Sunday, 14 August 2022

Quiet and hot Sunday.


There were seemingly few birds reported in the county today, the hot conditions making birding uncomfortable outside the early mornings and evenings.

Stanford Reservoir hosted a Garganey today plus two Spotted Flycatchers, two Ravens, a Hobby and a  Grasshopper Warbler.

Two Common Redstarts were still at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell this morning and a Common Redstart and a Whinchat were at 'shrike hedge' in the Brampton Valley between Cottesbrooke and Hanging Houghton. A Stonechat was an early find at Wollaston Weir this morning and a Raven was noted over Barnwell Country Park.

A Common Redstart was at Harrington Airfield this evening between the Chippings Compound and Bunker One and four Whinchats were just south-west of Bunker One. Ringing there tomorrow morning restricts access to the bunkers and the scrubby area between the chippings compound and the concrete track.

Insects regionally included Striped Hawk-moths not far from us in Leicestershire and Nigel captured a superb Bedstraw Hawk-moth in Duston last night.


Neil M

Juvenile Whinchat.

 Stonechat courtesy
of Robin Gossage.


The time of the year when
we often experience passage
birds of all three species
 of these chats.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Hot, breezy and still no rain.


Yesterday evening (Friday) there were some fifteen Spotted Flycatchers together at Lamport Hall as viewed from the footpath running off the A508 at the southern end of the park and a Hobby was active at Harlestone Lake. Nocturnal migration at Harrington Airfield recorded a Common Sandpiper over at 11.35pm and what may have been Common Scoter some ten minutes later.

At Pitsford Reservoir this morning a male Common Redstart was still in the field hedge between the Old Scaldwell Road and the Bird Club Hide adjacent to the Scaldwell Bay and birds in the bay included two Red-crested Pochard, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover. There was a Great White Egret and a Kingfisher in the Walgrave Bay early this afternoon.

At Stanford Reservoir there were seven Spotted Fycatchers (one caught and ringed) this morning plus a Green Sandpiper and four Ravens and the first year drake Ferruginous Duck was still at Daventry Country Park late morning.

Morning sightings along the bridlepath that permits views of the new gravel workings off the Whiston Road provided two pairs of Grey Partridge, one with three young , a Cuckoo, a Green Sandpiper and over forty Linnets.

This morning there were two Common Redstarts, a Tree Pipit and two Crossbills over Blueberry Farm, Maidwell with a Common Redstart, a Wheatear and Clouded Yellows in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton. Nearby there were just eight Spotted Flycatchers and a Common Redstart at Lamport Hall.

Ten Yellow Wagtails, a Great White Egret and a Common Sandpiper were on the Titchmarsh reserve at Thrapston Pits and a Marsh Harrier and three Black-tailed Godwits were on the Summer Leys LNR this morning.

A small number of birds were caught and ringed at Harrington Airfield this morning before it became too warm. The highlights were twelve Common Whitethroats, two Lesser Whitethroats, a couple of Willow Warblers, a young Green Woodpecker and an adult female Common Redstart. At least one other Common Redstart was around Bunker Two, there was a Wheatear at Bunker One and other birds included Grey Partridges and a hunting Hobby. Butterflies included Common Blue, Small Heath and Small Copper.


Neil M

Migrant Hawker.

Lesser Whitethroat.

Common Whitethroat.

Ant Mimic Beetle courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Apple Weevil courtesy 
of Robin Gossage.

Friday, 12 August 2022

Drought birds


Yesterday evening (Thursday) and there were ten Spotted Flycatchers in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton.

This morning (Friday) I took a drive over to Borough Hill Country Park at Daventry arriving there at about dawn. The orangey almost full harvest moon lit the way as I progressed west. Although there was quite a variety of common warblers in the bushes I didn't encounter very much other than the norm despite well over two hours checking the bushes and open hillsides, five Spotted Flycatchers perhaps being the best. Small numbers of post-breeding Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flew up from the top ridge but apart from a few Yellow Wagtails flying over visible migration was minimal.

I popped down to Daventry Country Park afterwards and located the first year drake Ferruginous Duck expertly picked out by Gary Pullan earlier this month. A Pink-footed Goose was with the Greylags and seven Green Sandpipers fed along the muddy shoreline. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were quite numerous in the waterside trees and at least one Grey Wagtail was in the area of the dam.

Birds at Stanford Reservoir this morning included a summer Corn Bunting, a Common Redstart, still ten Ravens, a Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper, a Kingfisher and two Hobbies.

At Pitsford Reservoir at lunchtime there were two Great White Egrets in the Walgrave Bay and the Scaldwell Bay hosted two Red-crested Pochard, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a male Common Redstart, a Great White Egret and a Common Sandpiper.

There were three Black-tailed Godwits at Summer Leys LNR this morning and a Common Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover were at Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows. Birds at Stanwick Pits this morning included a Cattle Egret, a Great White Egret, four Common Sandpipers and two Yellow-legged Gulls.

A Honey Buzzard was reported via Birdguides as flying south at Islip this morning, one of many bird sightings from this location over the last couple of years from an unknown observer. One of Ian's Common Redstarts was still on the reserve at Woodford Halse again today.

Yesterday evening (Thursday) and Hummingbird Hawk-moths and Painted Ladies were attracted to buddleias and other flowers at The Fishing Lodge, Pitsford Reservoir and this afternoon there were still Clouded Yellows in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton. Other insects of note reported during the last few days include some fresh Brown Argus butterflies and Willow Emerald damselflies.

A ringing session will be taking place at Harrington Airfield in the morning (Saturday) when there will be access restrictions to the scrubby areas around the bunkers.


Neil M

A bolt from the blue - Kingfisher!

Moulting male Kestrel
perched on the Maytrees Hide
at Pitsford Reservoir today. The
bird bears a ring which is interesting
as there hasn't been a bird ringed
locally for some years.

Ruddy Darter.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

A hot harvest


The warmth of the last two days has resulted in less reported bird sightings - I think the birders have wilted rather than the birds!

Both yesterday and today a Wood Sandpiper has been at the Earls Barton Pits complex, mostly on Mary's Lake but occasionally on the Summer Leys scrape where two Black-tailed Godwits remain. Yesterday there was a Great White Egret, a Green Sandpiper and a Yellow-legged Gull. Today a Common Buzzard was seen to catch a Grass Snake there (per Bob Bullock).

Also yesterday a Tree Pipit slipped over Pitsford Reservoir at 6.35am heading south-west and a Common Redstart and a Hobby were noted at Woodford Halse.

This morning yielded two or three Common Redstarts at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell still and at least fifteen Spotted Flycatchers and one or two Common Redstart(s) were still at Lamport Hall and visible from the footpath at the south end of the complex.

Nigel found a Wheatear this morning at Fleetland Farm, Duston and the Ferruginous Duck was reportedly still present at Daventry Country Park today.

Yesterday two Common Redstarts were caught and ringed at Stanford Reservoir on the Leicestershire bank plus a Grasshopper Warbler and other birds noted included ten Ravens, a Kingfisher, a Green Sandpiper and a Hobby

At Harrington Airfield this morning a short ringing session caught just a small number of birds before it became too warm but did include a Lesser Whitethroat and a Common Redstart. At least five single Tree Pipits moved south over the plateau calling as they went and didn't remain as did a few small flocks of Yellow Wagtails. A couple of Ravens and Grey Partridges maintain a presence there and butterflies included plenty of Common Blues and rather less Small Heaths. A small number of Clouded Yellow butterflies remain active in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was around fuchsias in the village.


Neil M

The dust of an evening
golden harvest.

Ruddy Darter.

darwin wasp sp
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

First year male
Common Redstart
at Harrington Airfield today.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Dispersing birds in the heat.


Another warm day and a few more to come yet!

At Pitsford Reservoir today the Scaldwell Bay hosted two Great White Egrets, four Red-crested Pochard, two Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper and a male Common Redstart with a Kingfisher in the Walgrave Bay. There are two noisy broods of juvenile Sparrowhawks on the reserve which are just beginning to disperse and become independent.

At Stanford Reservoir a Black-tailed Godwit was present first thing and other birds included a Green Sandpiper, a Spotted Flycatcher and four Ravens. An Osprey was seen at Hollowell Reservoir this evening and this morning there was a Golden Plover, two Green Sandpipers and two Little Ringed Plovers.

The Ferruginous Duck remained elusive and mobile at Daventry Country Park where there were also three Green Sandpipers. The White-rumped Sandpiper remained at Eyebrook Reservoir and the Cape Gull was still at Grafham Water until late afternoon when it apparently flew off east.

Mary's Lake at Earls Barton Pits still hung on to a Wood Sandpiper today with a Green Sandpiper and with two Black-tailed Godwits still at adjacent Summer Leys LNR.

A Common Redstart remained at Woodford Halse today and at least one Common Redstart and about ten Spotted Flycatchers were at Lamport Hall. Two Common Redstarts were at Blueberry Farm this evening and there were at least eight Spotted Flycatchers in the belt of trees next to Beck Dairy, Cottesbrooke this morning. A family party of Spotted Flycatchers and a Raven were in Hanging Houghton village with four Clouded Yellows in the Brampton Valley below the village.

A Common Redstart and a Wheatear were at Harrington Airfield this morning, both around Bunker Two and four Grey Wagtails were near Brixworth.


Neil M

Juvenile Sparrowhawk.


Grey Wagtail courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Post-breeding dispersals of the above three
species will ensure they can be encountered
almost anywhere until they settle to establish
a winter territory.

Monday, 8 August 2022

The second heat wave begins!


More ringing today at Stanford Reservoir produced another fresh haul of new birds and together with re-traps and a couple of controls, the total was over two hundred and fifty birds processed today including a Sparrowhawk. Other birds noted on-site included an Osprey and six Ravens.

A much more modest period of ringing at Pitsford Reservoir yielded over fifty common birds including many re-traps Great Tits and Blue Tits but also a new juvenile Marsh Tit. A Great White Egret, six Ravens and a Kingfisher were seen in the Walgrave Bay and the Scaldwell Bay hosted four Great White Egrets, three Red-crested Pochard, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Kingfisher, a Garganey, two Common Sandpipers, six Green Sandpipers, a Wheatear and a Mink.

At Earls Barton Pits there was a Wood Sandpiper on Mary's Lake, a Marsh Harrier hunting the Summer Leys reserve, two Black-tailed Godwits and two Yellow-legged Gulls.

Regional big-hitters included the Ferruginous Duck again at Daventry Country Park, the Cape Gull still at Grafham and the White-rumped Sandpiper at Eyebrook Reservoir.

Blueberry Farm, Maidwell retained three Common Redstarts this morning and a Marsh Harrier flew over heading for Brixworth. A Whinchat and a Wheater were in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton where there were also Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady butterflies. A Short-eared Owl was again video'd on a camera trap during the early hours of this morning.

Nearby at Lamport Hall there was a Common Redstart, two Ravens and at least ten Spotted Flycatchers and over at Wicksteed Park Nick saw five Yellow-legged Gulls. Two Common Redstarts remain elusive at Harrington Airfield in bushes between the Chippings Compound and Bunker One.


Neil M

Male Blackbird courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Emerald Damselfly.


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.