Monday, 31 March 2008

March 31st 2008

Still two Brambling on feeders plus House Sparrow 2 and a male Blackcap in garden - could be a migrant or a wandering over wintering bird.
Very brief visit to pond first light - White Wagtail near sewage farm, Swallow 2 with Sand martin 50+, Sparrowhawk, Shelduck pair, Oystercatcher and Little Ringed Plover in toft bay, Chiffchaff 2 and Wheatear 2 males on farborough bank. Other birds noted were Gadwall 4, Goosander female, Teal 4, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Lesser Redpoll 3. Mothing tonight - first proper field trip of the year.


Sunday, 30 March 2008

March 30th 2008

Took the advantage of the clocks going forward to have an early start in the valley with Dave Cox. Arrived at Grandborough Fields in the dark with a Skylark in full song and a Barn Owl perched on fence post taking no notice of us as we inched closer. Later, the owl returned and performed well, also a Raven perched, Fieldfare 6, Buzzard 4, Sand Martin and later on along Hill Rd we had Golden Plover 5, Yellowhammer 20+ and three Green Woodpeckers while just outside Grandborough Village there were 3 Redwing.
The gates were late opening at Draycote Water but it did not deter us and a walk to toft bay produced the first fall of Wheatears for the year with four males on toft bank then moving to the field below toft bank, also Sand Martin 100, Grey Wagtail 2, Teal 4, Gadwall 4, Goldeneye,Meadow Pipit 6 and a brief chat with Kevin Grewcock.
Another Green Woodpecker over the diner at Long Itchington then on to Brandon Marsh where the warm weather made many species active with a lone Swallow, 30+ Sand Martin, Snipe 4, Oystercatcher 2, Redshank, Ringed Plover 2 Kingfisher and after hearing Water Rail Diane Stone put us on to the bird as it crossed in front of hide. The woods had Willow Tit, Chiffchaff 4 singing, Coal Tit 2, Goldcrest, Treecreeper 4 while above the nearby Brandon Woods at least 6 Buzzards and Sparrowhawk 3, Also seen were Brimstone butterfly 3 enjoying a gorgeous morning.
A brief visit to Lawford Heath on our way to Dave's gave us Corn Bunting and Buzzard and at Dave's while having dinner he had Siskin 2 on his feeders and a Peacock butterfly.
Back at home managed Brambling 2 on feeders and Buzzard 2 soaring overhead.


Saturday, 29 March 2008

March 29th 2008

Gave the hip a workout on the bike for the first time in a week by visiting Cawston Woods. Chiffchaff were more numerous than last visit with at least three singing along with newly arrived Blackcaps and a male Wheatear between the wood and the A4071. Also had Raven over croaking, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard 2, Long-tailed Tit 5, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker 2 and the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker drumming while at the nearby Bilton High School, Lawford Lane the female Black Redstart showed briefly near the entrance before moving behind the main buildings. (sorry state of affairs when you feel guilty for hanging round a school entrance with a pair of bins - sign of the times we live in.) Cycling back home along Alwyn Rd 14 Siskin flew over so someone has them on there feeders.
My own Garden feeders very quiet mainly as the bright sunshine has brought the hack & slash brigade out so only one Brambling seen.
JJ picked me up for the roost at Draycote but the wind was to strong we couldn't get near them, then the light went and the rain arrived so a complete failure - Sand Martin 38, Lesser Redpoll 6 over heading south and Goldeneye 9. Back to JJs for a very nice meal - cheers Helen hence the late blog.


March 28th 2008

A dull wet morning with the wind in the south south east before going to south west so not surprising when I received a call at mid-day from JJ that he had just found a female Black Redstart on the main buildings of Bilton High School, Lawford Lane, Rugby. Dave picked us up and we saw the bird feeding off the roof of the main hall before going on for coffee and cake at Draycote Water. A walk afterwards to farborough spit was rewarding with a "Scandinavian" Rock Pipit, then a Rock Pipit (both birds very wary and elusive so may have only just arrived) and a Whooper Swan adult flying over low heading north. Three Brambling on my feeders till 7:30am.


Friday, 28 March 2008

March 27th 2008

Garden Bramblings were magical this morning - present from 06:30 with two then joined by another and another and another eventually getting six including a partial and full summer plumage male, a real stonker. This is the highest number I have had together. I was enjoying this spectacle so much I nearly missed the Sand Martin flying north over the house tops. Bramblings disappeared by 07:30 as my estate woke up with only one returning occasionally.
Blue Sky's becoming cloudier with light winds so with regular checks upwards I managed 5 Buzzards with four soaring together approximately 3000ft up over garden at 12:30, a Peregrine 13:00, Fieldfare 3 heading east calling 13:30, Sparrowhawk 2 displaying 15:15 and 34 Golden Plover north 1530. Need to have your eyes everywhere.
A walk to Sainsbury's at four and managed Goldcrest, another Sparrowhawk, couple of Siskin, 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls going north east and many Greenfinches in display flights.


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

March 26th 2008

Morning at home loosening my hip - ouch. Two Brambling, House Sparrow and Bullfinch on garden feeders and a large Sparrowhawk soaring overhead. Steve Seal sent me many pictures from yesterdays visit - these Common Buzzards are pretty good considering camera was hand held and they were high up over our heads and a nice action shot of Grey Wagtail at Draycote Water.

A visit to pond this late afternoon produced Common Scoter male and female, first Swallow of the year (my second earliest arrival date), 20 Sand Martin, Little Ringed Plover, Shoveler 5 (three male & two female) Sparrowhawk 2, Green Woodpecker, Wheatear male, Pied Wagtail 90 +, White Wagtail and third winter Iceland Gull.
Up dating records - my patch list for the year is 130 plus two sub-species all with in six miles from home and looking at the weather forecast for next week looks as if my blog may become erratic as its looking good for birding and mothing so no sleep for the wicked - o and only five more weeks for my big get away - Georgia, Armenia, Spain - bring it on. Finally Happy Birthday Dave Cox 59 equalling his waist.

March 25th 2008

Steve Seal came round early to photograph my Bramblings though the light was poor and capturing some of my visitors including two Long-tailed Tits. Sparrowhawk over

Brambling by Steve Seal
After breakfast at Sainsbury's we went in to valley from the Hill Rd end and the flock of Golden Plover were still in same field. Managed a count of 127 plus 8 Lapwing, 2 Red-legged Partridge and 4 Buzzards. In the end we managed about 20 Buzzards in the valley and distant views of 2 Stonechat.

Red-legged Partridge by Steve Seal

Napton Reservoir was very quiet so we went to Draycote Water and after a chat with Peter & Linda Price who had just finished there walk and said it was very quiet apart from 20 Sand Martin in Biggen Bay we walked out to toft bay (well Steve walked and I hobbled). Steve found a male Wheatear in the field below farborough bank and we also had, 111 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 18 Goldeneye 10 Teal and a fresh arrival of Pied Wagtails with 50 counted plus Grey Wagtail and singing Chiffchaff in toft bay. On our way back we saw a very grey Meadow Pipit and Buzzard. Unfortunately there was no sign of the Little Gull adult winter which I thought I saw from the cafe so now I am not sure if it was one or just dreaming.
Back at cafe we were told of a "black & white" grebe and after careful questioning with some doubt thought it was best we checked it out so walked to outlet and checked anything that floated but could only find an immature Great-crested Grebe. That just about killed me hip off so we called it a day. Oak Beauty in trap.

Oak Beauty by Steve Seal


Monday, 24 March 2008

March 24th 2008

Hip giving me jip but managed to hobble up the road to nearby Cockrobin Plantation in the snow showers. The wood itself was very quiet apart from a few Goldfinches and a calling Chiffcahaff. Back home my restocked feeders are doing overtime in this cold spell with Brambling 2, Bullfinch 2, Tree Sparrow, Jay, Magpie 5, Reed Bunting female, Collard Dove 4, Song Thrush, Wood Pigeon 5 while over garden the Sparrowhawk has been over three times and another or same bird displaying. This afternoon my neighbour offered a lift so we went round the valley with a flask of coffee and plenty of sandwiches. One Corn Bunting with the finch flock on the silage barns just out side Willoughby and two Stonechat near Grandborough Fields along with a Little Owl. Other birds noted in area were Buzzard 4, Skylark 8, Fieldfare 20, Raven 2, Reed Bunting 6, Yellowhammer 17, Sparrowhawk and Red-legged Partridge 4. (missed the two Wheatear on Hill Rd and the 150 Golden Plover, thanks for e-mail Marcus) Stopped at Napton on the Hill for coffee near the churchyard and had Goldcrest 2, Willow Tit and Great-spotted Woodpecker then hobbled to Windmill seeing Fieldfare 5 and Sisking 2 going north. The walk back to car was slow but magical when a female Merlin flew on to a fence post in front of us to preen and back at the churchyard a migrating Rock Pipit was on the path before flying towards village, no doubt brought down by the snow showers. On the way back to Rugby we had a Barn Owl fly across road in daylight which was not unexpected considering the weather we are experiencing and we looked Draycote Water for forty minutes from the comfort of the car parked in the sailing club area and managed adult Kittiwake, two adult summer Med Gulls and two first winter Little Gulls plus another Rock Pipit and my first Common Sandpiper of the year which walked past the car feeding along the shore line towards the cafe. My neighbour now thinks this birdwatching lark is great fun and dead easy - I wish. Biggest shock of the day was brushing snow off my moth trap and finding Small Brindled Beauty - new for garden and it was minus one last night.


March 23rd 2008

Hip stiffened up overnight so housebound - couldn't even bend to dress so apart from an hours garden watching rest of day in bed. Brambling 2 and Goldfinch 4 on feeders.


Saturday, 22 March 2008

March 22nd 2008

Happy easter my a**e. Blown off me bike, limped home, very little in garden except snow, managed a lift to pond with Mike to do roost but unfortunaley the north east wind and distance conspired in seeing nowt apart from Sand Martin 2.


Friday, 21 March 2008

March 21st 2008

Sunny with a very cold wind at Cawston Woods this morning and after nearly two hours of searching managed brilliant views of the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker as he moved through the tree tops. Spending longer in wood than I intended I also managed to see all five tit species which I don't often achieve on my patch, Treecreeper 4, Nuthatch 5, Green Wooodpecker, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Woodcock, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and despite the cold a Chiffchaff singing.
Left going to pond as late as possible to avoid the easter crowds and had to wait for the roost to build as they came in late so it was gone six before the third winter Iceland Gull arrived followed by a pale first winter Glaucous Gull and just as I was thinking of packing up at 6:30pm the adult Kumlien's Gull came in and though not as near as Wedensdays sighting it was still identifiable. Other birds noted were Siskin 3, Chiffchaff, Jay, Goosander 5, Goldeneye 12 and a Little Ringed Plover circling.


Thursday, 20 March 2008

March 20th 2008

First visit of the year to Napton on the Hill. Local birders keep an eye on this location due to its prominent position being high up and has a reputation for observing day flying migrants as well as attracting those brought down by bad weather. In the past it has produced Yellow-browed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Snow Bunting, Quail, Wood Warbler, was excellent a few years ago when there was an inland movement of Honey Buzzards and with regular sightings of Redstart, Pied flycatcher and the more common warblers it is well worth keeping an eye on. Best places are the lane leading upto and in the churchyard and the old quarry below the windmill as well as the views back towards Rugby and over my patch. That all said it was a while before I saw anything but came away with sightings of Siskin 10 flying north, Lesser Redpoll 2 feeding in churchyard, a mixed flock of Fieldfare/Redwing heading east as well as local birds such as Raven, Sparrowhawk, Coal Tit, Treecreeper and Great-spotted Woodpecker.
Being on the southern edge of my patch the early start enabled me to check on at least three of my Barn Owl sites being successful with 5 seen as well as pair of Little Owls, Stonechat 2, Raven 3, Buzzard 8, plenty of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting are more noticeable. Napton Reservoir had Cetties Warbler, Water Rail and a lone Sand Martin.


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

March 19th 2008

Brambling 2 on feeders and Buzzard over garden were the higlights this morning. Met up with Terry for coffee and chat this afternoon at Draycote Water then did roost. Bitterly cold north west wind brought the gulls in a lot closer than normal and this paid off when adult Kumliens Gull was identified off hensborough bank just after 5:30 only 400 yards out giving excellent views in good light while five minutes earlier the third winter Iceland Gull had arrived. Decided to move to sailing club as the Black-headed Gulls were in very close and managed to find 4 adult summer Med Gulls. Other birds noted included Raven 2, Buzzard 2, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Fieldfare 2, Chiffchaff 2, Sand Martin 12 biggen bay, Grey Wagtail inlet, Goldeneye 18, Gadwall 14, Wigeon 100+, Goosander 10 roosted off valve tower and Coal Tit in small copse below hensborough bank.


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

March 18th 2008

Plans to do Draycote Water early went out the window when muggins here left the bath water running - flooded bathroom and kitchen. Morning spent mopping up being laughed at by two Brambling at the feeders, lots of bickering between them so must be on overdrive to eat before migrating soon.
Heating on full blast so cleared off to Cawston Woods and though I could hear Lesser-spotted I could not locate it. Limited viewing as the wood is private - well it was. Nuthatch 5, Lesser Redpoll 3, Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Jay.
Draycote Water was very busy with is usual hordes of walkers and lica wearers - on the plus side - the warmer it gets the less they wear, well if you can't join um, watch um. Roost had Iceland Gull 3rd winter and first winter Glaucous Gull and 6 Goosander, 12 Goldeneye, 5 Gadwall, 4 Sand Martin, 2 Buzzards, 2 Shoveler, Siskin, 10 Redwing, Grey Wagtail, Snipe, calling Little Owl and my first House Martin of the year.


Monday, 17 March 2008

March 17th 2008

Cold and bright this morning and a lot better than yesterday. In the valley concentrated on the flooded fields hoping for waders and checking the many flocks of gulls that were worming. One Redshank was my reward on the wader front near Woolscott and a second winter Med Gull in a flooded field near Sawbridge among hundreds of Black-head Gulls and Common Gulls. Other birds of note were Raven 2, Red-legged Partridge 4, Stonechat 3, Yellowhammer 18, Sparrowhawk 2 a few remaining Fieldfare and 80 Golden Plover in flight only. At Cawston Wood, Cawston I was hoping for the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker but despite occasionally drumming could not track it down. Nuthatch 2, Treecreeper 3, Green Woodpecker 4, Great-spotted Woodpecker 3, Buzzard 4, Coal Tit 2, Willow Tit 2, and many Goldcrests.
Back home two Brambling still coming to feeders along with Wood Pigeon, Collard Dove and Bullfinch 4.


Sunday, 16 March 2008

March 16th 2008

Opposite side to the coin today - strong north east winds, cold driving rain, floods, detours and very few birds, ending up at Brandon Marsh with Kingfisher, immature male Goosander, Sparrowhawk, Snipe 4 and Sand Martin 12.


Saturday, 15 March 2008

March 15th 2008

Purple Patch Day - light south east wind, low cloud and drizzle greeted my arrivial at Draycote Water just after 6pm to be met by a Dark- Bellied Brent Goose circling reservoir (my 23rd record and 50th bird) and four Shelduck. There were still a couple of thousand gulls loafing around with 250 Greater Black-backed Gulls and the third winter Iceland Gull which finally left at 7am, many of the black-headed gulls were in adjoining fields. Calling Avocet arrived off farborough bank landing on the water before making slow progress towards biggen bay but had not made the shoreline by the time the fishing boats came out and flew off low over grandborough valley (my 5th record the last in 2005 involving 8 birds). By 8pm I had only managed to reach the cafe being distracted by White Wagtail, male Stonechat, 3 Sand Martin and with so many sailing boats arriving moved round to valve tower where a male Wheatear was feeding (first of the year for Draycote). Other birds seen included 40 Cormorant, 9 Goosander, 20 Fieldfare, 50 Redwing, Meadow Pipit 30+, Lesser Redpoll, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 15 Goldeneye, 10 Gadwall and Jay.
Back home for a well deserved breakfast entertained by 3 Brambling on feeders. In the afternoon went for a walk with JJ round his patch, coffee at his place then off to Draycote for the roost in the rain again. No soon had we started then Iceland 3rd winter could be seen in the bins and first winter Glaucous Gull both before 1645pm. Met up with Paul Hyde who had adult Med Gull in roost and Rock Pipit on toft bank as well as having an impressive 37 Sand Martin. Despite the drizzle last night I had Oak Beauty, Common Quaker 3, Small Quaker and Hebrew Character 2 in trap


Friday, 14 March 2008

March 14th 2008

Arrived at draycote 5.45am to a stunning pink washed sunrise and a Barn Owl sitting on the fence of sewage farm, unfortunatly in my haste I missed the female Scaup found later by Bob Hazell in grays barn, Treecreeper near valve tower, Jay, Raven, Long-tailed Tit nest building, Kingfisher, 2 Curlew over and Muntjac Deer.
Garden feeders had two Brambling, female Siskin and at least three Buzzards went over high separately and all going west.
In the afternoon on our way back from Daventry Dave and I had one Stonechat (Terry Southgate had three earlier) and 203 Golden Plover resting close to the Hill Road near Barn Farm. Coffee and cake at Draycote and sharp eyed Dave found a male Stonechat on the fence below farnborough bank.
Did the roost with John Judge and we managed to find the first winter Glaucous Gull, third winter Iceland Gull, a very pink washed black-headed Gull and a second winter hybrid showing characteristics of Glaucous and Herring Gull. Curlew calling but not seen. Towards the end of roost we lost the light to grey skies and drizzle.


Thursday, 13 March 2008

March 13th 2008

A much calmer day on the weather front so a trip in to valley was well worth it with very noticable numbers of Meadow Pipits and Pied wagtails along with my first Wheatear of the year near Woodbine Farm. Earlier a Barn Owl was still out hunting at 8pm, pair of Stonechats, Raven 3, Buzzard 2, Green Woodpecker, Red-legged Partridge 4, Stock Dove 30+ and Sparrowhawk.
Thurlaston Bridge Kites hardwick had Kingfisher, Buzzard 2, another Sparrowhawk and 14 Golden Plover feeding in the field next to Draycote Water. Wind had picked up by the time I arrived at Draycote but the place felt dead?. Lesser Redpoll by hide, 4 Goosander, 20+ Meadow Pipits, Raven, 2 Buzzard, 10 Goldeneye, 100 Wigeon, and 6 Gadwall otherwise very little evidence of any migration.
Back home via valley adding Great-spotted Woodpecker, Brambling flying over and 4 Tree Sparrow near Willoughby.
Late afternoon back home and two Brambling, female Siskin, 3 Bullfinch and two Collared Doves. Last nights moth catch included Common Quaker 2 and Pale Brindled Beauty 2


March 12th 2008

Unfortuntley 40/50 mph gusts were too much for me and my little legs so had to be content with garden feeders. Brambling 2 and Sparrowhawk went through.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

March 11th 2008

Out before first light to Draycote with the intention of beating the joggers, walkers, pram pushers etc before they flushed off any migrants along the banks and managed to find a White Wagtail feeding half way between farborough bank and toft bay with Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits and further on near inlet at least Sand Martin 2 were feeding over water. Goosander 9, Shoveler 3 female, Ruddy Duck female and a few Goldeneye noted. Back home for breakfast and housework, the garden feeders produced 3 Brambling including adult male which had a different head pattern to the previous one which I have not seen for a while, also 3 Bullfinch, female Siskin and Sparrowhawk over. Second visit to do roost was marred by torrential rain and strong winds with even stronger gust which on the plus side brought down Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin 4 and more Sand Martins (8) while on the minus side, wet underwear. Glaucous Gull pale first winter, third winter Iceland Gull and Kittiwake adult in a very confused roost - poor things were desperate for shelter.


Monday, 10 March 2008

March 10th 2008

Even I can't cope with this weather so had to be content with watching the garden feeders blowing all over the place. Two immature males & one female Brambling, two pairs of Bullfinch, female Siskin and male Blackcap. Female Blackbird was not put off by the weather and has started nest building in my ivy covered fence which is a little too close to me moth traps so I better move them - dont mind her moving in but I ain't supplying take aways. Late afternoon and the gulls returning to roost at Draycote were going low overhead against a very leaden sky and managed to pick out a Yellow-legged Gull.


Sunday, 9 March 2008

March 9th 2008

Out early with Dave in valley for the Long-eared Owl but alas there was no sign as the farmer has since yesterday morning put sheep in to there usual field so that might be it. Nearby we were lucky to have a Barn Owl perched only 15ft away and it came even closer when it flew past us – breath taking. Also in area were the pair of Stonechat, Green Woodpecker, Fieldfare 30, Meadow Pipits 10 and Roe Deer 4.
No sign of Shelduck at Napton Reservoir just Pochard 11, Redwing 10 and a few Meadow Pipits but on our way to Draycote we spotted a Corn Bunting perched on roadside hedge near Broadwell. Draycote was quiet with only 9 Goosander, 16 Goldeneye, and 30+ Meadow Pipits.
Brandon Marsh had Oystercatcher, Shelduck 2, Goosander pair, Buzzard 6, Jay and a distant flock of Golden Plover (100+). Rookery Farm, Lawford Heath had Tree Sparrow, a few Starling, Buzzard and Chaffinch 30+.
My garden moth trap had Pale Brindle Beauty, Common Quaker and Small Quaker and still one Brambling briefly on feeders this afternoon.


Saturday, 8 March 2008

March 8th 2008

In the grandborough valley Long-eared Owl showed just before dusk and single Barn Owl while Great-spotted Woodpecker, Buzzards 3, Raven 3, Siskin and a party of Linnets also seen. Moving on to Napton Reservoir the Cetties Warbler was singing and Shelduck present along with Brambling flying over, Goldcrest 2, Lesser Redpoll near entrance, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush while Millbank Spinney near Broadwell had Treecreeper and Buzzard.
Back home with one Brambling on feeders intending to watch the rugger when JJ rang offering a lift to do roost so we arrived to very blustery conditions which became a really struggle to get decent views as the light was bad and the gulls could not decide what was the best area for shelter. Besides all that we managed one adult summer Med Gull, third winter Iceland Gull and a pale first winter Glaucous Gull plus a very interesting Black-headed Gull that was almost white on the mantle and looking paler than a Med Gull. Only other bird of note were the pre-roost gathering of Goosanders which reached 21. Clouded Drab, Common Quaker and Pale Brindle Beauty in trap.


Friday, 7 March 2008

March 7th 2008

Not been to valley for a couple of days so left early in blustery damp conditions hoping this weather front may have brought down any early migrants - wishful thinking on my part but one has hope. Barn Owl flying across the A45 towards Willoughby and another two hunting there usual field but again could not find any Long-eared Owls so they may have gone. Pair of Stonechats showed well hunting from a fence post and there were 9 Hares in the area along with 8 Golden Plover flying over with one in summer plumage, 3 Buzzards, 4 Raven, 6 Yellowhammer, Red-legged Partridge and Green Woodpecker. Two Siskin over Woodbine Farm and 6 Wigeon went east. Another Raven and Buzzard along the Hill Rd but no sign of Sunday’s Golden Plover flock. Taking one of the many footpaths out of Grandborough I managed to find Teal, Kingfisher, Common Gull 4 and Grey heron 2 on one of the fishing Pools.
Back home the garden feeders were busy till next door hung his long johns out and they never returned. Brambling 4, Siskin, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon 3, Magpie 2, Bullfinch 4 along with the usual Blue & Great Tit, Hedge Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin and Blackbird plus Rook, Crow, Jackdaw, Collard Dove, Black-headed & Common Gull, Lapwing and Sparrowhawk in my air space (I lend it to the government) and a Bumblebee sp.
Down to Pond in the afternoon with Dave for coffee and cake. On arrival we had 4 Raven together which are a site record count for me and the walk to toft bay produced Goosander 5, Goldeneye 16, Pochard 16, Teal 10, Wigeon 120 and 40+ Meadow Pipits on farborough bank. Looks like the pots going to get stirred up a bit with the weather fronts that are due over the next few days so hang on to your bins it could be good (more hope) especially gulls as we have had Ring-billed and Bonaparts in the past. Not sure if I can get there tomorrow night so next definite roost I will do will be the 11th (Tuesday), if you want to join me your welcome but you might get wet. Contact me by email


Thursday, 6 March 2008

March 6th 2008

A walk around my estate is as far as I managed today, busy getting traps ready, sorting out my moth/bird records and planning for May when I am away. Managed a few Redwing, Fieldfare, 10 Golden Plover going east and 2 Buzzards. Only 2 Brambling in garden and a Magpie.


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

March 5th 2008

JJ came round early to see me Bramblings and had to wait 5 seconds before one turned up, eventualy three present and male Bullfinch. Popped over to Draycote with him and a walk to toft bay with Bob Hazel but no sign of Lesser Scaup - has it gone?. Pochard 16, Goldeneye 19, Goosander 6, Meadow Pipits feeding on farnborough bank and a displaying Sparrowhawk.
Second visit with JJ to do roost. Started off looking from windsurfing area before joining Bob Duckhouse in rainbow corner who had found 2 juv Glaucous Gulls. Could only find one, a pale first winter then later on I managed to find a third winter Iceland Gull which means thats five we have had this winter while JJ found a third winter Yellow-legged Gull. Earlier I had a Med Gull second winter and 14 Goosander counted off draycote bank. STOP PRESS Lesser Scaup has been relocated at Brandon Marsh this afternoon.


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

March 4th 2008

A very long day, but a cracking one. Out by 4:30am in time to see two Barn Owls near Sawbridge but moving on again failed to see any Long-eared Owls, just one Barn Owl and the field adjacent Fox Covert had a superb Woodcock feeding out from the edge of wood along with 6 Red-legged Partridge and Treecreeper in the covert. Heading towards Lower Shuckburgh I picked up Raven 2, Great-spotted Woodpecker and by the bridge over the Grand Union Canal Willow Tit. Spent an hour watching the skyline above Shuckburgh Wood seeing Buzzard 3, Raven and Sparrowhawk. Reversing my route back in to valley towards Draycote I had Stonechat pair, plenty of Yellowhammers, small groups of Starlings Long-tailed Tits and Bullfinches.
The Lesser Scaup at Draycote was in gray’s barn, toft bay before flying off where later on it was seen in rainbow corner before flying back In to toft bay. The longest flight I have seen it do in 98 days and must mean its thinking of going. Apart from Wigeon numbers (120) most duck species numbers are way down, Pochard 20, Gadwall 4, Teal 30, Goldeneye 20 and Goosanders 9 and the same goes for Great-crested Grebes.
After coffee with Francoise and Olli it was time to do the roost which due to the north west wind the best place was from the valve tower and by 5pm many of the larger gulls were less than 300 yards away so had great views until they went out in to the centre. Glaucous Gull 3 (first winter, pale first winter & second winter) Iceland Gull white first winter, Caspian Gull 3rd winter, adult and near adult Yellow-legged Gulls and adult winter Little Gull. Rock Pipit was on draycote bank and other birds seen were Buzzard 3, Jay and 20+ Redwing.


Monday, 3 March 2008

March 3rd 2008

Had a quiet day at home. Overnight cold spell brought plenty of birds in to garden with Brambling 2, Siskin 4, Bullfinch 4, Wood Pigeon 5, Jackdaw 3, Carrion Crow while flyovers included 5 Lapwing and Cormorant - both species flying north.


Sunday, 2 March 2008

March 2nd 2008

A very frustrating day in the field. Dave and I met up with the Hall brothers before first light but we failed to see any owls in the very strong early morning winds. Pair of Stonechats, singing Skylark and four Roe Deer for our efforts. We then all moved on to Draycote and the walk to toft bay where the Lesser Scaup was huddled against the willows in gray’s barn giving long distant views. Very little else seen apart from 8 Goosander, 12 Goldeneye and 14 Meadow Pipits. We then split up, the Halls staying to photograph the lesser and finding two Chiffchaffs while we had time to kill before breakfast so did the Grandborough valley again via Hill Rd where we managed to find ‘Marks’ Golden Plover flock (100+) but they were very nervous and reluctant to land due to a brief sighting of Merlin tearing through. Red-legged Partridge, Buzzard 2 and Yellowhammer 15+ seen mainly in pairs.
After breakfast we went to Brandon Marsh where we had Buzzard 3, Coal Tit 2, Lesser Redpoll 2, Treecreeper 3, and a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker flying away from us so again disappointing views. Marsh it self had many Shoveler, Goosander female, Goldeneye female and 14 Snipe.
Returned home via Lawford Heath where most of the Fieldfares have gone but we still had hundreds of Starlings feeding in the silage barns of Rookery Farm where a Sparrowhawk male sat on the roof of barns just yards away. Highlight of the day was Dave's new car - so posh he makes me wear slippers in it.


Saturday, 1 March 2008

March 1st 2008

Garden had Brambling 5, Magpie, Bullfinch 4, House Sparrow 2 and plenty of Rooks going over. Did the roost with John Judge, Tim Elms and Dave, Pete & Jon Hall. Very windy and lots of water activity with windsurfers, sailors and fishermen - yep the chaps playing with there fly's are back. Majority of the gulls were distant for sometime but managed first and second winter Glaucous Gull, two adult and one first winter Med Gull. Little else seen apart from 7 Goosanders.