Friday, 30 September 2011

September 30th 2011

After a lazy day rotting in the sunshine yesterday this morning found me sitting above the quarry at Napton on the Hill observing the gas clouds of Orion and enjoying a crystal clear night sky waiting for a double pass of the Space Station. The first pass because of the earths shadow appeared out of the dark almost over head before disappearing east while the second was more impressive because she passed just after dawn with Jupiter in the same field of view briefly. While all this was going on both Tawny and Little Owl were heard calling along with a Fox.
Unfortunately the high pressure system in place over the country means the majority of the migrants inland are pushing straight over high so apart from fly over’s there were not many refueling on the hill. Fly over’s in an hour were my first Brambling of the autumn, Redpoll and 2 Siskin along with a trickle of Swallows and Meadow Pipits. The churchyard had 6 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap feeding on the Elderberry while 5 Raven’s croaked over head. Other species included 2 Buzzard, Nuthatch, 3 Coal Tit, 3 Wren and Tree Sparrow.
After meeting up with up with Dave and brunch in the Just So then a look around the Bridge Nursery Garden produced 10 Linnet and a Small Copper before returning to the hill. The very warm conditions on Napton on the Hill brought out the butterflies with 12 Red Admiral, 2 Large White, Small Copper and a Comma but birding was quiet with 4 Chiffchaff, 3 Buzzard and a Raven only.


Thursday, 29 September 2011

September 28th 2011

Little sleep as I was up early getting terrific views of the Space Station going over early then a mid morning ambled down to the station appreciating the heat wave and Tornado's 10 minute stay.
With out the crowds it was a very relaxing affair although some comedian on the station platform staff referred to those waiting for her to arrive as aliens. I managed a few decent photos for a change while she waited for right of way before continuing on to London while earlier Alan had it pass under the road bridge near Brandon Marsh and Colin a wee bit further down the line.

60163 Tornado passing the road bridge near Brandon Marsh by Alan Anscomb

just arrived in Rugby

given the right of way and starting to leave

The Black-necked Grebe is still present at the pond along with Dunlin, Ringed Plover, 2 Shoveler, 5 Wigeon, Pochard, 4 Gadwall and adult and third year Yellow-legged Gull while the Napton Reservoir bird is also still present so two birds on my patch at different locations - magic.

Over the weekend Ashton Roydon Hough arrived on this planet making me a Great Uncle (again) - well I knew I was great any way. Once he's on his feet and can sit on my cross bar he will be in the field.

Last minute invitation to observe how other moth'ers were getting on tonight at Shuckburgh produced 28 species in there traps while I was there including my first Autumnal Rustic, Merveille du Jour, Wax Moth and Red-lined Quaker of the year. I was grateful for not running my own traps as this gave me the time to study the milky way and a few metorites. Tawny Owl heard


September 27th 2011

Took advantage of a light south east wind to look for migrants from the country park, Draycote Water and managed Hobby, Golden Plover east, 40 Skylark south and 20 Meadow Pipit south before a probable Sandwich Tern was seen over the reservoir off the sailing club. At the same time JJ text to say Tim had found 2 Sandwich Tern and a Black-necked Grebe earlier in rainbow so finished off searching the country park finding 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and Whitethroat before trying for better views. Also seen were Black Tern, Yellow Wagtail, Dunlin and Ringed Plover
Gardening in the afternoon produced Sparrowhawk, Raven and Buzzard over plus Large White, Red Admiral and Comma butterflies and the evening spent star gazing till late exploring unfamiliar constellations now I more confident where I’m looking and hoping for a sighting of the northern lights that were being reported but no luck.


Monday, 26 September 2011

September 26th 2011

Black Terns at the pond had increased over night to 18 birds by mid morning but only 2 Arctic and single Common Tern remained from yesterday’s influx unless we missed them while the only waders noted were 11 Dunlin and 9 Ringed Plover. Two Ruffs and a Greenshank were reported. There was a good passage of Skylark’s and Meadow Pipits going down the valley watched from farborough bank but very few went over the reservoir and this movement had dried up by mid-day.
Only other sightings of note were third year Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Buzzard, 3 Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff and a distant Raven.

Main reason for going out today was to get Marks dad cracking view of a Raven and this was achieved at Napton on the Hill with 5 perched together of the 18 seen along with 2 Sparrowhawk and 8 Buzzard. Still plenty of Chiffchaff with at least 20 seen or heard, female Blackcap, 2 Coal Tit among a large tit flock, 2 Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker and Great-spotted Woodpecker. A search for visible migrants from the churchyard produced 2 Swift flying along the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border heading east and a small passage of Swallows south. A Brimstone butterfly flew past and we left with Pa Phillips a happy bunny.

Small Copper

Black-necked Grebe, Sparrowhawk and Raven plus 6 Small Copper were at Napton Reservoir and a couple of more Buzzards seen on the way home.
My kitchen window at home was the place to be at 5pm when a juvenile Peregrine took a feral pigeon only to be robbed by the 15+ corvids that harassed it and later a Sand Martin went over the garden followed by a Siskin.
All three locations today had various numbers of Red Admiral butterflies flying purposely south so presumed on migration.
Mark had shown me his latest phone app earlier in the day which gave the location of all the key stars, constellations, planets and nebulas wherever you point the phone even in day light or below the horizon. Pretty impressive and even more so when he popped around tonight and we spent over an hour exploring the universe above my garden putting names to those I was not sure of before the cloud cover came in. Jupiter was also impressive just starting to rise above the horizon in Aries showing 3 moons in a triangle formation.

Rusty Dot Pearl by Bob Hazel


Sunday, 25 September 2011

September 25th 2011

Dave’s back from his holiday so we played catch up over a coffee while a heavy shower passed over. Once it finished we had time for a walk out to farborough spit, Draycote Water where the rain and southerly winds had brought in a few terns.
Over the next hour we had at least 20 Arctic’s arrive in small groups with some staying and others passing through so could have be more birds involved. They were accompanied by 5 Common Terns which joined the 4 Black Terns already present.
Waders included 16 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 2 Ruff and a Common Sandpiper while the best of the rest was 2 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Reed Bunting, Raven and Sparrowhawk.
On our way to Long Itchington a Hobby flew over Birdingbury Bridge.
Once fed and watered we arrived at Napton on the Hill to the incredible sight of 15 Raven hanging in the air above the church with another 8 further away. Later on we found 10 of the 15 on the ground in the quarry but I doubt if they stayed due to a sponsored motocross due to go through.
Other sightings included 12 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Goldcrest, 3 Mistle Thrush, Green Woodpecker and 2 Buzzard. A Vapourer Moth was also seen.
Not heard of any recent sightings of the Black-necked Grebe so pleased to find it was still at Napton Reservoir when we checked the place out. Only other sightings of interest were 85 Canada Geese, Chiffchaff and a steady stream of Swallows heading south.

Dave trapped a migrant Rusty Dot Pearl last night - will get my man to take snap shots.


Saturday, 24 September 2011

September 24th 2011

Finally caught up with the Grafham Water Sabine’s Gull and Grey Phalarope this morning still attracting plenty of admirers and a timely phone call diverted us to Stanford Reservoir to see the Pectorial Sandpiper. Apprently someone at Stanford said the Sab had gone walk about later in the morning.

Bair's Shoulder-knot

Now showing again - latest passes for the "space shed" although some might be a wee bit to early for some of you.


Friday, 23 September 2011

September 23rd 2011

Did not bother looking for yesterdays Knot as the disturbance from fishermen on the east side of the pond was high today so just checked farborough bank, spit , daisy island and country park. 2 Ruff on island, the 18 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin were very mobile, 2 Greenshank, 2 Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Black Tern, Arctic Tern, 2 Raven, Sparrowhawk, 14 Meadow Pipit, 10 Skylark, 6 Yellow Wagtail, Sand Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, Blackcap and 2 Comma butterflies.

Tornado is due to transfer from the Severn Valley Railway at Kidderminster to Stewarts Lane on Wednesday 28th September leaving at 9:05 and due to arrive at Birmingham International 11:09 departing 11:24 then through Coventry 11:37 before stopping at Rugby 11:55 departing at 12:04. She will then continue south towards London passing Long Buckby 12:17 and Northampton 12:29. All times subject to operational changes.

Another train movement is due to take place on 1st October with 34067 Tangmere going from Carnforth to Southall so should pass through my patch but no times or route published yet.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

September 21st 2011

The 2 Swifts over biggen bay were the highlight of our visit to the pond today and must be one of my latest date I have recorded here.
Still plenty of Ringed Plover and Dunlin scattered around the reservoir but as the water level drops even further farborough bank and spit don’t seem to be to their liking with only 2 on there today. Water level is getting so low s a second island off dunns bay can’t be far off from appearing as its attracting swans, Coots and ducks feeding over it.
Sightings were 3 Greenshank, 18 Dunlin, 23 Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, 3 Black Tern off windsurfing area close inshore due to strength and direction of the wind, 2 Arctic Tern, Goosander, 3 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 40 Teal, 20+ Greylag, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 4 adult Grey Wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit, 10 Sand Martin and 5 Buzzard. The country park had 4 Bullfinch, 4 Chiffchaff, Blackcap and 2 Vapourer Moth.
Both Dave’s and my trap had a varied catch last night with Orange Sallow, 2 Sallow, Rosy Rustic, Brindle Green, 14 Lunar Underwing, 5 Black Rustic, 4 Beaded Chestnut, and Frosted Orange between us.
Out in the afternoon with a look at the Black-necked Grebe at Napton Reservoir but not much else apart from 7 Skylark going over west, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and 4 Raven on Napton on the Hill and a look at Wormleighton produced juvenile Whinchat on the approach road, 17 Tree Sparrow, 2 Corn Bunting, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Coal Tit, Green Sandpiper and Kingfisher. After a walk along the canal and a relaxing meal with friends at Fenny Compton a Barn Owl was hunting the roadside verge of the Southam bypass on the way home.

Andy Hale kindly sent me some photos from Mondays visit to the Scillies - always good to have something to jog the memory and his Sabines Gull means I must go and pay my respects before it goes. How I wish the ones I have seen at the pond had stayed as long.

Black and White Warbler my 296th species for the Scillies from 27 visits spread over 31 years

Red-eyed Vireo - my 9th record for the scillies

Solitary Sandpiper my 2nd record for the scillies - the first in 84

Sabines Gull Gratham Water, Cambridgeshire


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

September 20th 2011

Back to local patch watching and Draycote Water was dire when Bob and I walked out to farborough spit with only 2 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, Greenshank and 2 Black Tern for our efforts but eventually we located the main wader flock between the wind surfing area and inlet with a total count of 26 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover and 2 Little Ringed Plover. Other species seen were adult and juvenile Arctic Tern, juvenile Little Gull, 4 Gadwall, 3 Buzzard, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit and Great-spotted Woodpecker.

John Judge and the Bumbling Bears have done some sterling work to move the bird information board that use to be along the entrance road, to its new location in the country park. Needs a few more touches before it’s finished but once done we intend putting the log book back so would appreciate your records to make this effort worth while. For the time being we are hoping to keep it unlocked as long as we don’t get any vandalism. This weekend was pretty pathetic with no records forwarded to John so I can’t believe a single birder did not visit over the weekend.

Meanwhile I received 2 cracking photos while I was away – the first taken on Sunday by the Bumbling Bears of the Black-necked Grebe at Napton Reservoir and the second last Friday of the Gratham Water, Cambridgeshire Sabine’s Gull by Terry Southgate which is timely as I saw many on Sunday flying down the coast – enjoy.

Well in to autumn moths now and Dave had quite a few of these in his trap this morning along with many Black Rustics and 2 Beaded Chestnuts.

Lunar Underwing by Bob Hazel.


September 17th to 19th 2011

I was already aware that there were a few american waders on the south west peninsular so after looking at last Fridays weather forecast I decided on a sea watching weekend in Cornwall hoping the strong westerly’s would turn north west as predicted
The following morning while watching the Scillionian being prepared for her sailing in Penzance habour I considered a trip to the Scilly Isles but my stomach didn’t fancy a force five so enquired about flights not expecting any luck so pretty chuffed to get them for Monday.
Even more chuffed when I found out that both Northern Waterthrush and Black and White Warbler were on the island.
Rest of weekend taken up with two good sea watching sessions plus visits to Polgigga and Drift Reservoir.
The day on St Mary’s, Isle of Scilly was pure joy with excellent scenary, helpful directions, cracking birds, a mouth watering crab salad washed down with a nice half bottle of wine while half of Warwickshire’s twitching brigade strode past.
Birding highlights were many but the Northern Waterthrush and Black and White Warbler were the icing on a very tasty cake.


Friday, 16 September 2011

September 16th 2011

Black Rustic in my trap last night by Bob Hazel

Wind turned to the east becoming cloudier so I was hoping for some new arrivals when we arrived at the pond but apart from 8 Black Tern and 50 Meadow Pipit it was another quiet visit. The Ringed Plover and Dunlin numbers were difficult to ascertain due to disturbance but estimated at 20 each and I was lucky enough to find the Little Stint with Glen in the corner of hensborough bank and picnic area showing really well and close until some dork of a boat fishermen moored right along side and it buggered off. Other species seen included Greenshank, 5 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Tern, female Goosander, 2 Shoveler, 13 Wigeon, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Grey Wagtail and a lone Swift over biggen bay with the few hirundines that were around. Small Copper in rainbow corner Called in on the Just So where the garden had a Painted Lady and Comma then took Dave to see the Black-necked Grebe but there was no sign of it for twenty minutes until it crept out of the reed bed – showed for twenty seconds and disappeared again. Raven, Sedge Warbler, Buzzard, 3 Teal and 2 Gadwall also present.

short vid of BNG by Paul Cashmore

Had time for a quick look at Napton on the Hill with 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Chiffchaff noted and Mark earlier had 10 Raven.


Thursday, 15 September 2011

September 15th 2011

What a contrast from the beginning of the week – hardly a breath of wind this morning and very mild.
Once my domestic were out the way I joined up with Mark for a walk out to the spit at the pond but with so much disturbance we were wasting our time and did not stay long. The fishermen were flushing many of the waders off the spit and island so only found a single Curlew Sandpiper 11 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover and 3 Greenshank.
The only other birds of note were 5 Buzzard, 8 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, 4 Arctic Tern and juvenile Common Tern.
Please note the Sailing Club Car Park is now closed for development so will presumably mean the sailing fraternity will have to park in the country park and this could mean it being busy at the weekends. Sadly we watched a Bulldozer ripping up the Grizzled Skipper habitat.
Joined Dennis in the Long Itch Diner discussing the merits of a hot breakfast or a dash to Buckinghamshire but the sound of grapefruit fried in bacon dripping convinced us to stay then while D went looking for the BNG at Napton Reservoir we checked out Napton on the Hill where we managed to find 8 Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat, 10 Raven, 7 Buzzard, 10 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, 3 Green Woodpecker, 3 Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 5 Long-tailed Tit and 7 Cormorant over.
Mark was a Just So newbie so treated to a slice of my cake while chatting to Tim, Paul, Dennis and Martin before taking a look at the Black-necked Grebe which was showing well. Also seen was a Sedge Warbler with another heard calling, 7 Buzzard, 2 male Pochard and male Gadwall.

Black-necked Grebe

Butterflies and Dragonflies seen today were Small Tortoiseshell, Green-Veined White, Small White, Comma, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Southern Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Ruddy Darter
The aftermath of the recent gales is still being accessed and Max and Dick have sent me photos of Manx Shearwaters that were found in the county recently.
The first was at Hatton Locks last Tuesday and Wednesday when taken in to care.

The second was found in a garden in or near Rugby. I don’t have the full details but its being cared for with plans to release it on the coast.

Makes you wonder how many poor unfortunates were brought in on the storms and ended up where they are not found.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

September 14th 2011

Mondays Gannet was found dead by Roger one of the rangers yesterday while he was litter picking in biggen bay so Bob, Keith and Pete checked it over this morning while doing the circuit in case it had any rings on – what a sad end to a superb bird.

Gannet by Bob Hazell

The wind had died down and the only new arrivals were a Redshank and a few Arctic Terns with the 2 Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint remaining either on the island or spit. Other waders included 18 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and at least 5 Greenshank.


No sign of the Black Tern but the Arctic Terns had increased to 4 with 9 reported mid-day accompanied by 2 Common Tern.
Other species included the elusive juvenile Shag flying towards the valve tower, 2 Hobby performing over the windsurfing area, White Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 10+ Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Swift, 4 Shoveler, 30+ Teal, 2 Wigeon, 5 Buzzard, Raven and 50+ Sand Martin.

Southern Hawker by Bob Hazell in toft shallows

With the Black-necked Grebe attracting so many visitors to Napton Reservoir not surprisingly plenty of other species were seen today with Rock Pipit, 4 Raven, Hobby, Yellow Wagtail and Tree Sparrow.
As the wind died down juvenile Stonechat and 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and 4 Chiffchaff were on Napton on the Hill

Dave surprisingly trapped a late Small Scallop last night - only his second garden record.

If you are bored put your coat on and look at the moon - stunning - milky way should be good later as well as Jupiter.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

September 13th 2011

Not surprisingly the tinternet was busy with every man and his scope trying to predict what might turn up next although as the night progressed it was turning out to be more of a want list than weather related, personally I was in the Leaches Petrel or Gray Phalarope camp.
With the wind relenting in the night, almost full moon and clear sky’s I wasn’t holding me breath when we arrived at the pond just after 8:30am though the wind speed increased through out our 5 hour visit with an average 15 to 20mph occasionally gusting over 30mph.
Our walk towards farborough spit produced overnight arrivals of 2 juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and an increase in Dunlin and Ringed Plover numbers with 18 and 14 recorded with possible more dotted around the reservoir. Also seen were 3 Greenshank, Common Sandpiper and Little Stint.
We were just reaching toft shallows when news reached us that Tim and Paul had found a Manx Shearwater but as we were unable to locate it from our position we doubled back and joined them at the wind surfing area where we eventually saw it. The bird spent most of its time keeping low in the water between B & Y buoy and the valve tower so was always distant preferring to swim and rarely showing well.

juvenile Shag by Bob Hazel

Other species seen today were juvenile Shag which was again on farborough bank before moving to rainbow corner, White Wagtail on farborough bank which could have been Sundays bird, adult and juvenile Arctic Tern, 2 Common Tern including one posing on the picnic area shore line, Black Tern, 10 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 100+ Sand Martin, 5 Swift, Buzzard and Little Ringed Plover in the wind surfing area.

juvenile Common Tern by Bob Hazel

We had been lucky in missing the predicted rain so called it a day when it eventually arrived just as Tim rang to say he had a Black-necked Grebe at Napton Reservoir so by the time we arrived it was nice and sunny and the juvenile was showing against the reed bed but would not pose for photos. A Hobby hunted over our heads and we had 11 Raven together plus another 2 over Napton on the Hill, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard also seen.


Monday, 12 September 2011

September 12th 2011

The wind played a key feature today at the pond with averages speeds well over 35mph making viewing and walking difficult occasionally gusting over 45mph while in the night a gust of 54mph was recorded locally.
A Hobby was over the country park on our arrival followed by a Sparrowhawk doing its best to end the life of a Goldfinch and a juvenile Shag by the fishing pontoons showing well before it become elusive.
Wader numbers and variety were disappointing on the point with only Greenshank, 9 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and Little Stint while out in the centre Black and Common Tern remained.
While Bob did his circuit I doubled back to rainbow corner adding 10 Swift, 200+ Sand Martin, Wheatear, 11 Yellow Wagtail and 4 Meadow Pipit but there were no sign of yesterdays Red-crested Pochard though close views of immature Merlin and Peregrine along hensborough bank more than made up for it. The long staying female Goosander was on the inlet.

A cracking shot of the Wheatear by Dave Hutton

After 4 hours and convinced we would not get anything good coming in we were just approaching Dunchurch on our way home when a phone call from Martin and Paul via JJ that a Gannet had just arrived has us doing a u turn and we soon joined them on farborough spit to watch a superb adult.

adult Gannet by Dave Hutton
It was very active and we stayed another 90 minutes though it never came close in after its arrival though Dave Hutton did managed to get a shot over lin croft point. It was joined by 2 Common Tern and a single Arctic Tern as the wind increased. Earlier Paul and Martin had a Red Underwing while a few Small White, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral showed in the sheltered areas.


September 11th 2011

With the gates opening twenty minutes late our anticipation was unfounded. A blustery morning at the pond produced Black Tern, 2 Common Tern, 16 Dunlin, 9 Ringed Plover, 3 Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, 3 Greenshank 3 Common Sandpiper, Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, 10 Swift, 2 Raven and a Sparrowhawk. We had left when Dave H rang with news of 3 Red-crested Pochard in rainbow corner.
Napton on the Hill was hard work as the wind increased but we managed a count of 30 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 8 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, 3 Raven and 2 Buzzard. Migrant Hawker in the churchyard.
In the afternoon I went over to Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire to see the Pectorial Sandpiper plus Slavonian Grebe and Black-necked Grebe while near by Hollywell Reservoir had Curlew Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank.
An evening vist to the pond produced a juvenile Little Tern but nothing of note in the roost.


Saturday, 10 September 2011

September 10th 2011

Telephone calls last night backed up with photos have some of us thinking the pond may have had 2 Manx Shearwaters over the 7th and 8th. Certainly the photos show a difference in the under wing of the bird seen after mid-morning on the 7th and the one on the 8th while I’m trying to hunt down the photographer who was present when we first found the Manx on the 7th as this bird may have been the one reported by walkers as being killed by a Greater black-backed Gull as this bird appeared a lot duskier than the other two.
Interestingly of the 13 records involving 14 birds I have at the pond I have never had one stay longer than a day and the only previous multiple record was when 2 appeared in September 88 with one of those being taken in to care after being found on the shore-line of the inlet.
Out with Dave for breakfast in Wood Street then we ambled down to the railway station joining JJ and Alfie waiting for Tornado. She sounded brilliant as she approached the platform still traveling at speed and even better when leaving standing just feet away.

Tornado arriving platform 2 Rugby Station bang on time - Dave Cox

Preparing to leave
Back home and it was another good night for the moths after a record braking overnight minimum temperature of 18c in my garden with Sallow, Orange Sallow and Lunar Underwing new for the year. Unfortunately I was out all day and the same tomorrow so could not meet with Bob to take photos hence a few from the library

Red Underwing


Orange Sallow

A late visit to the pond produced 2 adult Yellow-legged Gull, Black Tern, Greenshank, Litte Stint, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 3 Wigeon, 3 Wheatear, 6 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Siskin with many hirundine heading south.


Friday, 9 September 2011

September 9th 2011

Last night was mild, little wind and clear so Dave and I decided to leave the pub early for Lawford Heath hoping to see the supernova that’s on view but at 11th magnitude we could not pick it out amongst the trillions of stars on show. On the way we had a Barn Owl and a Fox cross the road in front of us between Cubbington and Weston under Wetherly.
On the heath we were treated to stunning scope views of the moon craters (probably the best views I have ever had), the dark belts of cloud parallel to the equator on Jupiter plus 4 of its moons, 3 satellites picked out heading north, 2 meteorites flashed past overhead and numerous constellations on show. Lady luck was on our side as we also heard Little Owl, saw 2 more Barn Owls between Rookery Hall and Lawford Lodge and at the junction of ling lane and lawford heath lane we had a Tawny Owl perched in the car headlights for a couple of minutes.
The mild night brought out the moths which have suffered this month with 25 species from 160 moths in my garden trap with Pink-barred Sallow new for the year.
Out with Dave this afternoon and we managed to find 2 Grass Snakes, Ruddy Darter and Migrant Hawker at the Bridge Nursery pond then moved on to Napton on the Hill where we had 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, Swift, Hobby, 4 Buzzard, Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit and Nuthatch. Also Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and 5 Small White butterflies were seen.
Heads Up – a deep area of low pressure is due to track across the UK this weekend followed by the remnants of Hurricane Katia so we will be in for some wet and windy weather.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

September 8th 2011

The Manx Shearwater stayed overnight but was not very active preferring to stay off farborough bank at various distances for most of this mornings visit.
Most of yesterday’s waders were still present along farborough bank or on the spit with Ruff, 7 Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin, 3 Greenshank, juvenile Knot, juvenile Turnstone, juvenile Little Stint, juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Common Sandpiper. Other sightings included 26 Graylag, Reed Bunting, 20 Swift, 3 Wheatear, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Raven, 2 Buzzard, 3 Little Gull, Common Tern and 3 Black Tern
After brunch with Bob and April at the Long Itch diner Mark and I had a look at Napton on the Hill and managed 5 Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Nuthatch, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Hobby and 6 Raven.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

September 7th 2011

A few like minded folk were on farborough bank as soon as the gates opened hoping that yesterdays gales which continued as blustery overnight would have brought in something. In what turned out to be a cracking day the following were seen at the pond in 3 visits today.

Manx Shearwater: I was lucky enough to spot one while standing with Colin, Mark and Tim minutes after our arrival about 500 yards off shore. It occasional came closer in the morning but by the afternoon was much more obliging. At one stage it was claimed to have been eaten by a Greater Black-backed Gull but on our second visit I found it quiet happily resting off the sailing club and it was still present at 5:30pm.
Little Gull: juvenile out in centre
Black Tern: juvenile out in centre
Common Tern: 7 arrived mid-day
Hobby: Mark spotted 2 over lin croft point and not surprisingly they took great interest in the hundreds of hirundines present.
Ruff: one on farborough bank
Ringed Plover: 3 on farborough spit
Little Ringed Plover: 2 on farborough spit
Dunlin: 11 either on farborough bank or spit
Greenshank: 2
Knot: juvenile on farborough spit
Curlew Sandpiper: juvenile found by the Bobs in the afternoon on farborough bank
Little Stint: juvenile on farborough spit
Turnstone: juvenile farborough bank
Common Sandpiper: minimum of 3 present
Swift: 25+
Swallow 500
House Martin 400
Sand Martin 200
Wheatear: 2 on farborough and toft bank
Yellow Wagtail: at least 10 present
Raven: 2
Buzzard: 3

We also had time to visit Napton Reservoir which had
Reed Warbler
Chiffchaff 2
Sand Martin 20
Raven 2
Buzzard 3
Grey Wagtail

Magic and it starts all over again tomorrow


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

September 6th 2011

Gusts of up to 50mph winds were recorded locally in the night as a south westerly weather front went through but I took the opportunity of a lift to Farmoor reservoir, Oxfordshire to see the juvenile White-winged Black Tern that was still present along with 4 Black Tern and a Black-necked Grebe.
On the way back we called in on Avon Dassett where despite the difficulty of walking in the strong winds we found a Whinchat and Wheatear being battered by the conditions while nearby Wormleighton Reservoir had 2 Corn Bunting, 12 Tree Sparrow, Kingfisher, 3 Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and Common Sandpiper.
Just in time for a late lunch in the Long Itch diner then on to Napton on the Hill where anything avian was hunkered down and not showing so had a look at the reservoir where there was also very little to report so moved on to the pond.
Despite the blustery conditions a walk out to the valve tower produced adult Yellow-legged Gull, Swift, Redshank, 2 Greenshank, Ruff, 4 Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover. On the way back a Grey Plover circled calling.

Red Underwing

LNER A1 Class 4-6-2 no 60163 Tornado will be pulling the Cathedral Express from London Euston to Chester on Saturday 10th September. Key times locally will have her arriving in Northampton at 09:48 and leaving at 09:58, arriving in Rugby 10:24 leaving at 10:26 and Nuneaton will see here arrive at 10:42 and depart 10:57. On her return she is due in Rugby at 18:48 departing at 19:00. All times subject to change.


September 5th 2011

Yesterdays Little Stint found at the pond by the Bumbling Bears gave me the run around this morning eventually getting a brief view of it on the north shore near lin croft point after a juvenile Peregrine had beaten up the place. Overall a quiet visit with 3 Ringed Plover 2 Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, 8 Dunlin, 4 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Wheatear, Blackcap and 7 Yellow Wagtail.
A visit to Napton on the Hill was hampered by the wind picking up so only a single Spotted Flycatcher found and very little else though 12 Tree Sparrow near the entrance to Napton Reservoir was worth noting and the reservoir its self had Water Rail, Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Reed Warbler and Yellow Wagtail.


September 4th 2011

Mindful that Dave needed a change of scenery and I needed to get out the house – dead or alive we decided to have breakfast in Kings Lynn, Norfolk before pushing on to the RSPB Reserve at Titchwell.
Amazingly at 8am we almost had the reserve to ourselves and managed a 4 Little Egret, 3 Marsh Harrier and 2 Cetties Warbler as we walked the kilometer long footpath to the coast.
The sea was calm which enabled us to easily pick out the female Long-tailed Duck just starting to come out of summer plumage while on the horizon there were plenty of Gannets being mobbed by skua's with one – a Pomarine eventually coming in close and landing on the sea in front of us.
Other coastal activity included Arctic Skua, 50 Sandwich Tern, 10 Common Tern, 2 Black Tern, Red-throated Diver, 20 Wigeon, 25 Common Scoter and a single Harbour Porpoise.
On our return 2 Spoonbill flew in from Thornham while among the many waders species present were 9 Spotted Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 6 Avocet, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper.
We spent sometime ambled around the back roads slowly heading towards Kings Lynn just seeing a few Red-legged Partridge until an Osprey flew low over the car – magic.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

September 3rd 2011

Thursday's effort to the pond backfired and I have not been out since so having to rely on the moth trap and updating records to keep me sane. Dave is now on 565 for his garden and I'm way behind on 513.

Feathered Gothic - 2nd record for Dave's garden

Centre-barred Sallow - a common autumn moth now starting to appear

Dusky Thorn

I have no idea on this one - although worn there's enough markings hopefully for someone out their to nail it down for me but at the momemnt my brain ain't working. Dose'nt look right for Turnip or Dark Swordgrass. All photos by Bob Hazel

Hopefully normal service will resume tomorrow - Ive missed 3 year ticks on the patch already.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

September 1st 2011

Still under the weather but not the right time of the year to be ill so decided to walk my flu off with an early morning visit to the pond which produced 15 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Greenshank, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Dunlin, 2 Ruff and Turnstone between visitor centre, farborough spit and daisy island with a Whimbrel over heading west. Also present were Black Tern, Buzzard, 5 Raven, Wheatear, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Shoveler, immature Pintail, female Goosander, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 11 Blackcap and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker. On leaving a juvenile Whinchat was found in toft shallows near the hide along with a couple of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warbler.
Back home and a small movement of Buzzards were going west over the garden with 5 counted along with 2 Raven and a Hobby between 11-12am.

The above notices are dotted around the pond and looks as if ST are finally getting off their sorry arse's and doing something to improve the place so expect the place to turn in to a building site any day now.


August 30th 2011

Went for short walk with Colin to the pond but no energy or enthusiasm – Hobby, 2 Dunlin, Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper and Artic Tern with 5 Spotted Flycatcher and 8 Mistle Thrush on Napton on the Hill.