Thursday, 30 September 2010

September 30th 2010

Once the mist had burnt off the Lesser Scaup attracted a steady stream of admirers at the pond today but frustratingly remained out of range of most photographers.

Bob struggled with this image but shows the wing pattern.

Bob had Ruff and Ringed Plover in toft bay as he walked round while I searched the country park finding male Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and 4 Willow Warbler. Overhead there was a movement of Skylark with 148 counted along with 30+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Siskin and a lone first of the autumn Redwing but this died down to a trickle by mid-day. A call from Bob Duckhouse added Rock Pipit to the day list after he had found 2 on toft bank.
Other sightings today included female/immature Pintail out in the centre, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 6 Ringed Plover on outlet, Dunlin, 5 Raven, 13 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Pochard, 4 Gadwall, 5 Wigeon and 3 Yellow Wagtail.
Also noted in the bright sunshine were Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker, 2 Vapourer Moth, Green-veined White and Comma butterfly.

A late afternoon visit to the Burton Dassett Country Park found no sign of any Ring Ousels but the hills held a few Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, 6 Yellow Wagtails and juvenile Whinchat while nearby Wormleighton had 12 Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Marsh Tit, Green Sandpiper and Greenshank.
A look for owls at Napton on the way home produced 2 Barn and a Little plus 2 Snipe and calling Cetties.

Barred Sallow by Bob Hazell


September 29th 2010

Napton on the Hill again this afternoon hoping the south east wind, low cloud and rain had downed more migrants but the conditions were so dire I ended up hearing more than I saw. The main activity was between the Church and village where viewing is difficult and ended up with only Spotted Flycatcher and Whitethroat for my efforts.
The pond was not much better though locating the Lesser Scaup was easier than yesterday and the only new arrival was a distant sleeping female/immature Common Scoter - other birds of interest noted were 4 Ringed Plover, Dunlin, 8 Yellow Wagtail and 40+ Meadow Pipit. I was still trying to dry out when Dave came round tonight.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

September 28th 2010

Draycote was a dreary place today with low cloud and occasional light misty rain till it brightened early afternoon. Arrived with Bob just after 8:30am and it took us 3 hours to locate the Lesser Scaup which was off hensborough bank with a group of tufties.

Lesser Scaup by Bob Hazell

Other birds of note were juvenile Black Tern, 15 Ringed Plover (5 toft bay, 1inlet & 9 west at 11am) Dunlin in toft, 40 Meadow Pipit, 12 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Reed Bunting on farborough bank, Golden Plover over rainbow with 50+lapwing, Raven and 4 Goldcrests in country park. There were 50 Swallow and 20 House Martin feeding over the tree tops off toft bank but as the cloud lifted 1000+ hirundine were observed from the country park flying south down the Grandborough Valley. Vapourer Moth and Weasel seen.

Bad News
THE MERSEYSIDE TORNADO due to pass through Rugby on the 2nd October has been POSTPONED till 24-May 2011

Francoise sent me this pic of the Avro Vulcan XH558 on its way to Babington Air Show, Coventry on Sunday as it flew over Draycote.

Daves trap is doing a lot better than mine at the moment

Blair Shoulder-knot by Bob Hazell


Monday, 27 September 2010

September 27th 2010

Not the best of day’s weather wise with low cloud, light north east wind and almost constant drizzle unless you enjoying getting damp looking for grounded migrants on Napton on the Hill. There was a bit of activity but seeing them was proving difficult due to limited viewing of some of the sheltered but private areas. I managed 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and 2 Blackcap with new birds being my first of the autumn Lesser Redpoll and Brambling.
Called in on the pond on the way home for the roost but the conditions were so poor you could not see those out in the centre well and concentrated on the Black-headed Gulls in toft hoping for a Med. Did not find any but they went berserk when a Great Skua charged through them, it disappeared in to the gloom heading west.


Sunday, 26 September 2010

September 26th 2010

Out with Dave looking for owls at first light down the Southam Rd but the blustery cold north westerly were not ideal conditions to be looking in so moved to Grandborough Fields Farm managing a Merlin along Hill Rd. Very little was moving in the valley from our vantage point except for a Sparrowhawk so chewed the cud until Draycote Water opened.
After some searching the male Lesser Scaup that had arrived while I was away was still present but was fooling most of those searching in toft bay by being out in the centre of reservoir before moving closer to lin croft point. Over 40 Meadow Pipits and 12 Yellow Wagtail were on toft and farborough bank with 24 Skylark heading south while the majority of the 200+ Swallow and House Martins were feeding off the north shore. Only other birds of note were female Pintail, 5 Wigeon, 14 Teal and 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull.
After breakfast we took a look at Napton on the Hill and though the areas exposed to the cold wind produced zilch we were more successful on the south side with 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Blackcap, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Buzzard, 8 Mistle Thrush and a Hobby.


September 24th and 25th 2010

Last two days have been spent on the coast of Yorkshire enjoying the benefits of a very strong north wind which brought in plenty of seabirds on Friday to Flamborough Head but few migrants while Saturday was spent at Spurn where the wind had shifted to the north west resulting in fewer seabirds but allowed for few migrants to show themselves. From a total of 88 species seen the highlights were:-
Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Artic Skua, Great Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Leach’s Petrel, Red-necked Grebe, Red-throated Diver, Pink-footed Geese, Barnacle Geese, Purple Sandpiper, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Brambling, Redwing, Lapland Bunting, Merlin, Peregrine and Woodcock.


September 23rd 2010

It rained in the night with low cloud still remaining this morning and a light south easterly wind becoming more southerly so checked for migrants on Napton on the Hill. The only obvious new birds were juvenile Stonechat near the Riding Stables and 3 Yellow Wagtail in the big field while 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Chiffchaff and 6 Willow Warblers near the churchyard were probably local birds. There was a passage 40 Meadow Pipits and 300 Swallows going south and other birds of note were 5 Raven, 5 Buzzard, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Coal Tit, 11 Mistle Thrush and 2 Nuthatch. No sign of the Black Tern at Napton Reservoir – just a Grey Wagtail.
Draycote Water this afternoon had 3 Black Tern and 9 Common Tern joined by 2 juvenile Sandwich Tern but they did not appear to stay long and we missed the Artic Terns. Also seen were Common Sandpiper toft bay, 20 Yellow Wagtail in the field below farborough spit feeding among the cows, female Goosander toft bay, 10+ Meadow Pipit along farborough bank, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Raven, 3 Buzzard, 70 Goldfinch, Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff. Bob checked out hensborough and had a few Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Also present seen were Weasel and Vapourer Moth.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

September 22nd 2010

I had a nice surprise in the trap this morning with a Rush Veneer, a common and widespread immigrant to coastal sites and not so common inland unless it’s a good year. This was my 9th record for the garden, the first since 2008 and the other seven records came in 2006 which was an exceptional year for this species when I was recording up to 3 in a night.

Rush Veneer by Bob Hazell

Garden had 2 Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Raven and a trickle of Swallows going south while the feeders attracted Goldfinch and Coal Tit.

Did not get out till late afternoon and chose to look at Napton Reservoir again and chuffed to find a juvenile Black Tern – I think this may be a location tick for me. Also present were 4 Reed Bunting. 45 Goldfinch and Water Rail briefly then hung around waiting for any owls to come out before the forecasted rain arrived and rewarded with 2 Barn and single Little Owl with another Little Owl and a Tawny Owl heard. While waiting I ran around with the net and caught Common Wainscot, Sallow and Square-spot Rustic.

Not wanting to end up with egg on me face again I have been trawling the tinternet for steam trains excursions going through Rugby and have found the following. At this stage timings have not been confirmed so best to treat them as provisional dates until confirmed.

Liverpool-London Euston
60163 Tornado: Liverpool S Parkway-Lichfield TV-Euston and return


London Euston-Chester
46233 Duchess of Sutherland: Euston-Chester-Euston

Tyseley-London Euston
45305: Tyseley-Nuneaton-Euston and return


Edinburgh-London Euston
60163 tornado: Edinburgh-Carstairs-Beattock-Shap-Crewe-Euston

London Euston-Chester
60163 Tornado: Euston-Chester and return


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

September 21st 2010

When the fog lifted Draycote was sunny, tranquil and dead, the Black-necked Grebe was way out near M buoy and elusive for the photographers. Most of the hirundines especially House Martins that were in good numbers over the last few days have left with just a few remaining and a three hour watch from farborough spit eventually produced a small passage from 11am onwards along with some mipits.
The most interesting sighting was of 7 Buzzards that were just specks on the horizon when first spotted at 12:30pm coming from the east that drifted over before climbing higher joined by 8 others then they moved off south.
Final Buzzard count for the day including the many local birds enjoying the thermals was 33 plus Hobby, 2 Sparrowhawk and 4 Kestrels. Also seen were 12 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit, 3 Dunlin, Goosander and Shoveler.


Monday, 20 September 2010

September 20th 2010

A cloudy blustery morning at the pond and a walk to toft bay produced 11 Yellow Wagtail, 12 Meadow Pipit, Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warbler so we considered taking a quick look at hensborough bank before we left.
Luckily we met up with Jonesboy who had just seen and photographed a Black-necked Grebe so that made our mind up for us and legged it to the wind surfing picnic area where it was swimming towards hensborough bank.

Black-necked Grebe by Dick Jones

Also seen were female Goosander, 2 Dunlin, Ringed Plover, another 4 Meadow Pipits, 7 Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 80 Goldfinch, 400 House Martin, 50 Sand Martin and 30 Swallow and missed Bobs White Wagtail.
Another trip out with Mark this evening finding a Muntjac Deer near Napton church plus Raven and a Chiffy heard then down to Napton reservoir where we watched 2 Barn Owls hunting and heard 2 Tawny and 2 Little Owl. Took the net and caught 2 Square-spot Rustics.

Pink-barred Sallow in Daves trap by Bob Hazell

Ok this pic won't help my street cred but finally caught up with Megan Lewis, Daves grandchild a over the weekend and had the responsibility of giving her a quick introduction on gull identification - I dont think she was paying enough attention, she may only be 3 weeks old but she is going to have to learn quickly if she wants to hang out with us Sunday morning warriors.


Sunday, 19 September 2010

September 19th 2010

Immature Marsh Harrier over the owl field, Southam Road, Dunchurch and Hobby taking a Linnet at Grandborough Fields Farm were the highlights of a visit to the Grandborough valley before Dave and I called in on Draycote Water this morning. Our walk to toft bay produced 3 Dunlin, 2 Redshank and 8 Yellow Wagtail.
After breakfast despite the blustery conditions we tried Napton on the Hill and located 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Goldcrest, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and immature Redstart next to the church where it was more sheltered plus 6 Raven and 4 Buzzard low over the churchyard and a Vapourer Moth
On the way home we tried Napton Reservoir but all we had was 70+ Goldfinch, 3 Southern Hawkers and another Vapourer Moth.

Spotted Flycatcher by Bob Hazell taken at Napton in August

Vapourer moth by Bob Hazell caught by Dave earlier in the month


September 18th 2010

Apologies for late postings but as autumn migration takes hold they may become erratic due to a number of birding and mothing trips I have planned and a couple of non-birding weddings to attend though the locations are near enough to some good birds that I can sneak off to when I’m bored. The mothing trips are desperately needed as my own trap seems to have died with very few moths coming in to the garden lately though a Sallow yesterday put a smile on me face. There are also two steam trains coming in to Rugby in October and will post what details I have later.

This afternoon a Lesser Whitethroat was along the Flecknoe Road near the Baseley Smallholding in the Grandborough valley along with a Grey Partridge and 3 Raven overhead.
Another 2 Raven, Wheatear, 4 Tree Sparrow and a Corn Bunting were around Beck Hill while a late afternoon visit to the pond just after it had finished raining produced 2 Wheatear, 5 Yellow Wagtail, and 12 Meadow Pipits on farborough bank, Sanderling and 2 Dunlin in toft bay plus the now regular juvenile Shelduck and Egyptian Goose. Plenty of hirundines present and toft shallows had Treecreeper, Common Sandpiper and Blackcap. On the way home 3 Oystercatchers were over Dunchurch village heading for the pond and could be heard over the noise of the traffic.

Right I better get me finger out as boy Dave will be round in a few minutes


September 17th 2010

The Draycote Water roost had 6 juvenile 2 second winter, and 11 adult Yellow-legged Gulls plus adult winter Med Gull but still very few Herring or Common Gulls present. A Lesser Whitethroat was near the culvert, toft bay with 2 Goldcrest. Other sightings included Wheatear, Shelduck, Egyptian Goose, 5 Common Sandpiper.


Thursday, 16 September 2010

September 16th 2010

A moderate south west wind on our arrival at the pond turned north west and strengthened as a number of rain fronts passed over but they did not bring anything in. Still hundreds of hirundines present including 3 Swift while farborough bank had 8 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, 2 Wheatear and juvenile Merlin.
The Egyptian Goose was off farborough bank, juvenile Shelduck in grays barn, Dunlin in toft bay, Ringed Plover and Redshank rainbow corner, adult and 2 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull out in centre and a Hobby overhead. There were 4 Tree Sparrow behind the sewage farm which was a surprise find and this sheltered area also had Whitethroat and Blackcap. Only other birds of note were 40+ Goldfinch, 5 Buzzard, Green Woodpecker and a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull ringed on July 9th in Gloucestershire.

Bob Hazell taken in windy conditions

Mark fancied Napton Reservoir this evening where we had a Little Owl calling plus Pipistrelle and Noctule Bats but the highlight was scoping Jupiter and seeing one of its bands as well as three of its moon and our own waxing gibbous moon showed really well and so bright it was throwing a shadow.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

September 15th 2010

A Cockatiel species that flew over the visitors centre Draycote Water squawking was not the kind of start I was hoping for this morning and with the wind building up again Bob and I joined Tim and John on farborough bank.
The mass of hirundines present were hard to estimate but I reckon on a minimum of 1500 House Martin, 200 Sand Martin and 100 Swallow while the 7 Swift amongst them were the second latest record I have for this species at the pond.
Unfortunately there was not a lot of difference from yesterday and all we had were 6 Yellow Wagtail, Yellow-legged Gull, Wheatear, juvenile Shelduck, 9 Buzzard and 2 Common Sandpiper.
Back out to the pond again in the afternoon for an hour and added Common Tern, Black Tern, Ringed Plover and 3 Pochard to the day list.


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

September 14th 2010

A warm blustery night with low cloud and threatening rain did not produce anything of note in the moth trap. We had hoped the wind might have brought in a seabird of sorts so Bob and I risked a deluge but though the rain held off the constant 20mph winds produced very little that was new. While walking towards toft bay Bob got a call to say both Knot and Little Gull were off the inlet along with one remaining juvenile Black Tern which we had seen already from farborough bank but before we could get there the Knot flew off north and we never got to grips with the LG.
As we walked to toft bay there were over 500 hirundines over biggen bay, mainly House Martin but a few Swallows and a scattering of Sand Martins, one Swift, juvenile Shelduck still in toft bay while farborough bank had 12 Meadow Pipits, 10 Yellow Wagtail, numerous Pied's and a Wheatear with another 2 feeding near the shoreline of the sailing club.
Two distant Hobby’s were over the valve sparring with each other but the walk to rainbow corner only produced the Egyptian Goose and 2 juvenile Ringed Plover. Bob had 2 Raven and a few Goldcrests. Also seen were 6 Buzzard, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, 30 Goldfinch and 2 Chiffchaff heard and by mid-day a lot of the swallows were heading out low over rainbow corner continuing their migration.

At least the defunct visitors centre had some moths with 2 Lunar Underwing, Dusky Thorn and Flounced Rustic though the numerous spider webs present caused the demise of a Canary-shouldered Thorn.

The rain finally arrived mid-afternoon and by early evening the front had cleared to blue skies and sunshine resulting in a movement of Meadow Pipits heading south over the garden with at least 100 counted while a tit flock that went through contained 2 Coal Tit, 11 Long-tailed Tit and one unidentified warbler.

Yesterday was a stay at home day with a chance to catch up with my photos and came across this one taken a when the Curlew Sand was around of the newly formed Midland Birding “mines bigger than yours” Boys Band practicing off hensborough bank, soon to be performing at all good nature reserves and reservoirs soon. Bless


Sunday, 12 September 2010

September 12th 2010

Out with Dave down the Grandborough valley looking for owls but did not find any though we did come across 3 Wheatear and 2 Whinchat on a recently ploughed field near Grandborough Fields, also 2 Buzzard, 2 Raven, 16 Goldfinch and 15 Linnet.
Draycote Water gave us 5 Black Tern, Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit before chatting to the Bumbling Bears who had 5 Ringed Plover and 6 Swift earlier.
Took a chance after breakfast to look at Napton on the Hill but it was quiet on the migrant front with only one Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Willow Warbler present but while enjoying the views we found Sparrowhawk, 12 Buzzard and 16 Raven. Plenty of butterflies with Speckled Wood, Comma, Red Admiral and Large White.


September 11th 2010

A wet night.
Draycote Water had juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit on the wind surfing shoreline, Kittiwake off farborough bank and 6 Black Tern early a.m. before I went off to see some good inland birds that have arrived recently in neighbouring counties and must have put a smile on their finders face.
Eyebrook Reservoir, Leicestershire
Little Stint
South Arm 3, Rutland Water, Rutland
White-winged Black Tern
Whiskered Tern
Purple Sandpiper
Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire
Ferruginous Duck
Pectorial Sandpiper 2

Plus a supporting cast of Black Tern, Black-necked Grebe, Turnstone, Greenshank, Little Egret, Ruff and lots more.


Friday, 10 September 2010

September 10th 2010

Rain held off this afternoon when Dave and I met up with Colin at Draycote and we ambled to hensborough bank. Wind is now westerly and there was not a lot on show though we did manage to find 7 of the 8 Black Terns that were reported in the morning including adult summer plumage bird just starting to moult on the forehead, 4 Ringed Plover, a juvenile Ruff that flew in at 14:45 and a steady stream of hirundines heading south – mostly Swallows with the odd Sand Martin. Also present among 116 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were 2 adult, one juvenile and one 2nd winter Yellow-legged Gull plus 2 Gadwall, Buzzard and Great-spotted Woodpecker. Kept an eye out for the phalarope but no sign of it.

Meanwhile superbob has been clicking away at my moths and I have'nt shared them with you for awhile.

Orange Swift

Pale Eggar

Lime-speck Pug

Brindled Green

Frosted Orange


September 9th 2010

A short early morning look at the pond.
No sign of the Red-necked Phalarope this morning but with hundreds of gulls loafing around I could have missed it. There were 4 Black Tern and 4 Little Gull among the many Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls with at least 3 adult Yellow-legged Gulls. Waders were represent by 7 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank and Greenshank but were scattered between toft and rainbow corner now that hensborough bank has almost dried up as the water level continues to drop. Only other bird of note before I left was a Wheatear.

In the Grandborough valley many of the fields have been harvested and ploughed over with one being used as a post roost by the gulls from Draycote held at least 2 adults, a 3rd winter and 4 juvenile Yellow-legged and 4 Greater black-backed Gull. The fields were also attracting Chaffinches, Linnets, Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Goldfinch, Lapwing and Stock Dove with 10 Tree Sparrow at Grandborough. A visible migration watch from Bush Hill, Flecknoe produced a steady southward passage of Swallows with 568 counted along with 63 Meadow Pipits in 2hrs and a my first for the hill Shelduck with 4 heading towards Draycote Water. Also seen were 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Blackcap, 4 Raven, 5 Buzzard and a Wheatear, another Wheatear was near the railway cottages plus 2 Goldcrest and 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers

Napton Reservoir had Little Egret, 2 Cetties Warbler, Reed Warbler, 2 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, Yellow Wagtail, 4 Raven and 6 Reed Bunting while the Grasshopper Warbler on Napton on the Hill was along the lane to the car park between the horse paddocks and main road. Also seen were at least 6 Spotted Flycatchers along with 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, more Swallows going over while local birds included 6 Raven, 4 Buzzard, Nuthatch, 2 Treecreeper, 7 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 10 Mistle Thrush and 12 Magpie mobbing something in the scrub between the quarry and the old brickyard but whatever was attracting their attention it was well hidden and I never got a glimpse.

Called in on Draycote Water on the way home and fell asleep in the country park waking to a nice tan, new birds seen from this morning were 2, Swift, 5 Shoveler in toft bay and Nuthatch in toft shallows. Arrived home after 13 hours in the field and too tired to blog.

I’m writing this Friday morning and its raining so will try to look for phal later


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

September 8th 2010

It took 90 minutes to locate the Red-necked Phalarope this morning due to low cloud and poor light and not a bad present for The Hornets Nest who had joined us celebrating his 40th Birthday but again it was distant.
Bob and I were more interested in locating the Little Tern that had arrived after we had left yesterday adding it to our respective pond year lists when it flew past us before sitting on Y buoy with 2 of the 3 Black Terns present with two near by feeding first winter Little Gull.
I was chatting with Kath and Max on hensborough bank when my third Hobby of the morning took out a hirundines and though Max describes this photo as a crapograph I think he did well to react so quickly in the time given and the distance involved as it flew away. Earlier Bob and I had 2 juveniles over the country park.

Hobby with a morning snack by Max Silverman

Highlight of another look at the tern and phalarope in the afternoon was the early gathering of the roost which held at least 13 Yellow-legged Gulls (5a 8imm)
Other sightings today were – 4 Yellow Wagtail, Whitethroat, juv Shelduck, Wheatear, 3 Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Goosander, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Great-spotted Woodpecker, a few Sand Martin, 2 Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

September 7th 2010

I was slow off the mark when opening the kitchen blinds at 7am and thought the bird perched above the garden moth trap helping themselves to my moths was a Robin – wrong - when it flew on to the shed roof it was a male Redstart – magic – 2nd garden record and a good start to the day.

After yesterdays fall of inland migrants I was full of anticipation when Bob picked me up and we started planning the day. On a toss of a coin the pond was out first stop and we were near the start of farborough bank scanning the surface when I let out an all mighty yell demanding Bob gets his eyeball down my scope NOW (well words to that affect) and confirm what I already new - RED NECKED PHALAROPE. A pond tick for me, second record for Draycote and my 3rd record for Warwickshire I have always wanted to see it on my patch.

The phal was flighty, constantly flitting short distances and because it was bloody miles away both Bob and I suffered with field of view issues but luckily we managed to stay on it till the first birders arrived, Terry, Dave H, Bob D and John followed Tim, Dennis, Paul and a few others I did not know. Unfortunately it only showed off draycote bank for a short period before spending most of its time out in the centre so Dave H did well to get any images.

Red-necked Phalarope by Dave Hutton - as Dave said in his e-mail its only a record shot but you can tell what it is.

Tim found a Sandwich Tern (year tick) and also present were 2 juvenile Black Tern, juvenile Artic Tern out in the centre and other birds present included Swift, 3 Wheatear, 2 Raven, Hobby, 14 Buzzard, 3 Ringed Plover, 3 Wigeon, 3 Yellow Wagtail and we missed the Grey Plover that Tim and Dave H had going over.

After a celebratory blow out at the Long Itchington Diner where the bacon and eggs flowed freely we plodded around Napton on the Hill mid afternoon meeting up with Terry but it was not the best time of day to look for migrants so only managed 8 Spotted Flycatchers, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, Hobby, Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Grey Heron. After yesterday’s gales and heavy rain the views were stunning.

A very happy


Sunday, 5 September 2010

September 5th 2010

Very little showing as we walked to hensborough bank, Draycote Water early morning in a moderate easterly breeze and only found 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin on hensborough bank.
Luckily the large dark juvenile Peregrine which caused chaos among the gulls and shoreline birds stirred things up a treat and the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper flew in with 3 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin but the 4 Little Stint that followed got the jitters when they saw it perched on draycote bank and flew off west, my last Little Stint at the pond was in 2006. Among the remaining gulls after Perry had left were 3 Little Gulls, 2 Black and 2 Common Tern. A Nuthatch and 3 Goldcrests were in Draycote village.
After breakfast we worked Napton on the Hill as there had been a few migrants seen elsewhere yesterday and with the wind now south east and getting cloudier and duller with the prospect of rain things were looking good. What happened over the next 3 hours was magical – first hour of searching produced single Garden Warbler, Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher and the briefest views of a Redstart but as the drizzle started we headed for the churchyard where we managed a few Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and 4 Spotted Flycatcher near Church Leys Farm.
As someone was visiting a graveyard it was rude to intrude so had a coffee till they left. When we returned twenty minutes late it was pouring and the place was alive with birds. Over the next hour we had at least 50 Chiff/Willows, 3 Garden Warbler, 15+ Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Goldcrest and 3 Blackcap all busy feeding in the trees of the churchyard, around the gravestones, on the roof of the church and in the flowers left by the graveside but the best was Dave finding a Wood Warbler on a headstone before it disappeared into trees. I have witnessed falls in coastal churchyards but this was something special being inland and on your patch but as soon as the rain stopped and the sun came out they left. Also seen were 3 Coal Tit, Nuthatch, 2 Raven, 10 Mistle Thrush and Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Arrived home to find a Deep Brown Dart in my trap – a new garden and county moth for me.


Saturday, 4 September 2010

September 4th 2010

Started the day with a Little Owl perched on the roof top of a house in Northampton Lane, Dunchurch (5:30am) with another at 6am above the boardwalk in toft shallows, Draycote Water being mobbed by Blackbirds, Wren and Dunnocks.

Sunrise from farbough spit - how can you rot in bed and miss this !!!!!

It had been a clear night though not as cold as of late with half the reservoir covered in mist but the sun soon burnt it off. Unfortunately no obvious signs of any new arrivals and the waders on hensborough bank are dwindling in numbers with only 6 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin and a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper left, probably due to a mixture of migrants going straight over and the ledge on hensborough bank drying rapidly as the water levels drop even further.
Continued searching but the only area with any activity was the hedge row between rainbow corner and the lump which had 33 Long-tailed Tits in 3 flocks along with 11 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Jays.
Steve Seal phoned to say he was on his way so I went back to the Curlew Sandpiper and spent the morning with him and the other photographers present (too many to name) chewing the cud.

Curlew Sandpiper by Steve Seal - good to see he has not lost his touch

I’m not in their league so kept an eye out for fly over’s while they clicked merrily away and managed 2 Hobby hunting in the distance plus a near adult Yellow-legged Gull. Only other birds seen were 3 Pintail early morning only, 9 Buzzard, Common Tern, 7 Gadwall and 10 Yellow Wagtail before a few of us went for a coffee and butty.

I ended up as Billy no mates when everyone left so continued birding till early afternoon finding another Hobby over toft shallows and new arrival in the shape of a juvenile Black Tern in toft bay when the cloud came in.
Non-birding sightings were 2 day flying Vapourer Moth, Migrant Hawker and a Fox and some very shapely joggers that none of us noticed going past - honest.


Friday, 3 September 2010

September 3rd 2010

Spotted Flycatcher in a garden along Dunchurch Road Rugby this morning but decided to give the pond a miss choosing to wander south of my patch with Dave this afternoon but all we could find were good numbers of Goldfinch, Buzzard and a Common Sandpiper plus a few Southern and Migrant Hawker dragonflies.
Here are a few more of Dave H and Max's efforts from yesterday.

Curlew Sandpiper juvenile by Dave Hutton (top) and more flight shots captured by Max Silverman


Thursday, 2 September 2010

September 2nd 2010

It was a chilly start at the pond with no wind but gradually warming up to 25c in the afternoon with a light north easterly wind developing mid-day. Some moron has vandalized the hide in toft bay and it is now out of use till repairs are carried out.

Farborough bank looking north with a distant hot air balloon that slowly tried to pass the reservoir very early morning but had to come down behind the purification plant

Birds seen today included:-
Curlew Sandpiper adult and 3 juveniles on hensborough bank
Sanderling juvenile still on hensborough bank
Ringed Plover 12 (8 hensborough and 4 toft bay)
Dunlin 6 all on hensborough bank
Green Sandpiper 2 arrived in toft bay 7:30am
Curlew one over calling heading south 8am
Common Sandpiper 3

Sanderling by Dave Hutton

Adult moulting Curlew Sandpiper by Dave Hutton

Curlew Sandpiper by Dave Hutton
All the hensborough waders were flighty with a lot of interaction among the plovers including partial display.

Waders in flight by Max Silverman

Garganey juvenile off hensborough bank seen with Terry and Mo drifted towards inlet but not found when looked for later.
Little Egret 4 in toft bay soon moved on thanks to grockles walking the shore-line
Goosander female near valve tower
Shelduck juvenile toft bay
Wheatear juvenile on swallow bank
Red Kite one showed 3x early morning flying low between Birdingbury and Bourton Hall
Hobby over country park
Nuthatch calling again from below farborough bank
Spotted Flycatcher in toft bay
Common Tern, adult and juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 9 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, 2 Meadow Pipit, Garden Warbler, Egyptian Goose, 11 Wigeon, 27 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail, 8 Stock Dove and a Swift.

Gold Spot, Common Wainscot, Flounced Rustic, 2 Brimstone and 2 Red Underwing
Migrant Hawker and Southern Hawker
2 Red Admiral, 10 Large White, 3 Green-veined White, 3 Common Blue, Holly Blue, Brimstone and Comma.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

September 1st 2010

Draycote Water was cooking on gas once again with 4 Curlew Sandpiper (3 juvenile 1 adult) being reported by Bob in the morning so after a brief look I completed my neighbours garden and went back again in the evening. The Curlew Sands were on hensborough bank along with Ruff, Sanderling, 8 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin while the inlet had female Goosander, juvenile Wheatear, 3 Willow Warbler and juvenile Spotted Flycatcher.
There was more warbler activity in biggen bay with 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler plus 3 more Spotted Flycatchers on the adjacent golf course. The roost was slow to build up but I eventually found adult winter Med Gull, 5 adult Yellow-legged Gull and adult Caspian Gull between biggen and toft bay.
Also seen were 2 Little Egret, Egyptian Goose, Shoveler, 2 immature Pintail, Gadwall, 33 Teal, 21 Wigeon, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Snipe plus Little Owl near grays barn and a Badger.