Thursday, 29 April 2010

April 29th 2010

The mothing gods certainly shined on me last night with the best catch of the year in numbers and quality so I had to drag Bob kicking and screaming out of my garden so we could check on the pond before my walk started.

Muslin Moth male

Both by Bob Hazell

After walking to farborough spit seeing virtually the same birds that we would see with the group we met them at the visitors centre and strolled out to toft bay.
House Martins were busy building the nests and a male Wheatear showed well for the group along with a Yellow Wagtail (at least 3 present) and 3 Linnets on farborough bank while one of the two Great-northern Divers was still present off the spit but distant.
From the spit we could see male Shoveler and Shelduck in toft shallows so we carried on to get nearer and located the male Garganey in toft shallows with 10 Gadwall so headed for the hide for closer views but once we arrived at the hide it flew to grays barn where the viewing was poor and we lost it.

Garganey by Bob Hazell taken yesterday when it performed in rainbow corner

On our way back 2 Common Tern flew past and the rain started so we were a little damp by the time we got back to the visitors centre. Next walk is on the 13th May at 11am.


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

April 28th 2010

Finally got me act together and cycled down to the pond where one of the 2 Garganey on site was in toft bay with 12 Swift heading north overhead then met up with Bob and we walked to rainbow to see the second bird, both males.
On returning to the visitors centre there were 4 Yellow Wagtail and 3 Wheatear on farborough bank (another on saddle bank).

Northern Wheatear by Bob Hazell

Also seen were 2 Great-northern Divers, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Common Tern, 3 Sedge Warbler, 4 Grey Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Common Sandpiper.

Bob could not resist this Goldfinch singing its head off

Earlier in the day there was a movement of hirundine and Swifts going north over my estate and despite a run of poor catches I managed to attract this to a Black light I was experimenting with.

Red Twin-Spot Carpet by Bob Hazell


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

April 27th 2010

Been pottering in the garden for the last two days and kept informed by Dennis and John of the presence of Black-tailed Godwits at Brandon Marsh but just can't get motivated. I even wheeled the bike out but the thought of sitting on me bum for 12 miles did my head in. Think I'm all birded out so need to make sure I perk up before my guided walk on Thursdays, meeting at 11am at the visitors centre, Draycote Water. Hopefully the weather will be dry though a little cooler than of late.

Steve Batt sent me this shot of a Cuckoo which he took while butterflying at Ryton Meadows yesterday.

Seems to be more around this year so should catch up with one before they leave!!

Bob came round to photograph Daves Brindled Green this afternoon and will post it later - think I'm off to beddy byes.

I have completed the first five days of my Israel Trip with photos from Dave and Terry - scroll down to 8th April.

Holly Blue 2, Orange-tip, Small and Large White butterfly's in the garden today but no bird activity worth mentioning.


Sunday, 25 April 2010

April 25th 2010

Despite the early morning rain with a light south easterly wind there were plenty of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers singing there heads off as Dave and I worked our way from Draycote village towards the valve tower at 06:10 just in time to see a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker fly over that could have been the bird that’s been occasionally seen between here and Dunchurch this winter.
A sweep of the reservoir from the valve tower produced at least 18 Common Tern feeding with another 5 seen leaving and both Great-northern Divers were still around with one of them seen later flying a circuit of the reservoir. As we walked draycote bank Dave spotted 6 Bar-tailed Godwits resting on bank just before we would have been to close so we backed off and I managed a poor record of the 3 in summer plumage before they left to the north at 06:40 as the first runners came past and five minutes later I thought they had returned only to realise that we had 6 Whimbrel going over.

Bar-tailed Godwit by me
We continued to the visitors centre meeting up with the Bumbling Bears who had seen 4 Little Tern go through and had located another Draycote year tick for me in the form of a Little Ringed Plover on the shoreline by the visitors centre. Our return walk produced adult Little Gull, Artic and Black Tern and 2 Common Sandpipers plus the 3 Snow Goose types (plastic) that arrived in the rain and were still present resting on swallow bank. Also worth a mention were 2 Yellowhammers and a Mistle Thrush.

Snow Goose types by me
Once fed and watered we did Napton on the Hill which has had plenty of coverage while I have been away but turning up very little of note and we were heading that way till Dave spotted a male Marsh Harrier coming in from the direction of Hellidon, Northamptonshire at 12:25 being mobbed by a Raven and Buzzard before It drifted off to the north east. We managed a few butterflies with 8 Green-veined White, 3 Large White, 3 Orange-tip, 2 Brimstone and a Peacock plus terrific views of a Weasel as it ran towards us.


Saturday, 24 April 2010

April 24th 2010

Dave trapped a Double-striped Pug, Chocolate Tip and a micro for me to i.d. last night which I think could be either Acleris ferrugana or Acleris notana but both are highly variable and are best separated by examination of the genitalia which I am not in to.

Double Striped Pug

Acleris sp

All photos by Bob Hazell

Terry Southgate has kindly sent me a few photos from our Israel trip which I will post under April 15th – 21st posting later though I haven’t found the time to start my report yet.

Three Buzzards flew over my garden this morning while trying to get it back under control plus a Holly Blue was out enjoying the spring sunshine so it was not till mid afternoon when Bob had mastered his garden that we visited the pond with April to see the party of Little Gulls and a Black Tern that had arrived overnight.
We managed to see 4 adult summer and one first summer Little Gull from farborough bank plus at least 6 Common Tern and single Artic and Black Tern. Other observers had at least 15 Little Gulls.
The possible female Blue-headed Wagtail was seen only briefly with a few Yellow Wagtails but no sign of the male although it had been reported as still present and by the time we walked around to hensborough bank the Garganey male had disappeared a couple of minutes earlier.
The last two days of sunshine has brought the Butterfly’s out with 4 Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock seen at the pond yesterday while today’s visit added Orange Tip and Small White to my year list.

Patch News -A Red Kite was reported over the Rokeby Estate in Rugby by Marks sister at 5pm.


April 23rd 2010

A chance to meet up with John, Dave H and Bob as I strolled along farborough bank with Dave this afternoon as they tried to come to grips with a possibly female Blue-headed Wagtail among the Yellow Wagtail flock. The male was still around and showed briefly after being flushed by the farmer inspecting his cattle flock. A smart looking adult Little Gull was off farborough bank along with 2 distant Shelduck before we moved on to the windsurfing area where the male Garganey was still present.

Garganey by Dave Hutton


Thursday, 22 April 2010

April 22nd 2010 Extra

Not surprisingly I was on a high this morning due to the relief of being back in the UK after a week of not knowing so wasted no time in catching up with Bob Hazell on local patch news and bringing my self up to speed on how the moth trap had done as he had kindly monitored it each morning while I’ve been away.
The pond had been active with arrivals of Whinchat, Artic Tern, Little Gull, Common Sandpiper, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Whimbrel, Swift and Blue-headed Wagtail to mention a few while other sites on my patch have had Garganey, Grasshopper Warbler, Ring Ousel, Garden Warbler and Avocet so nothing there that will make my hair fall out although I have some year ticks to catch up on.
On the mothing front things have been slower due to cold clear nights but Bob managed to photograph Early Thorn and Early Grey for me.

Early Grey

Early Thorn

Despite a touch of travel weariness we visited the pond taking nearly three hours just to walk to farborough spit followed by a look at the windsurfing area and rainbow corner in gorgeous spring sunshine and very strange not to see White-eyed Bulbuls, Laughing Doves or Palm trees that I had become accustomed too in Israel.
The walk turned out to be a cracking days birding with my first Sedge Warbler of the year followed by at least 6 Common Sandpiper, then the Blue-headed Wagtail appeared with 11 Yellow Wagtail feeding among the cattle in the field behind farborough bank while 2 Common Tern were out in the centre among the many Black-headed Gulls. On the way back to the visitors centre we had 7 summer plumage Golden Plover go over and 3 Dunlin resting among the rocks totally ignoring all the walkers, joggers and baby pushers present so must have been desperate for a rest. News of a male Garganey off the wind surfing / picnic area soon had us racing over to the area where it was still present having taking a liking to a girlie Mallard. Another year tick for me was 2 Swift over head and other birds of note today were female Wheatear, 200 Sand Martin, 2 Shoveler, 4 Teal, 12 Gadwall and both Great-northern Divers are still present.

Wheatear female

Garganey male


all photos by Bob Hazell


April 22nd 2010

Hi all - thanks for hanging in there. I have finally arrived back home this morning (5am) after a weeks holiday in Israel. Unfortunately the Icelandic volcano that erupted a day before we were due to leave meant we were delayed till the first flight out yesterday after a 6 day wait, will explain more in my Israel blog later. Good to be home though 3c at Luton Airport was a shock compared to the 28c when we were transferred from Eilat to the Ovda Airport, had been up to 39c the previous day.


April 8th to 12th 2010 Israel Part 1

April 8th 2010
The four of us (Dave, Colin, Terry and little old me) arrived in Israel to clear sky’s and soaring temperatures and while our luggage was loaded on to our coach for the transfer from Uvda Airport to Eilat we had already started birding with Laughing Dove, White-eyed Bulbul and Red-rumped Swallow seen around the airport parking area. This was my third trip to Israel so found a window seat and though most of the hour journey was through a military zone as we were in spitting distance of Egypt we managed Brown-necked Raven, Black Kite, Tristram’s Starling, and House Crow as I gave Dave the low down on the habitat we were passing.
Our Hotel allocated us rooms on the 9th floor which gave us stunning views of the mountains above Aquaba, Jordon, New Marina, Palm Plantation and Salt Ponds and views up the valley to K20 and partial veiwes of the sea though we had no intention of staying in our rooms in hindsight we were lucky as later the balcony became our savior in more ways than we would have expected.

View from our Hotel looking towards Jordon by DC

We had two hours of daylight left so headed for Eilat North Beach where we met up with a French crew who despite the language barrier gave us the latest information with Black Bush Robin still in Ofira Park, plenty of larks nesting on military property, up to 4 Lichtenstien’s Sandgrouse coming to drink in the evenings at K19 and passerine migration in general was only trickling through. While chatting we had 50+ Steppe Buzzard, 3 Black Stork, Lesser-spotted Eagle and 15 Whiskered Tern heading north, a male Lesser Kestrel hunting around a nearby hotel while offshore we had 2 White-eyed Gull, Caspian and Gull-billed Tern and 2 Pied Kingfisher

April 9th 2010
Ofira Park found us searching for the Black Bush Robin just after day break with a couple of locals and while waiting for it to appear we enjoyed Spanish Sparrow, Wryneck, Hoopoe, Olivacious Warbler and a mixture of Black, Blue and Grey-headed Wagtails before one of the locals found the Robin and I managed brief views before it became elusive again though we did find the Sykes Warbler that had been present for a couple of days. Rock Martins were over the marina.

Eastern Olivacious Warbler by Me

While the others collected the hire cars Terry and I tried Ofria Park again adding Nightingale, Pallid Swift, Richards Pipit and Red-throated Pipit to our growing list.
Once mobile we went to the Ringing Station where among a lot of species we saw Black Stork, Olivacious Warbler, Slender-billed Gull, Graceful Warbler, Little Green Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow and 5 European Bee-Eater while overhead we had at least 80 Stepped Buzzard, 10 Booted Eagle and Marsh Harrier going north east in to Jordon. Among the many wader species present were Kentish Plover, Red-necked Phalarope, Temminick’s Stint, Black-winged Stilt and Spur-winged Plover.

Slender-billed Gull by TS

A drive around the K20 Saltpans produced more wader species than the previous site and in large numbers including breeding Kentish Plover, along with 200 Greater Flamingo, 2 Glossy Ibis. Overhead more Steppe Buzzard, Black Kite and Booted Eagles went through. Hundreds of wagtail and pipits were seen around the perimeter of the saltpans with 6 Red-throated Pipit and a few Tree Pipits the best. The scrubby bushes near the poly tunnels had 2 Namaqua Dove.

Greater Flamingo by me

Black-winged Stilt by me

Kentish Plover by TS

Kentish Plover chick by TS

Bee-Eater by Me

The first 30k of Route 90 out of Eilat is now a duel carriage way so we could not nip straight across to Amram Pillars having to travel a few kilometers before we could return south. Once there it was pretty desolate being so late in the afternoon and very hot but we managed 2 White Crowned Black Wheatears, Egyptian Vulture and Booted Eagle as well as admiring the amazing rock formations and the various colours of sand. The final hour on Eilat North beach produced 4 White-eyed Gull and 2 Kingfisher.

April 10th 2010
Bingo – we have all seen the Black Bush Robin which was a lifer for the other three so they are happy bunnies but most of yesterdays supporting cast had left apart from the Sykes Warbler.
K33 was hard work as we eventually tracked down a Bar-tailed Desert Lark but the Dorcas Gazelle on the Jordon side of the Border was distant, Brown-necked Raven and lots of Spanish Sparrows heading north.
As we were leaving we noticed a large raptor movement heading north west over the Eilat mountains so decided to get closer and ended up at K37 where they flew over our heads up the valley. Stunning sight and in the next hour we had at least 2000 Steppe Buzzard, 5 Steppe Eagle, 2 Egyptian Vulture, 150 Black Kite, Lesser-spotted Eagle and Booted Eagle going over with some of them very low, also a small movement of Swallow and Red-rumped Swallows and the odd Sand Martin.

Booted Eagle by TS
Moving on to Yotvata we worked the scrub, fields and palm Plantations with the most interesting sightings being Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, 2m & 1f Masked Shrike, 2 Eastern Bonellis Warbler, 5 Crested Lark and 2 Little Green Bee-Eater. Surprisingly considering the direction the raptors were taking we only had 100 Steppe Buzzard and a single Steppe Eagle so the must have gone in to Jordon crossing the border further south.

Crested Lark by Me

Colin, Dave and Terry browsing the menu

Heading back to Eilat we called in on the cemetery where it was very warm so once the Sand Partridge had been seen we returned to the hotel for a couple of hours.
With the evening a little cooler we arrived early at K19 sewage pool and settled down to wait for the Lichtenstien’s Sandgrouse to arrive meeting up with German and Finnish birders but unfortunately we dipped. Plenty of birding activity and we added 11 Purple Heron, 3 Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, 4 Night Heron, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Wagtail, 3 Garganey and Hobby to the list. Also present were 400 Spanish Sparrow, Richards, Water, and Tree Pipit, various wagtails and a few waders. Wind had decreased and moved round to the south having been a moderate northerly since we arrived.

April 11th 2010
Woke to hazy condition after a very warm night with the wind still in the south. Dave and I did a quick check on Eilat North Beach at 6:30am before working the Date Palm Plantation finding a male Pied Wheatear feeding in a ditch and plenty of Cattle Egret before moving on to the Ringing Station where we located a male Greater Sand Plover roosting with a group of Ringed and Kentish Plovers. Dave was on a roll with 2 new birds so before heading back for breakfast we called in at Holland Park adding Arabian Babbler to his already growing life list.
After breakfast we all visited Mount Yoash but there was no raptor movement so we enjoyed the scenery as well as catching up with bird news before moving on to K20 where a pair Cretzschmar’s Bunting, 5 Marsh Sandpiper, Tawny Pipit, 2 Collared Pratincole were seen along with good numbers of Bee-Eater, a Masked Shrike plus similar species to our last visit.
The key news we learnt this morning from Mount Yoash was that a Brown Booby had been seen briefly this morning off Eilat North Beach at 8am so Dave and I did another check on the beach at 3pm with the wind coming from the north again finding a Pomarine Skua offshore on the Jordon side before returning at 5pm with Colin and Terry.
We had just pulled in to the car park and getting out of the car when the Brown Booby appeared flying up and down the beach about 300 meters out, you have never seen so many fat birders move so fast. A Lifer for me at last – magic. The rest of the evening spent enjoying the booby plus Sooty Shearwater, Common, Caspian and Gull-billed Tern, Pomarine Skua, Pied Kingfisher and Western Reef Heron on the fishing platform.

Record shot of the Brown Booby by Me

After dinner a hazy mist descended over Eilat so that did not bode well for our early start tomorrow.

April 12th 2010
Up at 2:30am and luckily the mist had disappeared by 3am as Dave put the hire car in to warp drive and we arrived after a long journey at Nizzana near the Egyptian border to perfect viewing conditions and were soon shivering in the cool morning temperatures and we soon had 3 male McQueen’s Bustards with the one Terry found performing the best. The git was certainly cooking on gas as he also found 2 of the 3 Cream-coloured Coursers we had. In the two hours we were there we managed 2 male Pallid Harrier, Marsh Harrier, 10 White Stork, Black Stork, Common Crane, 6 Arabian Babbler, Black-eared Wheatear, 2 Isabelline Wheatear, male Spectacle Warbler, 4 Great Grey Shrike, buckets of Crested Lark, Brown-necked Raven, Raven and numerous Steppe Buzzards loafing around on the deck.
Once a goat herder appeared with his flock and the heat haze set in we moved on to a small wood near Ezuz where there were plenty of birds with 2m & 1f Palestine Sunbird, 3 male Pied Flycatcher, male Semi-collared Flycatcher, Orphean Warbler, numerous Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Red-rumped Swallow, 2 Woodchat, 2 Masked and 2 Great Grey Shrike plus Brown-necked Raven, 2 Hoopoe amongst the usual commoner birds and a Marsh Harrier hunting. The highlight was the White Stork passage as they were just starting to kettle along side Steppe Buzzards when we arrived and we had at least 800 heading north towards the Med while the 200 Steppes were taking a different route heading back inland. One light phase Booted Eagle went over.

White Stork by TS

As we were leaving we spotted a roadside Wryneck, a few Black Kite and 4 Sandgrouse flew over calling, retrospectively they sounded like Crowned. The Nizzana pools had Little Grebe, Bee-Eater, Spur-winged Plover and Pallid Harrier.
We stopped for food at a service station near Sede Boqer sharing our grub with the Hooded Crows while over the road a scrubby patch held 2 Masked Shrike, m & f Palestine Sunbird, White Wagtail and overhead we a majestic Griffon Vulture fly over followed by a hunting Barbary Falcon catching some unfortunate in front of us.
Next Stop was Ben Gurions Gorge where there was plenty of water in the river which certainly accounted for the Green and Common Sandpiper as well as cracking views of Tristram’s Starling bathing by the bridge. We added a few more to the list here with 4 Mourning Wheatear, Rufous Bush Robin, Icterine Warbler, Scrub Warbler, Blackstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Turtle Dove (nesting), Crag Martin, Stonechat sp seen briefly, Alpine Swift and Little Swift while Dave put us on to 2 Bonelli’s Eagle mobbing a Egyptian Vulture. Also seen were Spectacle Warbler, 5 Palestine Sunbird, Greenfinch, Crested Lark, Pallid Swift and Woodchat Shrike.

Ben Gurions Gorge by TS

A stop at the Ramon Crater produced 6 Tawny Pipit, 2 Wheatear, 2 Whinchat, Steppe Buzzard, Pallid Harrier, Orphean Warbler, 8 Kestrel and Crested Lark.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

April 7th 2010

Out with Bob this afternoon working Napton on the Hill for migrants but the North West wind put paid to any fresh arrivals. Only birds of note were a group of 12 Fieldfare near the dip and one in the quarry, Peregrine over, also a few Chiffchaffs, 8 Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 Coal Tit.
From the hill the distant views of Napton Reservoir produced 32 Mute Swans which is a very impressive number for this location and time of year.
Coming back home via the valley was fruitless and a brief look at the pond produced zilch though Bob had both divers wing stretching earlier in the day so perhaps they are finally getting ready to leave.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

April 6th 2010

Two Canada Geese flew north over the garden while checking the moth trap at 6am followed by 6 Swallows heading south at 8am when 3 Sparrowhawk were overhead.
Bob came round for a look my catch then we went for a quick look the pond but disappointingly the strong southerly wind made viewing extremely difficult so failed to find the Great-northern Divers. All we could manage in a walk to toft and back was 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 10 House Martin, 100 Sand Martin, 20 Swallows, pair of Gadwall, 2 female Goldeneye, 8 Buzzard, 2 Oystercatcher and 4 Yellow Wagtail, also Comma butterfly seen.
Back home in the afternoon spent gardening produced House Martin, 3 Buzzard and Raven going over.
Now we have lighter nights went back out via Draycote village and had Common Tern resting on C bouy and Med Gull adult summer plumage in roost. More Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps this side of reservoir so good numbers on site. A Redshank circled reservoir but like the Oystercatchers this morning there is no where safe for them to land and rest.

Satellite by Bob Hazell

Emmelina monodactyla one of the plume moths by Bob Hazell


April 5th 2010

Today was dull cool and not brightening up till late afternoon. A Barn Owl was out hunting in daylight along the Hill Road and the horse paddock at Grandborough Fields had both female Wheatear and female Yellow Wagtail while nearby Woodbine Farm had 3 Buzzard and 4 Linnets present. Between Woodbine Farm and Broadwell I managed Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Mistle Thrush, 3 Red-legged Partridge and a group of 6 Lapwing.
Between Broadwell and Napton Reservoir there were 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Tree Sparrow and a Sparrowhawk while the reservoir it self held my first Sedge Warbler of the year along with 2 Cetties Warbler, 3 Swallow, 3 Reed Bunting and 2 Raven.
Draycote Water was busy with lots of walkers and no fun but still managed 2 White Wagtail and Wheatear male on the lower slopes of farborough bank, male Yellow Wagtail on toft bank and 2 Great-northern Divers out in the centre. Also present were 9 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 100 Sand Martin, 10 House Martin, 200 Swallow, 4 Goldeneye, female Gadwall, 6 Buzzard and 2 Jay.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

April 4th 2010

I certainly ached this morning as Dave and I walked up from Draycote village to check on the pond between the valve tower and rainbow corner managing 4 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Oystercatchers and a male Wheatear near the tower and 2 Great-northern Divers off draycote bank. There were plenty of warblers calling around the village and at least 10 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Blackcaps below draycote bank. Other sightings of interest was a large flock of Swallows arriving from the east but they could not make there mind whether to join the others present or not and circled for awhile before leaving heading north east and a Kingfisher on the inlet.
After leaving the village we found a flock of 15 Goldfinch and a Linnet feeding in alders near Blooms Garden Centre and on Lawford Heath there were 30 Linnet, 25 Fieldfare, 2 Buzzard and 6 Meadow Pipits.
Brandon Marsh had Goldcrest, House Martin, 2 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Ringed Plover, 18 Snipe, 5 Lesser Redpoll plus Willow Warbler and Blackcap among the10+ Chiffchaff while 3 Cetties Warblers were seen and another 3 heard. There were plenty of Swallows and Sand Martins present.
Back home April and Bob popped round to photograph the Oak Tree Pug – well it’s that or a Brindled Pug so comments welcome. Not seen one for a year - getting rusty.

Oak Tree Pug by me (top) and Bob Hazell (lower)


Saturday, 3 April 2010

April 3rd 2010

Don’t even talk to me – one massive strop on.
I biked 16 miles to watch a steam engine in full flow only to miss it thanks to a plonker of a lorry driver trying to find the M42. Due to language differences (he was from Mars) it took longer than I hoped it would resulting in only hearing its distant whistle and a wisps of smoke drifting off in to the ether.
With me now belching fire and brimstone at anything that moved or spoke, gave Wormleighton Reservoir a look and even my first Common Tern of the year only partially lifted my gloom. Plenty of birds around with 4 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, 5 Sand Martin and a lone Swallow representing summer while 2 Fieldfare in the lane reminded me winter has not quite left us just yet, also Corn Bunting, Marsh Tit, 5 Buzzard, 5 Bullfinch, Treecreeper, Raven and 4 Tree Sparrow in the area.
I made a steady journey back via Shuckburgh Hills and Napton Reservoir but by the time I reached Draycote Water it was raining and my bum was numb so didn’t bother with the place.
Plenty of roadside Chiffchaffs and Buzzard but not a lot for the hour on Shuckburgh with 5 Buzzard, 3 Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker and a male Wheatear noted. Napton Reservoir was a lot more productive with a Little Egret a welcome surprise as it flew over appearing to go down out of sight so hopefully still in the area, good views of a Cetties Warbler, 3 Chichaff, 2 Sparrowhawk, Raven, female Gadwall, Kingfisher and Yellow Wagtail
Cym texted to say she had a Red Kite over Southam this morning.
Mothing has been quiet recently with very few species out flying in mine or Dave’s garden but the Oak-tree Pug he had on Friday is worth a mention. I will contact Bob for photos when I’m more sociable. I need my bed.


Friday, 2 April 2010

April 2nd 2010

Despite the damp and murky conditions from last night’s rain I took the risk of a few hours birding in the valley before the next weather front brought more rain.
Started by searching the fields along Hill Rd at first light for Wheatears and managed to find a female near the entrance to Valley Farm while opposite 2 very bedraggled Golden Plover were resting before they continued north. Just out side Grandborough Village there were 4 Tree Sparrows in the horse paddocks along with another migrant in the shape of a male Yellow Wagtail with another along the Grandborough Fields Road.
The Flecknoe Road had 3 Buzzard together near Woodbine Farm and on Cym and Dave’s small holding there were 2 Reed Bunting and 2 Grey Partridge before retuning home.
First part of the afternoon was wet but as the front passed a trickle of Sand Martins went over the garden so went down to Draycote Water where between toft shallows and the valve tower there were 15 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler along with a pair of Blackcap and Goldcrest. At least 4 Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail and 7 Meadow Pipits were on draycote bank. Hirundines numbers had increased from yesterday with at least 200 Swallow and 250 Sand Martin and amongst them were 5 House Martin. No sign of yesterdays Common Scoter that I had missed but a female Goosander was off dunns bay. one Great-northern Diver still present.


Thursday, 1 April 2010

April 1st 2010

Out with Bob at Draycote Water this morning as the cold wind increased and we did not see much on our walk to toft shallows and before meeting up with the others for my walk to the inlet. A Great-northern Diver was seen in flight and later it was off the valve tower but only giving poor views. At least 2 Chiffchaff were in toft shallows with plenty of others reported later by other observers. A Sparrowhawk and Buzzard were sparring over toft bay and 7 more Buzzards and another Sparrowhawk were seen later while Swallows numbered 150 and Sand Martins 50.
My monthly walk did not produce much but gave those present a chance to enjoy 8 Gadwall, 6 Goldeneye, Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe and closer views of the hirundines. We managed to get back to the visitors centre before the rain came.