Monday, 30 November 2009

November 30th 2009

I had a look around Long Lawford this afternoon for the returning Little Egret but no luck and on the way home via Lawford Heath managed Peregrine and 3 Corn Buntings.


Sunday, 29 November 2009

November 29th 2009

At long last a decent days birding.
The weather forecast was dire but Dave and I took a risk searching for owls down the Southam Rd at first light finding 2 Barn Owls hunting and hearing three Tawny Owls before a deluge had us running for the car and down the road to Calcutt. We had just passed Broadwell village when a Woodcock flew in front of car and by the time we arrived at Calcutt the rain had stopped and we had our third Barn Owl of the morning hunting the plantation.
We then moved on to Napton Reservoir where despite the high water level, more habitat destruction by Severn Trent and some effort to reduce the size of the reed bed we still managed Green Sandpiper, 2 Water Rail, 2 Cetties Warbler, male Goldeneye, 5 Pochard, 5 Gadwall and 9 Snipe.
Next stop was to check out Friday’s report of Great White Egret at Wormleighton Reservoir and on arrival we thought it had gone when it suddenly flew from its hiding place across the reservoir to land briefly on the shoreline before returning to perch in the tall trees at the back. Stunning views before a Buzzard moved it on. Local fishermen reckon its using the reservoir as a roosting spot. Also present were female Goosander, Green Sandpiper, 10 Tree Sparrow, 10 Bullfinch, 2 Raven, 3 Buzzard and a Marsh Tit.
After breakfast we looked at Brandon Marsh where there were 4 Siskin and Lesser Redpoll by the visitors centre, 14 Snipe and a pair of Goldeneye on east marsh while the feeding station had Willow Tit and Nuthatch. Locals now think there are 3 Bitterns on site with 2 on newlands and one on west marsh seen at the same time this morning.
Our final destination of Lawford Heath produced 2 Corn Bunting and a Buzzard
There were very large numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing at most of our destinations today especially in the Napton and Wormleighton areas.
Dave managed a Winter Moth and Light Brown Apple Moth in his garden trap while I trapped zilch.


November 28th 2009

A dull cold roost this afternoon produced 3 adult and a third winter Yellow-legged Gull and a first winter Med Gull at Draycote Water. The Great-northern Diver and Green-winged Teal are still present there along with 15 Gadwall, 6 Goosander, 5 Green Woodpecker, 2 Jay, 4 Siskin and Kingfisher.


November 27th 2009

Chris Godding who found the Great White Egret yesterday rang to say it was still present on the old arm at the Swift Valley Nature Reserve early morning so Dave and I went looking for it in the afternoon and despite working the valley all the way to Churchover we had no luck. One has turned up at Pitsford Res, Northamptonshire so could be that bird and last weeks Great White at Wormleighton Reservoir has been reported as still present. Despite the drop in temperature I managed a Feathered Thorn in the moth trap.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

November 26th 2009

It was another windy night with occasional rain showers becoming clear, dry and blustery by dawn. Bob picked me up just after 8am and while he did his circuit I checked out the reservoir from the shelter of rainbow corner. With some sensational sea birds being reported in the country John, Bob and I live in hope for a petrel or skua but alas it wasn’t today but there were two new arrivals with a Shelduck by the outlet and 2 Redshank in rainbow corner. The elusive Great-northern Diver was distant off biggen before appearing briefly close in shore off hensborough bank before disappearing again and a Peregrine was very high over biggen looking for its next meal.
By the time I had my coffee and butty 14 enthusiastic souls joined me for a walk to toft bay with the windy picking up and becoming a wee bit chilly. There were opportunities to look at a group of Gadwall and some male Goldeneye before I gave them the challenge to find the immature Ruddy Duck amongst a group of Tufted Duck but the highlight was a Buzzard that circled over our heads giving excellent views. We arrived in toft bay and the group soon became acquainted with the male Green-winged Teal as it dabbled in the shore line foam doing its best to hide amongst the 60+ Teal present along with more Gadwall and a few Wigeon.

One of my souls had seen a Great White Egret earlier in morning at the Swift Valley Country Park Rugby and managed a record shot with his camera phone and could have been the Brandon Marsh bird.

I have to thank JJ for putting me on to this snippet of info which has appeared in my local paper the Rugby Advertiser in its fishing round up page which quotes the following comment from the long serving Draycote Water fishery manager Keith Causer and his wife Margaret that "The Fishery is closing in 2010 to facilitate alterations to the Visitor Centre and car parking and that Severn Trent Water will be making public their plans for the scheme shortly” Hopefully they will come clean in what’s going on but every time we ask they say zilch.


Tuesday, 24 November 2009

November 24th 2009

It was to windy for my little legs yesterday which was probably a big mistake with Kittiwakes, Leaches Petrels and Gannets recorded in the severn estuary and a Grey Phalarope found in the north of the county so I wasted no time in getting to the pond for first light this morning.
The Green-winged Teal was in its regular place in toft bay just right of the hide but still too distant for a decent photo and adult Kittiwake was off farborough spit with a group of Black-headed Gulls where I was lucky enough to have a first winter Caspian Gull fly past close. Continued to rainbow corner and spent the next two hours in cool gloomy blustery conditions hoping something would fly in but apart from a brief view of the Great-northern Diver I was not having much luck. Only other birds noted were 14 Gadwall, 7f & 2m Goosander, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Raven, 4 Lesser Redpoll and 20 Meadow Pipit. Met up with Bob in the visitors centre for coffee and he had not fared much better than me so back to my place to photograph a December Moth that Dave caught over the weekend. Bob found a well hidden Winter Moth on the visitors centre wall earlier.

Winter Moth Draycote Water

December Moth Bilton Rugby
I have a guided walk this Thursday at 11am and we will go looking for the Green-winged Teal in toft bay and have arranged with Severn Trent some more walks in the new year and a couple of extra walks that fall on a Saturday over the winter period. The dates and times are:-
Saturday 12th December 2009 10:30am
Tuesday 29th December 2009 11am
Saturday 9th January 2010 10:30am
Thursday 28th January 2010 11am
Thursday 25th February 2010 11am
Thursday 1st April 2010 11am


Monday, 23 November 2009

November 22nd 2009

Out with Dave this morning down the Grandborough Valley looking for owls managing Little Owls at Woolscott and Millholme Bridge while after dawn we saw 3 Buzzard and very good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing with 500 of each.
Draycote Water had the Great-northern Diver and Green-winged Teal but little else apart from 3 Goosander, 13 Gadwall and Grey Wagtail while Brandon Marsh produced 6 Snipe, 80 Shoveler, Kingfisher, 2 Sparrowhawk, Coal Tit, Willow Tit and near the visitors centre a group of finches included at least 30+ Siskin and 10 Lesser Redpoll with a possible Mealy Redpoll but the light was very poor. We ended the morning on Lawford Heath with 4 Tree Sparrow around the buildings of Rookery Hall Farm.


Saturday, 21 November 2009

November 21st 2009

Light winds and clear spells last night gave me a belated opportunity to look for the meteors from the Leonid shower which was best on the 17th but still a few showing if you are patient enough and can stay awake.
Out this morning with John and Alfie for a walk to farborough spit, Draycote Water in gloomy and breezy conditions with the Great-northern Diver off farborough spit but mobile covering large distances between dives. No obvious new arrivals and only birds of note were Yellow-legged Gull, 250 + Lesser Black-back Gulls, Buzzard, 3 Goosander, Ruddy Duck, 100 Redwing, 10 Meadow Pipit and Grey Wagtail.


Friday, 20 November 2009

November 20th 2009

Dave and I met up with Colin at Brandon Marsh this afternoon and greeted with the news that a Great White Egret was seen flying over the reserve this morning. We managed a few Siskin, single Lesser Redpoll and Sparrowhawk on our way to the East Marsh Hide where we had 12 Snipe, close views of a Water Rail and 2 Goldeneye.
After 40 minutes we were treated to a brief but distant flight view of the Great White Egret as it flew a short distance over Newlands. We moved on to the Olive Bench hoping it might appear again giving closer views but alas it was not to be.
Only other bird of note was a Peregrine over Lawford Heath as we traveled to Brandon and later on JJ had 4 Corn Bunting here after recording the GND and GWT at the pond.
Remember my Bay of Biscay trip back in August well Colin has just sent me pics of the Minkie Whale and Curvier's Beaked Whale we saw so just had to share with you.

Curvier's Beaked Whale

Minkie Whale
both by Colin Potter


Thursday, 19 November 2009

November 19th 2009

Strong winds continue battering the pond but it’s not bringing anything in yet so apart from a brief flight view of the Great-northern Diver, 8 female and 3 male Goosander, distant view of Peregrine and Buzzard over biggen bay and 39 Pochard in rainbow today was hard work and disappointing considering other localities in the county attracted Great White Egret and 2 Great-northern Divers. Bob Hazell had the Green-winged Teal in toft.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

November 18th 2009

Another day where the gale force winds were far too strong for me so I had intended to stay in but with sea birds starting to appear in the Severn Estuary I was not surprised at the news of a juv Pomarine Skua at the pond this morning. Unfortunately I got the news early afternoon and despite searching with John and Bob there was no sign of it. Only birds of note seen by me were 5 Goosander and 3 Shoveler while John managed Great-northern Diver and Yellow-legged Gull and the Green-winged Teal had been reported as still present by other observers.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

November 17th 2007

Me and the bike scrounged a lift to Napton Reservoir early this morning before using the rest of my energy reserves getting to Draycote Water where luckily Bob helped me out and gave me a lift home. Napton had a Little Owl perched on the roof of the stables and a Barn Owl nearby while the reservoir was pretty quiet with only Cetties Warbler and Water Rail noted.
At Draycote Water the male Green-winged Teal was showing in front of the hide in toft bay, Woodcock flushed by the footbridge in toft shallows, Rock Pipit frightened off by the remote controlled grass cutters chugging up and down the bank and flew towards toft bay while the choppy waters made seeing the Great-northern Diver very difficult though it seemed to be favouring the rainbow area today. Other sightings included 2 Raven, 2 Peregrine, 3 Sparrowhawk and 6 Goosander while I missed a Merlin reported by other observers. Both Sprawler and December Moth were on the walls of the visitors centre and at home I trapped Winter Moth and Mottled Umber.


December Moth

Mottled Umber

Winter Moth
all photos by Bob Hazell


Sunday, 15 November 2009

November 14th 2008

Last nights conditions were awful but still managed to trap a Mottled Umber.
I had no stamina for fighting the gale force winds (gusts of over 40mph recorded locally today) with me bike this morning so I was grateful to JJ for a lift to the pond with Alfie. The strong winds made viewing difficult and we struggled to locate the male Green-winged Teal in toft bay and apart from 400 Lapwing and 2m & 1f Goosander there was little else on offer.
We attempted a look at Daventry Country Park, Northamptonshire for a possible Baltic Gull but the heavy rain never let up so we called it a day.


Friday, 13 November 2009

November 13th 2009

I needed yesterday to recuperate from the Brown Shrike trip so was looking forward to this mornings birding and a little disappointed to find it raining heavily when I woke. Luckily it stopped just after dawn allowing me and Dave a chance to look for owls and visit the pond.
A Long-eared Owl flew over the set-a-side field down the Southam rd and a Little Owl was perched on the roof of a barn along the same road the other side of Kites Hardwick. A quick look at the valley only produced 200 Fieldfare at Nethercote.
A walk out to toft bay, Draycote Water was quiet but we eventually located the male Green-winged Teal found by Bob Hazell yesterday feeding on the shoreline before meeting up with Colin Potter on farborough spit.

Green-winged Teal by Bob Hazell
Only other birds worth noting were a Dunlin, 6 Golden Plover, 4m & 2f Goosander and a Great-northern Diver before we decided to call it quits and head for breakfast at Long Itchington. A search for moths around the visitors centre produced Sprawler which bob Duckhouse kindly photographed for me, 2 Feathered Thorn and December Moth.

Sprawler by Bob Duckhouse
After breakfast we visited Brandon Marsh but apart from 6 Snipe it was very quiet and our visit was not helped by heavy rain.
Late afternoon thousands of gulls flew over my garden heading for the roost at Draycote Water including a first winter Glaucous Gull easily spotted by its biscuit colour against a leaden sky.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

November 11th 2009

Dave had the day off and wanted to see the long staying Brown Shrike at Staines Moor, Surrey so I wrapped up warm and kept him company. Another day of low cloud and mist cleared as we neared Heathrow Airport and we were treated to excellent views as the bird hunted for food. At one stage the bird flew towards us and landed on the small reed bed in the river near the concrete bridge giving views down to 20 feet with a Kingfisher in the background. Also seen were 9 Ring-necked Parakeet, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Green Woodpecker, Cetties Warbler, Stonechat and 12 Long-tailed Tits. On the way down we only spotted 2 Red Kite as we neared junc 6 of the M40 because of the weather but on the way back we managed 31 between junc 2 & 6 including 9 perched in a single tree. Another highlight was stopping at Beaconsfield services where there were 2 Green-brindled Crescent, Feathered Thorn, Angle Shades and Satellite moths on the side of the building.
By the time we arrived back in the midlands the mist had hardly lifted in this area and it was a lot colder so we called in at the pond and chatted to Bob & Francoise over coffee before ambling out to rainbow corner. Two of the four Redshank bob found earlier were still present, the Great-northern Diver was near the valve tower before moving to biggen bay and the adult Yellow-legged gull was off the inlet. Highlight of the visit was the Snow bunting which came in over our heads calling and heading towards the sailing club before turning back appearing to go down behind hensborough bank.
Back home and I have finally caught a moth after 5 blank days – a micro which I’m still trying to identify while Dave managed a Winter Moth and Feathered Thorn.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I was climbing the walls wanting some fresh air and though it was a dull grey overcast morning with light rain a text to Bob soon had me at the pond and we pottered to the valve tower and back. I was shattered but a happy bunny and even if it was not the best of day’s bird wise because of the weather there was still plenty to see.
No sign of the Lesser Scaup which has not been seen for a few days but the Tufted Duck were back in numbers and well spread out so hopefully its still around. Great-northern Diver was feeding near P buoy out in the centre with a pair of Common Scoters and Goosander nearby. Eight Shelduck circled the reservoir and landing briefly before heading off east.
Other birds seen were 2 Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, 100 Redwing, 30 Fieldfare, 25+ Pheasant, 15 Goldeneye, 3 Green Woodpecker and adult Yellow-legged Gull.


November 9th 2009

I am still trying to fight off the last remnants of my illness so I continue to bore you with the past.

November 12th
1978: Ferruginous Duck
1980: m Merlin
1988: 2m Scaup, Brambling, 2 Bewick’s Swan
1995; 2m&1f Red-crested Pochard, f Scaup, Peregrine, Water Rail, Turnstone

November 13th
1982: Artic Skua, f Red-breasted Merganser, Ruff
1983: Velvet Scoter, m Red-breasted Merganser
1985: Pomarine Skua
1988: Woodcock
1991: Great-northern Diver, 3 Bewick’s Swan, 3 Brambling, Long-tailed Duck
1993: 3 Eider, m Red-crested Pochard, 4 Common Scoter
1994: m Red-crested Pochard
1996: Little Stint, Bewick’s Swan, Black-tailed Godwit
1998: Iceland Gull, 2 Great-northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe


Sunday, 8 November 2009

November 8th 2009

Back in history and I have skipped 8th & 9th as they were pretty dire.

November 10th
1982: f Common Scoter
1983: Long-billed Dowitcher, Brent Goose
1984: Grey Partridge 24
1985: Short-eared Owl, Great-northern Diver,3 Snow Bunting
1988: 1m & 2f Snow Bunting
1990: 2m Common Scoter, Grey Plover, 800 Golden Plover, Ruff, f Snow Bunting
1991: Great-northern Diver, Peregrine, Long-tailed Duck

November 11th
1980: f Scaup, Slavonian Grebe, 3 Bewick’s Swan, 4f Common Scoter
1981: Black-throated Diver
1985: Pomarine Skua
1995: 2m Red-crested Pochard, Rock Pipit, f Scaup, Water Rail
1997: Great-northern Diver
1998: Great-northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe


Friday, 6 November 2009

November 6th 2009

Both Bob Hazel and Max Silverman are my hero’s at the pond today. Its been a pretty poor week at the pond and the weather was not that enticing this morning but with Bobs persistent he came up trumps with a Great-northern Diver today and Max probably got a few of Warwickshire’s listers out this afternoon with a Purple Sandpiper by the outlet. I sure would have love to have seen the purple blob but I’m still confined to barracks so will have to live on the memories of the seven I have seen before involving nine birds. Only one of my records stayed longer than a day.

Purple Sandpiper by Max Silverman

More from the past

November 6th
1980; f Scaup, Lesser Redpoll
1982: m Hen Harrier, f Common Scoter, 16 Goldeneye, 5 Dunlin
1983: Rock Pipit, Stonechat
1987: 2 Rock Pipit
1988 2 Bewick’s Swan, Nuthatch
1993: 5 Bewick’s Swan, 4f & 1m Eider, m Red-crested Pochard, f Common Scoter, Woodcock, fw Med Gull, Rock Pipit
1998: 6f Common Scoter

November 7th
1981: 28 Bewick’s Swan, Kingfisher, m Bearded Tit
1982: Grey plover, 7 Dunlin
1985: 5 Snow Bunting
1986: Marsh Tit, 26Goldeneye
1988: Great-grey Shrike, Brambling, 2 Bewick’s Swan
1993: 4f & 1m Eider, m Red-crested Pochard, f Common Scoter, Short-eared Owl, Chiffchaff
1998: 2 Great-northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, 4f Common Scoter

and in recent times JJ had a Franklins Gull on the 6th in 2002


Thursday, 5 November 2009

November 5th 2009

Its official – it’s swine flu so here is another couple of day’s from the past.

November 4th
1978: Great-northern Diver, 3 Short-eared Owl, Little Owl
1979: Slavonian Grebe
1983: Rock Pipit
1987: Rock Pipit

November 5th
1980: Rock Pipit
1081: Green Sandpiper, m & f Bearded Tit
1983: Barn Owl
1986: Jack Snipe
1987: m Hen Harrier, Brambling, Rock Pipit
1995: 6 Brent Goose, f Ring-necked Duck, 3 Whooper Swan, Red-crested Pochard, f Scaup


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

November 4th 2009

Thanks all the e-mails, text and for logging on but unfortunately I am ill so this enforced boredom has enabled me to look at my old diaries. Here’s a taste of what I have seen at the pond on the selected dates pre 21st century going back before some of you were born. I will try and keep this theme going until I can get out again – soon I hope

November 1st
1981: m Firecrest, Shag
1985: Bewick’s Swan
1991: 2 Great-northern Diver, Peregrine, Ruff, 2 Little Stint
1995: Red-necked Grebe, Rock Pipit
1998: 7f Common Scoter, 2 Great-northern Diver, Black-necked Grebe, Raven

November 2nd
1979: Slavonian Grebe
1985: 19 White-fronted Geese
1986: Marsh Tit
1987: 3 Bewick Swan
1991: Great-northern Diver, Merlin, Peregrine, 2 Little Stint, f Long-tailed Duck, Short-eared Owl
1993: 3 Brent Geese
1995: Rock Pipit, 12 White-fronted Geese
1996: Bewick Swan, Ruff, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, Short-eared Owl
1998: Great-northern Diver, 2 Black-necked Grebe

November 3rd
1979: Common Scoter
1982: Ruff, Pintail
1984: 6a 3fw Kittiwake, 2a 1fw Little Gull
1987: 6 Brambling
1990: f Merlin, Rock Pipit
1991: Great-northern Diver, Peregrine, Long-tailed Duck, Little Stint
1993: 4f Eider, m Bearded Tit
1996: Bewick Swan, 3 Little Stint, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 137 Shoveler, 146 Gadwall
1998: Black-necked Grebe Great-northern Diver, Knot