Saturday, 28 April 2012

April 27th 2012

The path to the newly erected bird screen overlooking newlands at Brandon Marsh was underwater as the River Avon has risen well since our last visit. Between the showers there was plenty to see with 4 Common Tern, 2 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher, 3 Shelduck, Yellow Wagtail, 3 Linnet, 2 Buzzard, Nuthatch, 3 Great-spotted Woodpecker, Cuckoo and Green Woodpecker plus plenty of warblers and hirundines.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

April 25th 2012

A wet and windy day mainly from the south east bringing in a continuous movement of Arctic Terns and Little Gulls at the pond throughout the day with variable numbers recorded each visit. The wind gusted up to 35mph at times combined with prolonged periods of rain made for unpleasant conditions. Hard to put a true count on the Arctic numbers going through today but with just a single present first thing there were at least 122 counted early afternoon with small groups leaving. Among the Terns were at least 2 Black Tern and a single Little Tern plus 18 Little Gull but again this species were on the move as I never had the same count twice. Also seen were 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Shelduck, 100 Swallow, 50 Sand Martin, 5 Wheatear, 20 Linnet, 2 Meadow Pipit, 6 White Wagtail and 20 Yellow Wagtail.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

April 24th 2012

Ring Ousel briefly at 7am down the Grandborough valley while 20 minutes later we were watching 34 Arctic Tern attempting to settle on what’s left of the island before numbers eventually dwindled to 13 by the time we left at 10am. A walk to the sewage farm produced 2 Whitethroat, 6 White Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, 5 Teal, 3 Gadwall, Goldeneye and a second pair of Graylags have raised 2 young.
Wheatear, Cinnabar Moth and Grey Squirrel by Bob Hazel. The "tree rat" included as I did not realise they liked Snails. Napton on the Hill was quiet with only 8 Buzzard and a single Raven while the Just So café had a Peregrine overhead before another look at the Ring Ousel produced 2 Tree Sparrow. After an early evening meal in Brandon village we walked around Brandon Marsh managing a brief view of the Nightingale as it sang its heart out near the carlton hide and close views of Barn Owl over newlands and ryton meadows. Other sightings included 3 Shelduck, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher, Great-spotted Woodpecker and many Cetties calling. Noctule and Pipistrelle bat near the visitors centre. Nothing of note seen trawling around Lawford Heath. Richard

Monday, 23 April 2012

April 23rd 2012

Enjoyed a cup of coffee down the valley waiting for the Ring Ousel to appear but it only popped in to view twice in the hour we were there. Also 2 young Robins and male Wheatear present.
No sign of the Blue-headed at Draycote and the only new arrival we had was a Dunlin on the island while chatting to Bob and Keith. The island should disappear this week if the water level continues to rise. At least 5 Wheatear and 6 White Wagtail noted plus Common Sandpiper.
Lawford Heath had 2 Yellow Wagtail and Brandon Marsh 2 Common Tern on east marsh plus 10 Buzzard and 2 Ravens over while the fly over Cuckoo high up was unusual.


April 22nd 2012

The day started with making sure Dave got views of the Flecknoe road Ring Ousel which eventually showed along side 2 Wheatear and 4 Tree Sparrow before disappearing back in to its favorite hedge.
Nearby the Wheatears at Draycote Water had increased to 6 with the male Blue-headed Wagtail still present alongside 10 White Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit and 10 Linnets. Also seen were first winter Little Gull, Shelduck and 3 Common Sandpiper.
Calls from Keith kept us up to date on Brandon Marsh Nightingale so had time to give Napton on the Hill a look but the chilly wind kept things down and very little noted so pushed on to Brandon but “gale” wasn’t playing ball and had stopped calling until we walked away. Amongst the usual fare we had Water Rail calling, Willow Tit, Sedge Warbler and 2 Cuckoo.
On our way home Terry woke me from my slumber regarding a Dotterel so a grab of the OS map at home then we were off south and after a few phone calls we found ourselves just over the border in to Oxfordshire at Balscote Quarry Nature Reserve and had prolonged scope views of it from the metal gate among 30 Golden Plover. A longed lifer for Dave and one of his bogey birds finally put to bed.


Friday, 20 April 2012

April 20th 2012

A busy day with visits to Draycote Water, Brandon Marsh, Daventry Country Park, Napton Reservoir, Calcutt and Draycote again. Bob came up trumps with a smart looking male Blue-headed Wagtail on farborough bank in lovely sunshine while Dave thought we should get another soaking at Brandon in case we are due a dry spell soon.
Highlights were:-
Draycote Water 1st visit
Blue-headed Wagtail male, 18 White Wagtail with some observers believing there to be 20 present.4 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Wheatear, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Buzzard, 3 Gadwall and 2 Mistle Thrush

Wheatear and Blue-headed Wagtail by Bob Hazell

Brandon Marsh
3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Snipe, 2 Shelduck, 6 calling Cetties Warbler, 3 Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, Buzzard 4 and Kingfisher.
Daventry Country Park, Northamptonshire
1st summer Pied Flycatcher, female Redstart, Common Tern and 3 Buzzard
Napton Reservoir
White Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, 4 Long-tailed Tits and Gadwall
Cuckoo flew across road, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk
Draycote Water 2nd visit
additions to earlier visit were Whitethroat, Ringed Plover and Common Tern plus 2 Red-legged Partridge by the entrance road.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

April 19th 2012

Out with Bob and another soaking. Overnight arrivals at the pond included female Scaup in rainbow before she was pushed around by fishing boats, Wheatear increasing to 5 (3 female & 2 male), White Wagtail to 12, and Redshank 2.

Redshank by Bob Hazell

Also around were Arctic Tern, Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, 7 Yellow Wagtail, Goldeneye, 3 Gadwall, 9 Teal, 4 Meadow Pipit, 500 Sand Martin, 300 Swallow, Treecreeper and 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

April 18th 2012

The shed showed well last night with the plough in the background and shadowed by another satellite as she headed east leaving our shores just south of Clacton on Sea before disappearing from view over Erfurt, Germany.
As forecasted the rain came in the early hours and Dave and I virtually waddled to toft bay wrapped in rain gear as the elements did everything but throw the kitchen sink at us. Worth the effort despite the poor visibility with 7 White Wagtail, 20 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, 12 Linnet, 3 Wheatear, 11 Arctic Tern in two groups of 6 and 5 passing through, 700 Sand Martin, 200 Swallow, 50 House Martin, 3 Shelduck, Little Ringed Plover and Common Sand piper. On the downside the passerines were scattered from farborough bank when the air ambulance came in low looking for a landing spot after yet another accident at Kites Hardwick had blocked the road briefly.
Dried out in the Long Itch Diner then it was out again for another 90 minute soaking on Avon Dassett hills but no luck so tried again at Draycote on our way home where more Swallows and Common Terns had arrived plus another Little Ringed Plover though we did not wander far as our third deluge of the day approached.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

April 17th 2012

A blustery showery day at the pond was responsible for bringing in my second earliest record of Swift and my earliest record of Little Tern when Bob found two out in the centre. Though some distance away for most of the time they occasionally came in close to draycote bank and the island (what’s left of it – reservoir now 60% full)
More Little Gulls and Common Terns arrived over night with 2 adult and 2 first winter Little Gull and 3 Common Tern out in the centre. The island had 2 Little Ringed Plover and Greenshank while 4 more LRPs were elsewhere and a Redshank in toft bay. Not surprisingly warblers were quiet in the windy conditions so apart from Blackcap I saw no other species and the only other birds of note were a pristine White Wagtail on farborough spit, 7 Yellow Wagtail on farborough bank along with 2 male Wheatear, 2 Meadow Pipit, 15 Graylag, 12 Teal, 2 Sparrowhawk, 14 Buzzard and female Goldeneye.


Monday, 16 April 2012

April 16th 2012

50 Fieldfare flew over the Southam road as we arrived at the pond while White and Grey Wagtail were by the fishing platform with 7 Yellow Wagtail 4 Meadow Pipit, Oystercatcher and male Wheatear on farborough bank. In the centre of reservoir adult and first summer Little Gull were among the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls present and a Shelduck loafing around.
Not a lot seen between farborough spit and toft shallows though the Graylag with 3 goslings are worth a mention while the sewage farm had the first Whitethroat of the year here with Bee-fly, Peacock and Orange-tip butterflies enjoying the sun bathed sheltered areas. The walk back to the visitors centre produced a Common Tern and Mallard with 11 young. Also noted were Raven, Treecreeper, 8 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Gadwall, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Curlew and 4 Little Ringed Plover.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

April 15th 2012

Two Whitethroat down the Southam road then a look at the pond produced 20 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 2 Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, Goldeneye, Wigeon, 10 Teal and over 300 Sand Martin but very few Swallows or House Martins.
Napton Churchyard was tranquil and a delight to be out of the bitterly cold northerly wind but nothing showing so we shot out of there after a heads up from Richard regarding a Ring Ousel down the Flecknoe road but after an hour searching with just 5 Tree Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail and Swallow for our efforts we gave up and headed for the warmth of the Just So café before visiting Napton Reservoir.
The reservoir had 15 Yellowhammer, Grey Wagtail 10 Swallow, 4 House Martin and Willow Warbler till we got to the pointy bit where a stunning male Redstart was in the right hand field feeding from the fence posts which we soon had Keith on to. Also of interest was a grayish olive chiffy with very pale under parts seen for a short while with the redstart and 2 Orange-tip. On our way back to the car park 6 Buzzard were soaring overhead and a Curlew flew through.

record shot Redstart by Kieth Yates


April 14th 2012

Morning spent down the station as 70000 Britannia made a scheduled 20 minute stop for water supplied by the fire brigade before heading north to Chester attracting a large appreciative crowd.

BR Britannia Class 4-6-2 no 70000 Britannia Rugby Station


Friday, 13 April 2012

April 13th 2012

Friday the 13th started badly when I found a painful way of getting down stairs, fog ruined my visit to the pond and on top of that I forgot my camera when I went to see 70013 Oliver Cromwell being moved from Carnforth to Southall ready for her Kings Cross to Scarborough the following day. Luckily I managed to retrieve something from the day with a Black-winged Stilt at Rutland Water before it flew off.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

April 12th 2012

Did not get out till late morning and got caught in a heavy rain shower which brought in a partial summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit and my first Common Tern of the year to the pond. Peppered by hail I gave up adding only 2 Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail and 2 Common Sandpiper


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

April 11th 2012

Narrowly missed 2 Red-legged Partridge down the Grandborough valley while some poor unfortunate further along hill road had not been so lucky while trying to avoid a deer and had made a right mess of his car. Checked he was ok then resumed birding with 34 Fieldfare over Grandborough Fields Farm.
We had the pond almost to ourselves for the first hour managing 3 Common Sandpiper, male Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail on farborough bank, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Sanderling on the island while toft bay had another Little Ringed Plover and male Wigeon. Toft shallows produced Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Blackcap and 3 Chiffchaff. On our return we met up with Bob who put us on to yesterday’s Greenshank in biggen bay and had just left him when Dave spotted a Whimbrel coming in over farborough bank and we watched it cross the reservoir till lost to view. Willow Warbler calling in car park.
The visibility from Napton on the Hill was stunning with the 7 counties showing well while birds included 18 Buzzard, 6 Raven, 3 Sparrowhawk, 6 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and our first Whitethroat of the year in the churchyard plus Green-veined White.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

April 10th 2012

After getting soaked for a winter plumage Knot on the island yesterday then Bob and I did just as well in today’s sunshine finding our first of the year Common Sandpiper on farborough spit and winter plumage Greenshank on the island.
Other sightings included Little Ringed Plover, 4 Yellow-legged Gull (3 adult and a first winter) over among a movement of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, adult Little Gull, 5 Goldeneye, 2 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 2 White Wagtail and 12 Meadow Pipit, The warm weather also brought out the Buzzards with 30 seen along with a single Sparrowhawk but very few hirundines around.


April 8th 2012

Summer plumage Med Gull on island, Little Ringed Plover on farborough spit and 2 male Wheatear on farborough bank otherwise a quiet visit plus 70 Sand Martin a few Swallows and House Martin, 5 Goldeneye and 7 Shoveler. At least 4 Tree Sparrow down the Grandborough valley while Napton on the Hill had 700 + Fieldfare, 100+ Redwing near Chaple Green, Nuthatch, 13 Buzzard and 2 Raven but we couldn’t go to Napton Reservoir without calling in on the Just So café now open for the season where celebrated Colins birthday with lemon meringue cake - pure nector. The reservoir had 20 Reed Bunting and a Long-tailed Tit.


Saturday, 7 April 2012

April 7th 2012

This mornings damp overcast conditions were ideal for keeping yesterdays migrants down so I was out checking the high ground with Pete, Dave and Chris finding a male Ring Ousel at Stoneton and another between Burton Dassett and Avon Dassett with a female over Gredenton Hill where up to five still remain. Also seen were Wheatear, 4 Golden Plover and 3 Fieldfare while 2 Raven were over Marston Doles and another 3 seen from Napton on the Hill which was surprisingly quiet with only 2 Buzzard, Willow Warbler and a calling Yellow Wagtail.
A brief look at Napton Reservoir where there were Goldeneye, 2 Swallow and a Grey Wagtail but decided to give up on the pond due to too much disturbance though 2 male Wheatear, female Stonechat male Blackcap and 2 Yellow Wagtail seen from the car park.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

April 5th 2012

At least 4 Black-necked Grebes at the pond today but for some reason wherever they went so did the fishing boats so prone to disturbance and were very mobile resulting at one stage thinking there were 7 present, all in summer plumage. There were well over 400 hirundines present with 250 Swallow 150 Sand Martin and 2 House Martin. Also present were Snipe, Ruff, 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Shelduck, 8 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 11 Goldeneye, 15 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 60 Meadow Pipit, Sparrowhawk, Raven, 5 Buzzard, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 2 Jay.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

April 4th 2012

Dave and I managed a two hour visit to the pond in poring rain this morning but luckily the forecasted cold front with its increasing wind arrived just as we were leaving so we may have been soaked but at least we didn’t freeze our bits off. A male Yellow Wagtail and 2 Rock Pipit among 40+ Meadow Pipit on farborough bank with a Ruff on the island while Oystercatcher and Grey Plover flew over. Out in the centre over a 150 Swallow and 50 Sand Martin were hunting low over the water. Also noted were 6 Shoveler,10 Goldeneye, 4 Gadwall, 6 Wigeon, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff.
Dried out in the Long Itchington diner then moved on to Brandon Marsh where it was bloody freezing with 8 House Martin, 10 Sand Martin and 6 Swallow looking for insects in the frequent rain, sleet and snow showers. Also seen were Nuthatch, 2 Redshank, 8 Snipe, 2 Oystercatcher and Little Ringed Plover.
On our way home we tried Lawford Heath and found adult and first winter Iceland Gull and first winter Glaucous Gull roosting near the corner of Lawford Heath and Ling lane before they commuted back to the landfill site.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

April 3rd 2012

A female Wheatear and 5 Fieldfare were on farborough bank when we arrived with yesterdays Ruff on the island briefly and the ponds first Swallow of the year over toft shallows. Other sightings included 12 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcaps and single Willow Warbler between toft shallows and the country park plus 18 Goldeneye, 18 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 6 Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, 16 Linnet, 10 Meadow Pipit and 20 Buzzard. Also seen today but not by me were 2 more Wheatear, 2 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Oystercatcher in the morning and a Gannet in the afternoon when the rain arrived (bugger).