Tuesday, 31 March 2009

March 31st 2009

I was out mothing till late so didn’t get much sleep before I was back out to the pond early this morning hoping for better views of the Green-winged Teal but I failed to find it. Luckily it was re-located mid-morning and performed really well, giving the photographers plenty of opportunities in toft shallows.

Green-winged Teal by Dave Hutton

Green-winged Teal by Max Silverman

The arrival of the fishermen must have flushed off the Black-tailed Godwit that circled the reservoir just after 7am and the calm conditions meant that all 4 Great-northern Divers could be seen together between the inlet and outlet while the Red-necked Grebe eventually got fed up of being disturbed by the fishing boats off farborough spit becoming a distant speck in toft bay for awhile. Single House Martin was the only new migrant seen with Swallow increasing to 5, a few Sand Martins heading north and yesterdays male Wheatear showed well on farborough bank perimeter wall before too much disturbance made it more elusive.
A 90 minute search from the country park produced 11 Buzzards in the air at once, 3 Curlew flying down the Leam valley and a single Treecreeper. Also around reservoir were 8 male and 4 female Shoveler, 22 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 4 Goldeneye, 3 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker. Butterflies seen were 2 Brimstone and a Comma in the country park and moths found on the café was Draycote’s first Tawny Pinion high on the east wall and Dotted Border.
This afternoon I continued the migration theme at Napton on the Hill with 6 Chiffchaff, my first Willow Warbler of the year, 7 Swallow and a brief back-end view of a Black Redstart as it flew across the quarry and out of sight. Also Coal Tit, Mistle Thrush and 4 Buzzards seen plus 2 Brimstones and Peacock butterfly.
Many thanks to all those who been kind enough to share there photos - very much appreciated. I have added Bob Duckhouse excellent shots to yesterdays blog


Monday, 30 March 2009

March 30th 2009

Finally clawed back Green-winged Teal on the draycote listers when JJ rang early afternoon to say there was one reported at Draycote Water so after a world record dash and a stiff finger to health & safety and after 20 minutes of searching I found it in toft shallows, a male. Certainly elusive and joined by the two Bobs we eventually managed some photographs though in my case just a record shot. It spent two hours wandering around the submerged willow trees occasionally coming out in to open water for a few seconds before vanishing again amongst the willows. This is the second record for Draycote with the first on February 4th 1990 which I failed to see so many thanks to the unknown finder.

Green-winged Teal by Bob Duckhouse - excellent effort considering he had to poke his camera through the hedge and willows

Green-winged Teal just a poor record shot by me.


Sunday, 29 March 2009

March 29th 2009

The start of British Summer Time and me and the old one were out early enjoying the spring weather in minus 2 degrees!!! , but at least the wind had dropped for the first time this week so made for a pleasant mornings birding.
Twelve Fieldfare flew north over Southam Road and 2 Chiffchaff were in the country park when we arrived at Draycote Water. A walk out to farborough spit joined by the Hall brothers at the spit produced 3 Great-northern Divers all together out in the centre and easy to see in the mirror like conditions, Red-necked Grebe off the spit, 19 Sand Martin and a Swallow feeding near T buoy and 14 Goldeneye. Other sightings included Redshank heard calling, 10 Meadow Pipit and 2 Redwing flew over while the Hall brothers located another 3 Chiffchaff.
After breakfast a check of Lawford Heath produced 4 Buzzard, 150 Fieldfare and 50 Redwing but missed the Chiffchaff, Swallow and Blackcap seen by the Hall Brothers later in the day and at Brandon Marsh we managed 15 Sand Martin, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 8 Buzzard, 2 Shelduck, 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Redshank and 39 Snipe plus a few calling Cetties and Chiffchaffs. Two Swallow perched on wires as we left.
In the afternoon 2 Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk flew over my garden before going back down to the pond early evening to do the roost just in time to see an Osprey and surprisingly a first winter Glaucous Gull no doubt on its way back north.


Saturday, 28 March 2009

March 28th 2009

I was out by 5am in a bitterly cold north westerly wind that had been increasing all night and averaging 20mph so cycling was hard as I made my way in to the Grandborough valley via Woolscott passing a Little Owl perched on a telegraph pole and 2 Barn Owls drifting over which were not totally unexpected but I was surprised by the Badger that shuffled past just before the junction to Grandborough. Continued on to Nethercote where 7 Tree Sparrow 6 Yellowhammer and 3 Red-legged Partridge were just outside this hamlet then on to Bush Hill, Flecknoe where single Corn Bunting, 5 Fieldfare and 4 Tree Sparrow were dodging the attraction of a female Merlin. Nothing of note seen on my way to Draycote Water but arrived in time to see 2 Siskin feeding by toilet block in the country park before the crowds arrived. The wind had increased with occasional gusts of over 30pmh and made viewing difficult but managed 2 Great-northern Diver some distance out along with 3 female Goosander while the Red-necked Grebe was off toft bank. Toft shallows had Swallow, White Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, 4 Goldeneye, 25 Wigeon, male Pochard, 4 Teal and 7 Gadwall. Arrived home in time to find out I had missed an Osprey at Draycote.
I decided that the wind was not worth fighting again so afternoon spent gardening with very little seen going over. This evening the wind has dropped and swung to north east so should be a decent day for birding tomorrow.


Friday, 27 March 2009

March 27th 2009

The present weather system continues bringing cold strong south westerly’s winds, cloudy with sunshine making it very difficult to see anything without ending up watery eyed. Passed on a chance of a walk with Mark around Badby Woods due to last nights festivities with Dave and spent the morning hoping for something to fly over garden while doing me domestics. Zilch.

Red-necked Grebe by Steve Valentine riding the waves

Out with the Dave in the afternoon to the pond for our Friday coffee and cake session then a walk out to toft shallows with a White Wagtail in the sailing club car park, 50+ Meadow Pipits around the sailing club graveyard, a lone Swallow looking sorry for it self perched a foot above a Wood Pigeon in the boundary hedge below farborough bank, Redshank heard and the Red-necked Grebe in toft bay. A few Wigeon and Gadwall are still around but no sign of the divers. Steve Valentine had two this morning.
Now that is doesn’t get dark till nearly 7pm after Dave had dropped me off I decided to bike back to do the roost and had the juvenile Iceland Gull though the conditions were appalling with gusts of winds over 30mph and cold.


Thursday, 26 March 2009

March 26th 2009

Despite his ability to fall a sleep when ever I speak, Dave has managed to reach the ripe old age of 60 today. Happy Birthday buddy - have a great day. Of course your thinking he don,t look it but rest assured he's been borrowing that face since he was 10. Bless - love him to bits but hell he is ugly.

Did not go out yesterday and will report on my birding walk later.

Seven of us enjoyed the struggle to see anything in the strong westerly winds but sheltering in the hide enabled us to get cracking views of the Red-necked Grebe now sporting its rusty neck and a few duck that have survived the arrival of the fishermen. 6 Shoveler, 5 Goldeneye, 6 Gadwall, 40 Wigeon, 4 Teal and a few Tufted Duck. Unfortunately the wind was to strong to hear any migrants. There was at least one Great-northern Diver off farborough spit and the only other birds of note were a few Meadow Pipits and a Sparrowhawk. Next walk is April 30th - not sure of time but will give you plenty of notice.


Tuesday, 24 March 2009

March 24th 2009

Down the pond by 7:30am with Rock Pipit and male Wheatear on toft bank before they were kicked around and the elusive Red-necked Grebe in toft bay and 3 Great-northern Divers out in centre. Spent two hours in the country park watching the valley with female Merlin a few Stock Dove and 16 Sand Martin overhead along with my first Swallow of the year which is my second earliest arrival date I have recorded here. Also seen were 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Green Woodpecker, 50+ Meadow Pipit, 20 Wigeon, 6 Goldeneye and 3 Buzzard.
The café had a Hebrew Character and Twin-spotted Quaker moth.
FISHING SEASON Starts tomorrow.
On a more positive note I’m leading another birding walk on Thursday afternoon starting at 2pm – its free – just hope the wind dies down.
Two Red Kites reported near Lawford Heath heading towards pond and the Hen Harrier was seen from the Basealy small holding along the flecknoe road this afternoon.


Monday, 23 March 2009

March 23rd 2009

The conditions this afternoon were extreme to say the least with strong north westerly’s gusting to nearly 40mph with rain showers which were probably responsible for bringing in the adult Kittiwake and first summer Med Gull. At least 30 Sand Martin, female Wheatear and 3 Great-northern Divers but still no sign of Red-necked Grebe. Late Redwing and Lesser Redpoll in toft bay and 3 Chiffchaff seen. One medium sized unidentified wader flew over.


Sunday, 22 March 2009

March 22nd 2009

Out by 5:30am with Dave looking for owls in valley but failed miserably so moved on to Napton Reservoir where we had 3 Fieldfare, 6 Reed Bunting, 200 Common Gull, Chiffchaff, Cetties Warbler and 4 Gadwall. Draycote Water was cold and blustery with Redshank and Wheatear present on toft bank at 7am and flushed off by runners by 7:15am, Shelduck out in centre along with 3 Great-northern Diver, 7 Sand Martin toft bay but couldn't find the Red-necked Grebe and duck munmbers were very low with only 2 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall 7 Teal and 6 Goleneye so once the fishermen arrive later this week then that be it for this year. Chiffchaff in country park.
A female Marsh Harrier was flying south over the A45 near the Princethorpe flyover and after breakfast we had 200 Fieldfare, male Wheatear and 8 Buzzard on Lawford Heath before moving on to Brandon Marsh where there were 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, 15 Sand Martin, Shelduck, Cetties Warbler, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, 3 Water Rail calling and 3 Buzzard.
Next stop was the pool at the Great Central Walk nature reserve, Newton and treated to fantastic views of the Kumlien’s Gull. Also in area Peregrine and 4 Buzzard but no sign of the Rough-legged Buzzard that had been seen at nearby Shawell.


Saturday, 21 March 2009

March 21st 2009

Out before the milkman, checking on my moth trap at the pond in time to see the second winter Kumlien’s Gull leave the roost at 5:40am and Avocet circling reservoir 20 minutes later. The trap despite temperatures dropping down to 3 degrees overnight had 65 moths of 8 species mainly Common and Small Quakers but also included Pale Pinion, Early Grey and Oak Beauty, March Moth, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab.
Three Great-northern Divers were together preening off draycote bank where my first White Wagtail of the year was along side a male Wheatear and a Treecreeper near the valve tower. Chiffchaff were more common with at least six (Steve Valentine had 10 yesterday), 3 Lesser Redpoll and Red-necked Grebe in toft bay and Sparrowhawk in country park. Also present were 3 Shoveler, Oystercatcher, Curlew, 14 Gadwall, 60 Wigeon, 10 Teal and 7 Goldeneye.
Left before the lica brigade flushed it all.
Home and 4 Sparrowhawk and 3 Buzzard over garden and moth trap dominated by 5 Hebrew Character and 6 Clouded Drabs, Brimstone and Peacock seen while mowing the lawn.


Friday, 20 March 2009

March 20th 2009

Not to be out done by yesterdays disturbance I was down the pond before 6am and left by 8am, enough time to do the place justice with 2 Redshank and Oystercatcher in toft bay, Lesser Redpoll in grays barn, Red-necked Grebe off farborough bank and 3 Great-northern Diver together out in the centre. Other birds seen were 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Sand Martin, 3 female Goosander, 60 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 12 Goldeneye, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Mistle Thrush, 4 Reed Bunting, 20 Meadow Pipit and Sparrowhawk. Two other Chiffchaff’s heard on the way home.
Went back out with Dave in the afternoon for our Friday coffee and cake session and a walk to farborough spit amongst the hoards and not surprisingly it was a waste of time with only one Great-northern Diver seen.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

March 19th 2009

I woke to thick fog this morning so kept an eye on the Draycote Water Sailing Club web site weather station waiting to see when it would be worth venturing out and this gave me a chance to check on my moth trap and update my records. Caught 19 species so far this year and last nights effort included Twin-spot Quaker, 3 Common Quaker, Small Quaker, 2 Hebrew Character and 2 Clouded Drab despite the mild temperatures dropping rapidly with a clear night.
The bike ride to Draycote along the Rugby Road, Dunchurch produced singing Chiffchaff, Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch while the old A45 stretch had 2 Coal Tit, 4 Mistle Thrush and another Chiffchaff.
Draycote Water was a struggle as the mist and fog had not stopped the walkers, runners, pram pushers and other health freaks coming out so there was a high amount of disturbance and not helped by the haze and a cool east north east wind. A Rock Pipit flew over toft bank, Red-necked Grebe off farborough bank plus distant Great-northern Diver and Oystercatcher preening in toft bay. Also counted were 14 Gadwall, 10 Goldeneye, 3 Shoveler, 9 Teal, 71 Wigeon with a watch over the valley from the country park producing 5 Buzzard and a Siskin. A chat with Kevin put me on to a Lesser Redpoll and as I was leaving a Chiffchaff was singing in toft shallows.
In the more warmer sheltered areas butterflies today were Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone and Comma in the country park, Brimstone toft bank and Brimstone on the way home near Lion Farm, Rugby Rd Dunchurch.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

March 18th 2009

The morning was spent gardening while the day warmed up accompanied by the odd sighting of Sparrowhawk and the Draycote Water hybrid falcon brought his girlfriend over for a thermal session – god help us with the identification if they get it on.
Down the valley in the afternoon spending three hours staking out a suitable raptor field while keeping an eye out for any flyovers and after 90 minutes the female Hen Harrier appeared for 10 minutes quartering field before drifting east. Also seen were 3 Sparrowhawk, 9 Buzzards, Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker, male Stonechat and 2 Chiffchaff calling.
The roost at Draycote Water had the Shawell second winter Kumlien's Gull arriving very late, first winter Iceland Gull and first summer and adult Yellow-legged Gull. Also seen were 2 Great-northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe, 2 Oystercatcher, Siskin, Great-spotted Woodpecker and 23 Redwing. Woodcock flew over M45.


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

March 17th 2009

Out before first light for another visit to Newton and did not have to wait to long for the Kumlien’s Gull to arrive at the pool near the Great Central Walk nature reserve accompanied by a first winter Iceland Gull and adult winter Med Gull. Identified as a second winter the undertail covets still retain some first winter feathers and took the opportunity to view the bird from some distance in case I had been misidentifying this bird for the second winter Iceland Gull that’s been at the pond recently, Definitely different birds and the second winter Iceland was seen again in the roost last night and the Kumlien’s Gull was in the roost on Saturday night thou the news has only just got out. Also in area were male Wheatear, 23 Redwing, 40 Fieldfare, Shelduck, 60+ Wigeon and 2 Gadwall.
As I suspected after yesterday the day was going to be good for bird of prey.
Arrived at Draycote Water mid morning and met Bob Hazell on toft bank and while we were watching two Buzzard soaring over toft bay we found a Peregrine circling and calling which was joined by the Saker/Gyr x Peregrine hybrid over toft bay before they drifted off north together. Bob had already seen the female Merlin so it wasn’t surprising it reappeared over the country park but what was stunning was yesterday’s female Marsh Harrier flying down the River Leam in to the grandborough valley followed by views of female Hen Harrier seen from the country park quartering fields along Southam Road even visiting the sewage farm before returning to perch in a tall hedgerow. I have not seen this bird for over a week and thought it had left the area.
The final bird of prey total for the visit was 11 Buzzard, female Merlin, female Peregrine, male Saker/Gyr x Peregrine hybrid, female Marsh Harrier, female Hen Harrier, 3 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk and to top it all Bob Duckhouse had a Red Kite go over pond this afternoon and that also went down grandborough valley.

Red-necked Grebe - further away the more you can appreciate the plumage changes.
Also present were the Red-necked Grebe in toft bay, 3 Great-northern Divers off draycote bank, summer plumage Med Gull off the windsurfing area, 3 Sand Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 male and one female Shoveler, 70 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 6 Goldeneye, 8 female and 2 male Goosander, 6 Gadwall, 2 Siskin and 200 + Common Gull but the day is never over till the fat lady chokes! I was near the hide in toft bay when a small bird flew over from Thurlaston village to land in the trees near the perimeter gate – male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker which explored the area for five minutes then flew back towards grays barn, magic – my first record since January 2006.
Also of interest were Brimstone butterfly in the country park and moths were represented by 2 Twin-spot Quaker, Hebrew Character and Chestnut on the walls of the café.

Hebrew Character and Twin-spot Quaker


Monday, 16 March 2009

March 16th 2009

I was at Draycote Water by 6am, clear skies, no wind and a little chilly with 2 male Wheatear and Grey Wagtail on farborough bank, 3 male Shoveler accompanied by a female Pintail out in centre. At least 3 Great-northern Diver and 8 female and 2 male Goosander near the valve and the Red-necked Grebe in toft bay along with 4 Sand Martin. Other birds of note were 2 Chiffchaff, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 8 Linnets, 4 Reed Bunting, 6 Skylark, 4 Mistle Thrush, 2 Siskin, 18 Stock Dove, 2 Snipe and Treecreeper.
Back home it warmed up a treat with 4 Sparrowhawk displaying over garden plus 3 Buzzard drifting south then a Red Kite over 1:30pm heading east and my first butterflies of the year with Peacock and Brimstone.
The kite put gardening duties on the back burner and spent the afternoon watching the skies over the valley from toft hill :- Marsh Harrier female drifted over west 4pm and watched going over pond, 9 Buzzard, Raven, 4 Sparrowhawk, 11 Redwing, Shelduck leaving pond heading east and a very high Peregrine.


Sunday, 15 March 2009

March 15th 2009

Dave fancied an early start for owls but we only succeeded in hearing Tawny Owl down the Southam Road then a search of the valley produced 2 Raven, Buzzard and 11 Fieldfare at Grandborough Fields Farm, 2 Red-legged Partridge and 2 Buzzard at Sawbridge and Nethercote gave us another Red-legged Partridge, 2 Buzzard and 8 Tree Sparrow.
Draycote Water had male Wheatear on toft bank, Red-necked Grebe and Grey Wagtail off farborough bank, Oystercatcher by the valve tower and 3 Great-northern Divers out in centre.
After breakfast Lawford Heath had 8 Buzzard and a Yellow-legged Gull adult then on to Brandon Marsh where we failed again to see the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker but saw 4 Shelduck, 3 Oystercatcher, 31 Snipe and 4 Cetties Warblers calling before phone calls from John Judge and Dave Hall had us legging it to the Great Central Walk nature reserve at Newton for the nearby Shawell Kumlien’s Gull which was found on the Warwickshire side by the Hall brothers but in the short time we had it was probably out of view in a dip near the pool so failed to see it. 100+ Wigeon, 2 Shelduck and 4 Buzzard.
Dave had visitors so after dropping me off at home I went back down the valley for a raptor watching session from Bush Hill, Flecknoe and in 2 hours managed 9 Buzzard, 4 Sparrowhawk, and female Merlin plus 23 Wigeon north, 300 Common Gull north, 40 Redwing, 100 Fieldfare, 20 Skylark and Sand Martin north. Cycling back decided to do marsland and found male Brambling, Tree Sparrow, 22 Yellowhammer and a dark female Merlin perched and a male Wheatear along Hill rd.


Saturday, 14 March 2009

March 14th 2009

I thought the Barn Owl at 5:50am hunting the area around the scrape below farborough bank, Draycote Water was impressive but the report of 5 Avocet circling the reservoir at 6:15am by a runner stunning but alas I was in the wrong place and didn't get a sniff of them. Three Great-northern Divers were out in centre heading towards draycote bank with one making a short flight and another calling while the forth was in rainbow corner along with 2 Sand Martin and Draycotes first Wheatear of the year. Also seen were Buzzard, Tree Sparrow and Grey Wagtail from draycote bank, 4 male and 2 female Goosander off inlet, Lesser Redpoll and Mistle Thrush in biggen bay and Red-necked Grebe, 6 Gadwall and 9 Goldeneye in toft bay.


Friday, 13 March 2009

March 13th 2009

There were at least 40+ Meadow Pipits this afternoon at Draycote Water including two grey individuals otherwise very quiet with Red-necked Grebe still in toft bay and one Great-northern Diver off draycote bank thou four were reported this morning and we missed the Merlin and Sand Martin seen by others. Quick trip around the valley produced 3 Buzzard, 10 Yellowhammer, 200 Fieldfare and 100 Redwing.
Another good trapping session at home with

Oak Beauty


Thursday, 12 March 2009

March 12th 2009

Mid-morning visit to see the 2nd winter Kumlien’s Gull on the Shawell Tip just over the border in Leicestershire mainly to check its identity against the second winter Iceland Gull that’s been in the roost at Draycote Water for the last few weeks in case I have been misidentifying it.
Planned to return home but as I had to pass the canal at Newbold on Avon decided to use the tow path to Cathiron managing Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker and 3 Jay while at Cathiron there were 2 Marsh, 2 Willow, 4 Coal and 5 Long-tailed Tits on the feeders as well as Jay, 3 Nuthatch and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker but the surprise of the day was the male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker further up the lane towards Brinklow before it flew to All Oaks Wood.
On a roll so next stop was Brandon Marsh with Bittern showing well from carlton hide coming within yards of the hide and guess who couldn’t be bothered to carry his camera. Also seen were Chiffchaff, 2 Sand Martin, Oystercatcher, 2 Shelduck, Ringed Plover, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and 4 Siskin.
At least 4 Buzzard and 2 Sparrowhawk between Wolston and Lawford Heath along with 12 Yellowhammer and 20 Fieldfare and Lawford Heath had 2 Golden Plover, Curlew heading east and male Shelduck circling. Draycote Water mid-afternoon had the Red-necked Grebe, at least 2 Great-northern Diver, 2 Sand Martin, 10 Gadwall, 2 Buzzard and 7 Goosander but missed the female Stonechat found by Kevin Grewcock. Couldn’t find any second winters in the roost just one first winter Iceland Gull and partial summer plumage Med Gull.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

March 11th 2009

A dawn visit to Draycote Water to check over the post roost just in time to watch 4 Redshank circle the reservoir looking for somewhere to land but due the present high water level policy they gave up and flew off east down the valley. The first winter Iceland Gull from last night was still present along with a adult winter Med Gull at 6:30am. The Red-necked Grebe was off farnborough bank and due to the flat calm conditions the 3 Great-northern Diver were off draycote bank and showing well but no sign of Rock Pipit or Sand Martin. Duck numbers were Gadwall 14, Goosander 5, Goldeneye 12, Teal 15 and Wigeon 45 while also seen were Great-spotted woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher and 6 Long-tailed Tit. A Little Owl was found roosting in the country park plus Chiffchaff calling there.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

March 10th 2009

Overnight night rain with a blustery westerly wind continued this morning putting off any chance of working the valley looking for owls so did not go out till mid-morning and went straight to the pond. Probably a good idea as there were few people about on arrival and the almost annual early spring Rock Pipit migration continued with one on draycote bank near the valve tower and Sand Martin were present with one off hensborough and one also in toft bay (Glen Giles). Red-necked Grebe was off farborough spit before moving to grays barn and one Great-northern Diver still out in centre. Other sightings included 14 Goldeneye, 21 Gadwall, 25 Wigeon, 20 Teal and 2 male Shoveler, Grey Wagtail, single Redwing and 20 Meadow Pipit. Chatted with Glen Giles before checking the valley hoping for the harrier but no luck and very few winter thrushes either so the clear out has begun. Returning to Draycote Water late afternoon for the roost there was evidence of more migration with 3 Curlew and a Ringed Plover heading north while the gull roost benefited from the wind dropping. First and second winter Iceland Gull, adult Med Gull in almost summer plumage and first summer Caspian Gull found.


Monday, 9 March 2009

March 9th 2009

Another rest day but luckily Mark popped round for coffee and cake – well he brought the cake and I had to share. A least it broke the day up and I’m definitely out tomorrow. Goldecrest and Wren in garden and Cormorant flew over.


Sunday, 8 March 2009

March 8th 2009

I dosed up with pain killers and managed to get out today before I went mad – and many thanks for all the messages of concern, admittedly most were for Trog but they were appreciated. She's Ok and raring to go once I can get me leg over the crossbar.
We went looking for the Stonechat and Barn Owl opposite Draycote Water but had no luck, just a few Fieldfare then we tried for the Black Redstart that’s been reported in the Flecknoe area and again another failure tho the 110 Golden Plover huddled together close to the Flecknoe Station Road were worth looking at.
The same area had many Fieldfare and Redwing and more were seen at Grandborough Fields Farm showing thay are are gathering together for the push north soon and we were sharp enough to spot a first winter Iceland Gull in flight as it flew over among a group of mixed gulls heading east.
Draycote Water was windy and only managed one Great-northern Diver circling the reservoir and 3 Goosander but no sign of Red-necked Grebe or Smew from farborough bank or toft bay before the arrival of the sponsored chaos brigade hurried a quick departure as they destroyed any hope of tranquility. How can running/walking be so bloody noisy.
Lawford Heath had 30 Fieldfare and by the time we arrived at Brandon Marsh the painkillers were waring off and I was feeling yuk. Met up with Mark Phillips and his family in the east marsh hide who kindly offered there seat but I needed more space to get me leg over and the hide was full of visiting birders so moved on to carlton hide where a Green Sandpiper flew in. Only other birds seen were 2 Shelduck, 12 Snipe, Nuthatch and 4 Buzzard before I called it a day.
Well I have stiffened up badley but at least mentaly I can cope with day time tv for another 24hrs.


Friday, 6 March 2009

March 5th 2009

Draycote Water was quiet with Red-necked Grebe off toft bank and 3 Great-northern Diver off draycote bank otherwise the only other bird of interest was the hybrid falcon beating up the local pigeons. The valley was a lot more interesting in the afternoon with the female Hen Harrier showing well along the Hill Rd near Grandborough and at one stage even perched for a while before continuing quartering various fields and at least 2 Raven and 4 Buzzard were along the Flecknoe Rd with another Raven at Broadwell. Napton Reservoir had 2 Waxwing by the paddock a location first for me but the reservoir itself was very quiet apart from Grey Wagtail and 4 Meadow Pipits. Cycling back there were Barn Owl, Buzzard and Stonechat at Calcutt then unfortunately my day ended tits up when some old biddy clipped me from behind and I ended up doing a double summersault with pike over the handlebars – bloody nose, double vision, headache and a new wheel required.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

March 4th 2009

Yesterday’s storm petered out overnight becoming brighter and calmer so took the opportunity to look for owls near Sawbridge and rewarded with 2 Barn Owls still out hunting in day light and a Little Owl near Wolfhamcote. A walk along the nearby Grand Union Canal produced Kingfisher and Siskin but no sign of yesterdays Crossbill seen by barging folk. The feeders at Railway Cottages, Flecknoe had Tree Sparrow and Coal Tit while Grandborough Fields Farm had 100 Fieldfare, 50 Redwing, 4 Buzzard, 2 Golden Plover and Snipe. Rest of morning checking the set a side field and though not as productive it still had 2 Brambling and 2 Tree Sparrow while Reed Buntings were a lot more noticeable in the area.
Draycote Water was busy with walkers and birders enjoying the afternoon sunshine though the temperatures were low so I’m not sure what the Sand Martin is surviving on as it passed the sailing club. The roost was the best of the year in quality and viewing conditions with first winter Glaucous and Iceland Gull, adult and first winter Yellow-legged Gull, adult and first summer Med Gull and adult Kittiwake while a Woodcock flew over valve tower towards Bourton Hall. Also seen were the 10 Goosander, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Great-northern Diver, Grey Wagtail Treecreeper, male Blackcap and Redshank.


Tuesday, 3 March 2009

March 3rd 2009

The Barn Owl and Stonechat were in the field next to the Kites Hardwick Golf Range and across the road in the back garden of the house adjacent to the entrance of Draycote Water a male Brambling in almost summer plumage was showing well along with Willow and Coal Tit. Country Park had 52 Redwing and 40 Fieldfare but the main reservoir was pretty quiet in the strong blustery south winds. Most of yesterdays duck had moved on with the Red-necked Grebe off farborough bank, male Smew had moved to draycote bank and 3 Great-northern Divers out in centre thou difficult to see in the conditions. Gave up on any chance of doing roost when gusts reached well over 30mph with heavy rain mid-afternoon.

Satellite in my trap last night.


Monday, 2 March 2009

March 2nd 2009

The roost at Draycote Water this evening had my earliest arrival of Sand Martin by 10 days hunting low over the water off draycote bank and in the roost itself their were first winter Glaucous Gull, first and second winter Iceland Gull, adult and possible first winter Yellow-legged Gull and 2 adult winter Med Gulls. All four Great-northern Divers were together late afternoon off dunns bay with one calling regularly, Red-necked Grebe off farborough bank and the male Smew in toft bay. Most duck species numbers have declined since the cold spell so two male Shoveler, 24 Gadwall, 24 Goldeneye, 14 Goosander and 156 Wigeon were good counts for this time of the year. Other species seen included 12 Siskin, Grey Wagtail, 23 Meadow Pipit, 2 Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, 5 Buzzard, 5 Redwing 40 Fieldfare and Coal Tit.


Sunday, 1 March 2009

March 1st 2009

Out early with Dave but failed to find any Barn Owls in the unexpected misty conditions and we continued to struggle with visibility at Draycote Water eventually finding one of the Great-northern Divers in the distance but at least the Red-necked Grebe and male Smew were a little easier. Dipped on the female Merlin seen by Kevin.
On our way for breakfast we managed to fluke the female Hen Harrier before it drifted south – apparently seen at draycote later in the day according to birdguides.
Lawford Heath was very quiet but the Bittern missed by seconds from the carlton hide at Brandon Marsh reappeared a few minutes later giving brief but good views along with a pair of Kingfisher perched nearby. The east marsh hide had 2 Goldeneye, 4 Shelduck, 2 Oystercatcher, 14 Snipe while later on we came across 6 Siskin, Coal Tit, Peregrine plus calling Cetties Warbler and Water Rail.
If your in to green objects from outer space the clearer skies tonight could be good for finding Comet Lulin.