houghton - possibly taking chafers. In the same field there were a pair of Kestrels and at least one very vocal Little Owl.

Also yesterday evening a Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper and a Great White Egret were seen on the Titchmarsh reserve at Thrapston but there was no sign of the previous day's Cattle Egrets. Another Great White Egret was on the Summer Leys LNR plus three Redshanks, a Ruff, a Dunlin and two Little Ringed Plovers.

Today (Wednesday) and there was a ringing session at Woodford Halse which yielded some seventy-seven captures of common birds made up of fourteen species with Blue and Great Tits dominating. Other birds processed included a Goldcrest, a Treecreeper, a Nuthatch, a Blackcap and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Birds noted on-site included a Hobby chasing a Swift, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail. Migrant and Brown Hawkers were whizzing around as the temperatures increased during the morning.

A subsequent walk this afternoon around Borough Hill Country Park, Daventry didn't provide many migrants with the best birds being four Spotted Flycatchers, a Lesser Whitethroat and breeding Meadow Pipits. Butterflies included Painted Lady and Common Blue and Blue Emperor dragonflies were on the prowl.

Two Ospreys were seen at Hollowell Reservoir today and a Ruddy Shelduck was at Ravensthorpe Reservoir with two Great White Egrets still in the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir.

Stanford Reservoir still boasted it's Garganey today plus a juvenile Marsh Harrier, a Common Sandpiper, two Kingfishers, a Hobby, two Cetti's Warblers and three Ravens.

Three Common Redstarts were at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell early this morning and two more were viewable in hedging from the footpath leading from Bridle Road, Old past Cherry Hill and between Walgrave village and Pitsford Reservoir (plus a fly-by Clouded Yellow).

This afternoon there was a juvenile Marsh Harrier near Lamport heading over cereal fields towards the village of Scaldwell.

A Silver-washed Fritillary made it to Finedon Pocket Park today and a Purple Hairstreak was found on oaks at Upton Country Park west of the mill.


Neil M

The very big, bold and beautiful
Privet Hawk-moth courtesy of
Michelle Spinks.

Borough Hill Country Park
at Daventry is the best place 
I know locally for stunning
clumps of Harebells.

Common Blue butterfly at
Borough Hill Country Park.

Comma butterfly at
Pitsford Reservoir.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Pitsford Reservoir birds


Some more bird ringing took place at Pitsford Reservoir today utlising mist nets in the Walgrave Bay with a reasonable number of captures without anything spectacular. A young male Kingfisher was a highlight plus small numbers of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Garden Warbler, a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a juvenile Marsh Tit.

Other birds on-site included a Ruddy Shelduck, two Great White Egrets, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, two drake Red-crested Pochard, a Yellow-legged Gull and the male Common Redstart still in the hedgerow opposite the Paul Britten bench. Small numbers of Yellow Wagtails and hirundines were trickling south overhead in quite dull conditions and a Marbled White butterfly was noted too.

At Stanford Reservoir the Garganey was still present with three Water Rails noted on the Leicestershire bank and a Common Sandpiper was on the canal at Blisworth. Eleanor saw a Marsh Harrier in the Brampton Valley heading towards Blueberry Farm at about 2.20pm with at least two Clouded Yellow butterflies active in the nectar strips there. Three or four Spotted Flycatchers were at the southern edge of the Lamport Hall complex this evening.


Neil M


Common Swift courtesy
of Steve Wilson.

Marsh Harrier courtesy of
Robin Gossage.