Monday, 31 October 2011

October 31st 2011

An early message from Keith regarding 12+ Crossbills at Napton Reservoir meant Bob and I started the day there but alas they had pushed off so we carried on to Draycote Water.
It was a quiet visit with 9 Dunlin, Ringed Plover, 10 Pochard, 8 Goldeneye, immature male and 4 female Goosander and 40 Linnet and we had just decided to leave when a 100 Golden Plover circled the reservoir for 15 minutes before moving off south west.

Back home and this current warm spell brought in Yellow-lined Quaker, Grey Shouldered-knot, Large Wainscot, Juniper Carpet, Blair’s Shouldered-knot, Merveille du Jour and record counts for the garden of 5 Feathered Thorn and 3 Sprawler over the weekend.


Grey Shouldered-knot

Feathered Thorn

all pics by Bob Hazel


October 30th 2011

The weather was not kind to us but we still had a stunning visit to the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line running between Alton and Alresford, Hampshire with additional stations at Ropley and Medstead. We were allowed access to the Ropley sheds and yards as well as unlimited travel and with 9 engines in steam we were well occupied as were the large crowds that soon gathered when any of them arrived. After all the times I have seen 60163 Tornado go past it was a pleasant change to be a passenger in the first coach behind her and she sounded great doubled up with 4492 Dominion of New Zealand for our journey back from Alton to Ropley.

Not birding weather but did record 5 Red Kite, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and a party of Redwing.


Friday, 28 October 2011

October 28th 2011

Finally a chance to play catch up with my blogging after a busy week of travels

Space shed is due over a few times in the next few days so hopefully I don't put the kiss of death on the clear spell we are due tonight.

Dick kindly sent me this pic of the Black Prince at Sheringham Station last weekend which reminds me if your in the Alton, Hampshire area over the weekend they are holding a steam gala on the Watercress Line with at least 8 engines in steam. Me and the gang of three will be there.

Despite the rain my moth trap has produced 2 Silver Y and 2 Dark Sword Grass in the last few days so still a few migrant moths around.


October 27th 2011

Having seen the female Pied Wheatear in Gloucestershire at Oldbury on Severn we decided to come home via the fosse way so we could check the high ground at Ilmington in the south of the county. Once upon a time this was a regular place to visit for migrants before discovering Napton on the Hill could be just as productive. With the rain ceasing for awhile we managed a good passage of Linnet, Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit, smaller numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing and amongst them were Siskin and Brambling. Called in on Draycote Water just as the heavens opened so got one hell of a soaking and only saw Rock Pipit, 4 Dunlin, female Goosander and Shelduck before giving up. Paul had a good passage over Napton on the Hill including Swallow.


October 26th 2011

Two Barn Owls were seen as we passed the Wisbech area before another go at visible migration this time off Hunstanton Cliffs, Norfolk with Dave where there was a good passage of bird dominated by Starlings and Chaffinches hugging the coast.
In a one hour watch we had
Starling 1567
Chaffinch 885
Linnet 150
Meadow Pipit 50
Skylark 40
Lapwing 30
Siskin 5
Snow Bunting 2
Marsh Harrier 2 juveniles eventually made it after struggling to reach the coast
Lapland Bunting 1
The tide was going out so things became distant but managed 2 Gannet, 7 Red-throated Diver, 5 Common Scoter, 10 Great-crested Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Guillemot and Long-tailed Duck.
Titchwell was basking in sunshine so our walk to the coast was very pleasant but the birding was poor with only the Yellow-browed Warbler saving the visit.


October 25th 2011

With the south easterly’s continuing but not as strong as yesterday and the occasional rain shower over night I decided to do a visible migration watch from Flecknoe Hill. As the rain front drifted away leaving clearer sky’s there was a steady passage of birds mainly on a north east to south west tract.
Starling 1400
Redwing 243
Wood Pigeon 300
Skylark 125
Meadow Pipit 67
Chaffinch 156
Fieldfare 45
Greenfinch 18
alba Wagtails 16
Linnet 12
Brambling 4
Siskin 3
Lesser Redpoll 2
Grey Wagtail 1
Local birds included 3 Raven, Jay, 4 Buzzard, Blackcap, Great-spotted Woodpecker and 24 Stock Dove while the pond had 4 Goldeneye, 7 Reed Bunting 8 Dunlin, 24 Lapwing, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Pochard and 3 Siskin.
Back home after a heavy thunderstorm a Red Kite drifted over the garden mobbed by corvids heading east.


October 24th 2011

It was a toss up between the south or north west coast so Spurn, Humberside won enjoying a productive day despite the very strong south east winds which made birding difficult at times and the walk out to the point hard going. No big numbers but plenty of species on the move with the highlights for me being Pallas’s Warbler, Shore Lark, Short-eared Owl, Pomarine Skua, Great Skua, Purple Sandpiper, Jack Snipe, Black Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Woodcock, Merlin and a passage of Little Gulls.


October 23rd 2011

A frustrating day battling the strong south to south east winds looking for migrants over Burton Dassett hills and Napton on the Hill. A good passage of Chaffinch, Starling, Linnet, Greenfinch, Redwing and Fieldfare but could not get enough on a possible Ring Ouzel or Crossbill over BD.


Saturday, 22 October 2011

October 22nd 2011

The crescent moon and Jupiter were just visible amongst the broken cloud as I arrived on Lawford Heath hoping for an owl and wasn’t disappointed. The first was a Tawny perched in the over hanging canopy on ling lane at 6am followed by a distant view of a Barn Owl going over the western end of the tip at 6:40am.
As day break arrived there were plenty of gulls arriving from there roost at Draycote Water with 2 adult and a first winter Yellow-legged Gull found once the light had improved plus good numbers of Common Gull amongst the many hundreds of Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gull present..
The wind was a light south east before freshening so hunkered down for a migration watch and in 2 hours recorded
Skylark 89 majority going south east in small groups
Woodpigeon 330 including local birds
Goosander female heading for Draycote Water
Teal 2 west
Greenfinch 21
Golden Plover 46 very high heading north west
Fieldfare 120
Redwing 12
Starling 234 including local birds
Meadow Pipit 12
Chaffinch 27
Merlin 1 went through 9:15 heading west and made no attempt to hunt
Siskin 5 south
Local birds included Tree Sparrow, 2 Red-legged Partridge, Corn Bunting, 25 Skylark, 9 Yellowhammer, 6 Reed Bunting, 12 Linnet, 11 Pied Wagtail, Treecreeper, 4 Buzzard, 2 Raven and 3 Sparrowhawk plus 4 Golden Plover in stubble field along with 60+ Chaffinch.

A “I think I have a phalarope” call had me dashing to the pond early afternoon – wont embarrass the finder as the plastic bottle was still bobbing up and down when I arrived but at least he was observant and more than pleased with the ringtail Hen Harrier that flew over toft farm and down the valley. Not much else to report as I did not stay long, 3 Dunlin, Ringed Plover 6 Reed Bunting and Siskin.


Friday, 21 October 2011

October 21st 2011

Dave and I met up in the afternoon for our last coffee and cake of the season at The Just So café then a wander around Napton on the Hill. The Hill had 2 very large tit flocks roaming over a large area containing at least 20 Goldcrest, 50 Long-tailed Tit and 2 Nuthatch while above our heads were 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard but only one Raven.
Moved on to Napton Reservoir but could not find the Black-necked Grebe, just 28 Wigeon noted but did have a nice flock of 80 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing feeding and drinking in nearby stream.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

October 20th 2011

Draycote is at 48% capacity so as the shore line recedes further away the exposed mud is becoming hazardous with notices now displayed warning fishermen after one became trapped on Tuesday. Unfortunately this local ramblers group couldn’t give a toss about there own safety or the birds they flushed out of biggen bay.

Six more Whooper Swans appeared over the country park and landed off the inlet but there visit did not last long when a fishing boat pushed them off and they flew over toft bay heading east and could have been the same flock reported at Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire. Bob rushed round for a quick record shot just in time.

Other sightings included 23 Golden Plover heading south, 237 Great-crested Grebe, 43 Mute Swan, 90 Skylarks over in small groups, 3 female Goosander, 14 Buzzard, 3 Raven and 5 Dunlin.

Met up with friends in Cubbington for beers and holiday stories of Scilly and Fair Isle now that everyone is back and they put me right on the Bulrush Wainscot pictures I published earlier in the week – should be Large Wainscot. On the way home we had a Tawny Owl perched side of the road near Princethorpe.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

October 19th 2011

Three Brambling flew over the garden just after first light.
Had the makings of another poor visit to the pond till a phone call from Bob doing his circuit while I was in the country park livened things up. Whooper Swans heading towards you he shouted but I couldn’t spot a bloody thing and while I was frantically searching the buggers had flown behind me and called just in time before my heart gave out. The flock of 15 (poss only one juvenile) flew back over the reservoir before leaving for the south east. Might be the same flock seen at Daventry Country Park later in the day.

Only record shots with my box brownie half a mile away

Also present was a Turnstone on the inlet, first winter Yellow-legged Gull, 2 female Goosander, Ringed Plover, 8 Buzzard, 3 Raven and a female Scaup. The Scaup had been present since Monday but distant and elusive and I am never 100% sure till the nail is nailed (couldn’t find it yesterday) so luckily had good views of it in rainbow corner.

Turnstone by Bob Hazel

Only a trickle of migrants over - mainly Skylark with the odd Redwing and Linnet.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

October 18th 2011

After heavy rain and strong winds last night the sky’s cleared and the mercury dropped so dug out the long johns before venturing out to the pond with Bob.

I had 2 more Short-eared Owls at the pond.

The first came in from the North West at 09:40 over farborough spit and flew towards toft hill where the local corvids saw it on its way and it continued towards the A45/Only Prison area and appeared to go down. The second also came in at 11:15 from the north west over Bourton Hall towards the valve tower where the local Rooks ganged up on it and escaped north over the golf course. Because both birds came in from the same direction and at some height I don’t think they were yesterday’s bird but probably individuals from last week’s influx re-orientating themselves.
Only other highlight was a House Martin heading south over the country park other wise a quiet breezy visit with only 2 Goldeneye, 2 Goosander and 7 Buzzard entered in my notebook.

Out with Mark and Pa Phillips down the valley tonight where there is less light pollution to look for various objects in the night sky with very good views of the Andromeda Galaxy which is the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way and is approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth. Well worth looking for despite it being very cold and we had at least 3 meteorites including one with a fiery tail.


Monday, 17 October 2011

October 17th 2011

I was chatting to Dave Hutton at Draycote Water when a Short-eared Owl dropped out of the sky harassed by a Crow and headed for the country park. Dave relocated it resting before it hid itself in a clump of grass. Unfortunately despite frantic efforts to stop them approaching it was flushed by a dog walker and flew out of sight and not seen again.

Short-eared Owl by Dave Hutton

A Draycote tick for Dave and a few frantic phone calls got Bob on to the bird as he was doubling back. Up until then the visit had been dire with only 2 female Goosander on farborough spit for our efforts while the increasing south west wind (gusts over 40mph this evening) put a stop to any visible migration.
Tried looking for yesterdays Red-crested Pochard but the fishermen were all over hensborough bank and rainbow corner so stayed in the picnic area and the highlight here was a male Merlin flying low past me just feet away plus 4 Goldeneye, another 2 female Goosander and a distant wader flock on inlet. A good count of Great-crested Grebe with 227 recorded.

Bulrush Wainscot by Bob Hazel


Sunday, 16 October 2011

October 16th 2011

My local area was covered in mist early morning so decided to go to Burton Dassett hills and had a good visible migration for 2 hours before it started to dwindle. Wind had turned to the south west but very light and 1500 birds logged though only half were identified with Redwing and Chaffinch in the majority followed by good numbers of Fieldfare, Siskin, Linnet, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Blackbird while other species included Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Lesser Redpoll. Missed the Crossbills the Oxford duo had (good to see you again Gareth), couldn’t clinch a possible Twite, 3 Swallow and 2 Wheatear feeding near the car park.
Napton on the Hill had a fall of Chaffinch with many feeding up before pushing on and a few Redwing and Siskin over. Very little else apart from 5 Buzzard, 7 Raven and 17 Long-tailed Tit.
Martin had this Vulcan Bomber go over the hill.

Napton Reservoir had the Black-necked Grebe, 20 Wigeon and 3 Pochard but missed the Dunlin that went through.
Dave trapped 2 Bulrush Wainscot Friday and 2 Merveille du Jour last night other wise moth catches are very low with only 3 in my trap this morning.
Looks like Draycote’s Spoonbill which left 9:30 Saturday morning and flew over the other side of town to pitch up at Stanford Reservoir on the Northamptonshire/Leicestershire border so could have gone over my garden (I wish).

The Milky Way is showing well tonight.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

October 15th 2011

It was a stunning morning if you were out and about early with my first frost of autumn, low lying mist and both Jupiter and our moon fighting for attention as we waited patiently trackside at Wormleighton for 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe hauling a Solihull to Bristol special to come thundering past.

Again overnight migration soon dwindled after mid-morning but managed 200 Redwing, 50 Fieldfare and 2 Siskin over an almost empty reservoir while locally there were Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Tree Sparrow, Nuthatch and my first Lesser-spotted Woodpecker for the location for many a year. We were standing by the level crossing when it flew over and returned 20 minutes later so probably been experiencing the delights of a local feeding station.
After breakfast we searched Napton on the Hill for migrants but apart from 40 Redwing feeding and a few going over along with Skylark and Fieldfare it was not until late morning that things warmed up with a passage of raptors. In a 40 minute spell 15 Buzzard went over high in singles along with 3 Sparrowhawk and immature Marsh Harrier all heading south and taking no interest in the local populations. Also seen were 12 Raven, 9 Long-tailed Tit and 2 Goldcrest.
The Bridge Nursery gardens had 2 Sothern Hawkers, Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Copper and 3 local Buzzards while the Lemon Meringue Cake in the Just So was scrumptious.
A later afternoon look at the pond produced a calling Snow Bunting over farborough spit but the Spoonbill had long gone, 2 Goldeneye, 23 Wigeon, 2 Dunlin, 2 female Shoveler, Grey Wagtail, 5 Reed Bunting and 2 Siskin. Had considered staying for the roost but with another clear night temperatures were dropping fast so left sharpish but couldn't resist another star gazing session later. Might as well enjoy it as the cloud cover is due to come back next week.

Dave Hutton kindly sent me these images of the Spoonbill and the Napton reservoir Black-necked Grebe which is still present Website Birds & Insects etc Seeswood Pool & Beyond Blog Rare & Scarce Birds Blog


Friday, 14 October 2011

October 14th 2011

With south easterlies and broken cloud overnight I abandoned my domestics and did a visibly migration watch with a steady stream of migrants going over my garden. My final count in two and half hours was 18 Fieldfare, 55 Redwing, 189 Skylark, 25 Meadow Pipit, Brambling, 5 Siskin, 15 Chaffinch, 25 Linnet, and a Swallow.
Just packing up and getting ready to look at the pond with Mark when a text from Kevin asking what do I know about a Spoonbill at the pond. A quick call to check on what he knew then another to Bob who was at the pond so by the time Mark and I were passing Dunchurch at warp factor five Bob had legged it to the north shore and rang to say he had it on the other side of reservoir. Another quick call to JJ on Scilly to contact those whose numbers I don’t have then it was speedy walk from the top car park to hensborough bank where the juvenile Spoonbill showed really well. As the crowd grew to 25 souls it fed actively until a fishing boat encroached on the accompanying duck flock and flushed it. Luckily despite climbing towards draycote bank it returned and seemed settled when we left. Golden Plover heard and a few Skylarks over but did not give the reservoir any real attention though a Small Copper is worth a mention that landed in front of us.
Many thanks to Kath who after hearing about it got the ball rolling and to Bob who’s effort in seeing it meant a very long walk to back to hensborough in warm temperatures before he could enjoy it.

Gave Napton Reservoir a look hoping for a Bearded Tit to have joined the Black-necked Grebe but it was not to be. At least 3 Buzzards went over high plus another 5 local birds and 18 Wigeon present but no visible migration as the wind had changed.
Joined up with Dave in the Just So – what the hell are we going to do when she closes for the winter next Friday. We will all be skinny by next spring – god forbid. Tried our luck on Napton on the Hill but it was very quiet – almost birdless and only 2 Raven and a few Red Admirals to keep us occupied though very peaceful.

Tonight has been the first clear night for ages so Mark helped me put the family on to the Equuuleus Constellation and all the time we were hearing hundreds of Redwings going over.


Thursday, 13 October 2011

October 13th 2011

A Crossbill flew over the garden at 8:10am heading east while a steady movement of Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Redwing also passed over.
Mark and I decided to stay in the county despite the Daventry Country Park Northamptonshire Grey Phalarope being reported (thanks Kevin) as it had the makings of a good day locally.
Unfortunately the pond was not going to be the place to be apart from the arrival of a female Red-crested Pochard and a good passage of Skylark and Redwing overhead it felt dead. Not helped by hundreds of joggers and fishermen. There was no sign of the Little Stint on farborough spit or the island and the only wader present was a Dunlin while 3 Rock Pipit and the Black Tern remained.

male Shoveler

female Red-crested Pochard

female Goosander
all pics by Bob Hazel

Napton on the Hill was a more like it with an increase in Blackbirds, Mistle Thrush and Chaffinch numbers while overhead at least 250 Redwing, 40 Fieldfare and 2 Brambling along with smaller numbers of Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch and Skylark were all heading south. Because the wind was lighter there were only a few Raven present until 17 appeared so now I wish I had counted them all – must at least 25 in the area. Other bird’s seen included Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and 2 Nuthatch while Paul and Martin had more Fieldfare and Redwing over and a large Long-tailed Tit flock before we arrived.

The long staying Black-necked Grebe was at Napton Reservoir joined by 10 Wigeon while overhead the thrush passage continued early afternoon with another 150+ Redwing, 20+ Fieldfare, 2 Swallow and 2 Snipe.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

October 12th 2011

It was a boring visit to the pond so thank god for Goodyear to liven things up.

Earlier while waiting for Bob Pied Wagtail, Siskin, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch and Linnet all headed south in small numbers over my estate while at the pond the most numerous migrant was Skylark with 55 recorded. Only other note worthy migrants were 4 Redwing and 2 Swallow.
We could only find one Little Stint while 4 Rock Pipits were still on the banks and both Black and Arctic Tern were in toft bay as the wind abated and 9 Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plover were on the spit. Other sightings were Raven, 4 Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 6 Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff and Green Woodpecker.

I had forgotten I had taken this last Sunday - nothing special but the blobs are Raven on Napton on the Hill. Only mentioning it as Bob and I could see 10 Raven by the mill today from toft bank 4 miles away due to the clear visibility.

Clear skies tonight so Jupiter and 3 of its moons showing well and the moon its self is worth exploring.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

October 11th 2011

Despite the arrival of a second though difficult to see Little Stint (north shore of island) it was a disappointing visit considering how strong the wind was with virtually the same birds present as mentioned in my last three blogs (no sign of Arctic Tern). The Black Tern, 3 Rock Pipit, 5 Dunlin and Ringed Plover were all off farborough or toft bank while Bob confirmed the Ruff and 3 female Goosander were still around on the west side of reservoir.
I tried a two hour stint of visible migration but apart from a Fieldfare there was very little going over with a lone Siskin, 20 Skylark and 5 Meadow Pipits. Only other birds noted were 8 Reed Bunting, Buzzard and Raven while Bob had 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 3 Lesser Redpolls.
There was a break in the cloud late afternoon and 400 Wood Pigeon appeared going west over the garden so presumed migrants followed by 3 Buzzard and a House Martin.

Considering I had a reasonable catch last night Dave’s trap was very poor though this Red-green Carpet was worth clicking as it was so fresh and vibrant


Monday, 10 October 2011

October 10th 2011

With 20 Skylark, a few Meadow Pipits and 20 Redwing over the garden after first light I was hoping for more visible migration at the pond but by mid morning the wind was so strong it tapered off.
A really battle to stay upright but the only new arrival was a juvenile Arctic Tern which arrived mid-morning while Black Tern, Little Stint, and 4 Rock Pipit remained along with 4 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover plus a few Meadow Pipits and Reed Bunting on farborough bank.
Overhead 40 Skylark, 12 Siskin and 16 Redwing went south and a single House Martin and Swallow appeared briefly before 5 more Swallow arrived but they did not stay long. Other sightings included 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker in country park, 4 Raven over biggen bay, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. Bob did his usual lap adding Ruff and 3 Goosander to the day list.

The state of her feathers shows the effect of todays wind on this female Goosander - Bob Hazel.

I tried for the Short-eared Owl at Brandon Marsh but had to give up on that silly idea as the wind gusted over 50mph on Lawford Heath and I ended up cycling backwards - managed a brief view of Stonechat by the quarry entrance with 7 Golden Plover and 45 Redwing west before turning back.

The last two nights have been good for moths - nothing special from the 25 species recorded, Bob took a fancy to this Angle Shades.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

October 9th 2011

Black Tern, Little Stint, and 4 Rock Pipit were seen on our walk out to farborough spit this morning with a steady movement of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Siskin heading south.Other sightings included Chiffchaff, 30 Meadow Pipit, 4 Ringed Plover and 7 Dunlin.
Dave, Colin and I moved on to the Long Itchington diner where 11 Swallows flew east along with 4 Siskin and 9 Redwing while 21 more Redwing went over Napton on the Hill plus a lone House Martin. Twenty Eight Ravens enjoyed riding on the wind over the quarry.
More Redwing, (40) flew over the Just So and the Black-necked Grebe was still at Napton Reservoir along with a lone Swallow and 2 Raven.


Friday, 7 October 2011

October 7th 2011

I ended up soaked doing me shopping so had not intended on visiting the pond this morning but Mark saved the day offering a couple of hours so we walked out to the sewage farm and back. Considering the strength of the cold north westerly wind it was a disappointing first hour with only Rock Pipit, 3 Dunlin and 2 Ringed Plover seen until just after 11am the wind strength lessened, cloud cover broke and skies brightened which resulted in scores of Skylark and Meadow Pipits to appear heading south, two flocks of Golden Plover numbering 9 and 4 heading west, a very large Wheatear presumed to be Northern, 2 Egyptian Geese came in over farborough bank but continued out over the country park, 4 Grey Wagtails landed in front of us and adult Yellow-legged Gull arrived. Two more Rock Pipits noted on the way back.

Met up with Dave in the afternoon and came across a very active mixed tit flock on Napton on the Hill numbering well over 250 birds and the biggest flock I have recorded in Warwickshire. Blue and Great Tits were in the majority but the flock also included at least 20 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 20 Goldcrest, 15 Long-tailed Tit, Willow Tit, 3 Treecreeper and 3 Nuthatch. It was just stunning to watch as they passed by and disappeared down towards the village. Another 4 Chiffchaff, Buzzard, Raven, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush and Blackcap seen else where on the hill.

Skies clear tonight so while observing Jupiter both Skylark and Redshank heard going over garden but its bloody cold so no moths have arrived yet.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

October 6th 2011

It was a cool, bright and breezy visit to the pond with Mark managing to see the Little Stint and 2 Rock Pipit on farborough spit that Bob had found earlier.
While there we found another Rock Pipit on the spit and 2 more were along toft bank so at least 5 present. Despite the strengthening west wind a steady stream of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits flew over south but the only other birds seen were 16 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover and 30+ Meadow Pipit on the deck.
Napton on the Hill was extremely windy but the visibility was brilliant enabling Marks first view of the Malvern Hills and 7 counties though the bird life was limited to 10 Raven, Buzzard, 4 Chiffchaff and 10+ Meadow Pipit.
Conditions were just as bad at Napton Reservoir but the Black-necked Grebe came in close briefly and also present were 2 Wigeon and a Teal.
Now that the temperature has dropped I doubt I will get any more migrant moths and will have to be content with Rusty-dot Peal and Diamond-backed Moths that I have been getting in variable numbers over the last few days which will be a shame as a Vestal was recorded last night on the east side of town.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

October 5th 2011

After the turmoil of monday night when my neighbour collapsed I needed today.

A pleasant morning watching the adult Sandhill Crane and Willow Emerald Damselfly on Boyton Marshes, Suffolk in the autumn sunshine with Colin and Dave. The crane was distant when we first arrived feeding in a stubble field but came closer allowing good scope views but to far for the photographers in attendance. The damselfly which is probably just as rare as the crane was hunting the pond adjacent to the track we were on and was just as popular with the crowds.
Both immature Peregrine and Marlin were seen hunting over the adjacent marsh flushing hundreds of ducks and, waders with both seen later perched briefly on the ground with prey.
Other sightings included 4 Marsh Harrier, 2 Buzzard, Black-tailed Godwit, 200+ Golden Plover and 2 Goldcrest while the damselfly shared its residence with Southern Hawker, Common Darter, Ruddy Darter, Migrant Hawker and Common Blue Damselfly.

Bumbling Bears are on Scillies at the moment and are doing very well with seeing and photographing the goodies that are present so check there link out – if you did know what a Waterthrush looked like – you will.


October 3rd 2011

Highlight of this mornings visit with Bob was the Red-crested Pochard flock of 4 males and 4 females that Francoise reported in rainbow corner which were off hensborough bank by the time I turned up. Highest number I have recorded here.
Yesterdays Rock Pipit had increased to 4 birds with 2 on farborough spit, one over farborough bank calling and another on the picnic area shore line flushed by litter pickers. Other sightings included a flight view of the Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff on island, 9 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, adult Yellow-legged Gull, Yellow Wagtail, 4 Shoveler, 33 Wigeon and 8 Buzzard. Visible migration over the country park included 5 Siskin, 23 Skylark and 64 Meadow Pipit.

Red-crested Pochard by Bob Hazel (top two) and Francoise Farrington


Sunday, 2 October 2011

October 2nd 2011

I was asked to find the constellation Equuleus so pretty chuffed that Dave’s app confirmed I was in the right place as we waited for the “space shed” to go over while listening to 2 Tawny Owls. As day light improved we had 2 Buzzard, Raven, 31 Graylag and a few Skylarks over.
A walk out to farborough spit Draycote Water produced Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, 10 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover on the island, Yellow Wagtail, Rock Pipit and Grey Wagtail on farborough bank and 20+ Skylarks over while on the water there were136 Great-crested Grebe, 28 Mute Swan and 7 Shoveler.
Met up with Colin in The Diner before moving on to Napton on the Hill where we had 30+ Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, 4 Goldcrest, Willow Tit, 8 Siskin, Willow Tit, the odd sight of a Sand Martin feeding around the church tower, 4 Buzzard and 21 Raven. At least 3 Vapourer Moth and 10 Red Admiral were also present
Two more Raven went over Napton Reservoir where the Black-necked Grebe had gathered one of the largest “Nap” crowds for some time – 12. Only other birds of note were 3 Wigeon and a Pochard.
Back home the increasing cloud cover made visible migration a little easier to pick out with 12 Skylark, 5 Siskin and 3 Meadow Pipit noted mid afternoon and a Painted Lady butterfly appeared in the garden later.
Tonight I have all lights blazing away hoping for migrant moths – its still over 20c and my first of the year Merveille du Jour for the garden arrived 20 minutes ago while last night I had a Dark Sword Grass.


Saturday, 1 October 2011

October 1st 2011

I couldn’t resist another session on Napton on the Hill this morning watching another double pass of the Space Station but I should have concentrated on Jupiter as another of its moons was reported showing making 5 visible with a pair of bins. Over a 100 Meadow Pipits went south along with a few Linnet and a Barn Owl hunting below the hill near the canal after day break. On the way home I had look at the Black-necked Grebe at Napton Reservoir but little else.
The warm nights are producing reasonable moth catches with record numbers of Grey Pine and Spruce Carpet in my trap last night while Dave caught his first locally scarce Dusky Lemon Sallow as well as his first Brick and Merveille du Jour of the year and we are both getting a few migrant Rusty Dot Pearls and Diamond- back Moths each night coming from the continent on the warm air.

Dusky Lemon Sallow

Merveille du Jour

Bob kindly got off his death bed to take photos and we witnessed the start of a mid day movement of Buzzards going over with 14 all heading south in ones and twos.