Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Brandon Marsh


Lapwing "dive bombing" Oystercatcher


Willow Warbler


Grey Lag Geese & Goslings


Canada Goose


Oystercatcher v Grey Heron


Grey Heron

It is very frustrating working 12 hour shifts and reading on other blogs about the influx of Spring Migrants that you are missing! It is even more frustrating going to the reported sites and seeing nothing!

I finished a night shift at 0700 this morning and managed a couple of hours sleep before needing to pick my daughter, Abigail up from her music lessons in Daventry and take her to St Marks Church, Bilton to sing at a wedding. Had a look around the churchyard which produced Blackcap and Goldcrest. Eventually arrived home at 1500 and decided as the weather was good to visit Brandon Marsh (in the hope of migrants). I arrived at 1615 and took a leisurely walk down to East Marsh and Carlton Hides and then back around Newlands recording 55 bird species before leaving at 2000. It was nice to meet a few friendly birders in the East Marsh Hide but some others on the reserve were in desperate need of a personality transplant!

I was not to be disappointed. At least 8 Swift combined with a large number of House Martin's and Sand Martin's were over East Marsh Pool, which also held 5 Common Tern, 2 Oystercatcher, 3 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Ringed Plover. The reeds and thickets produced Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat and the hedges Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.

Cettis Warbler were singing from many areas, and giving good views, but I was not quick enough with the camera! Water Rail, Bullfinch, Snipe being the best of the rest. Alas no Hobby but maybe next time?





Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Draycote Water


Chaffinch


Mallard


Goldfinch


Cormorant


Pied Wagtail

I must be unlucky? Arrived at Draycote at 0815 in glorious sunshine and because I am not yet used to warmth here, was somewhat overdressed and sweating buckets. Decided that as I had painting duties at home (with no motivation and with as much skill as a Hippo performing balet) to only walk to Toft and back. Again, my hoped for Summer Migrants to increase my year list were taking a vacation at other sites! Todays list only totalled 37 bird species. The best of which were Sedge Warbler, Snipe, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Buzzard, Grey Wagtail, distant Great Northern Diver, and a group of Little Gulls (my only year tick today). Exact locations are not being stated as the breeding season is under way. Met up with Richard, Bob and Francoise on Farborough Bank and they were not faring any better.
Back to work tomorrow (0700/1900) so very few opportunities to get out until Sat / Sun.

Napton on the Hill


Robin


Chiffchaff


Robin


Robin



Dunnock



A window of opportunity this morning so decided to re-visit Napton in the hope of Spring Migrants. Arriving at 0600 it soon turned into a glorious, warm morning but that is where the positives ended! The steep path is getting muddier and very slippy, so my decision to wear wellies was a good move, and yes, I did stay upright! Apart from Swallow, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap all was quiet. Most interesting sighting was a flyover Shoveler. Stayed until 0800, notching up 29 bird species before heading to Draycote.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Draycote Water


Yellow Wagtail


Yellow Wagtail


Chaffinch


Great Crested Grebe

Pied Wagtail
Arrived at Draycote from Napton on the Hill at 0830 and decided to walk to Toft shallows and back in the hope (again!) of seeing some migrants to add to my year list. Managed to record 42 species of bird in total. The Country Park produced Swallow, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. A single Great Norther Diver was distant off Farborough Bank which also produced Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit. While talking to Richard Mays, a single Common Sandpiper flew past landing briefly on the bank. With many fishermen present, it was obvious that disturbance would reduce sightings and little else of note was seen before arriving at the Hide. I must admit that I do not usually enter the Draycote Hide, preferring to observe from the road. However, Richard had told me that the Green Winged Teal was still present though elusive. No sign after half an hour so I walked a little further into Toft Shallows. As I walked past the controversial boardwalk, tree specialists were at work, so the disturbance had probably caused the GWT and most other birds into quieter areas. On my return to the car it was pleasing to hear and see a Sedge Warbler in the thickets near the sailing club graveyard.
Now, I really must get on with the decorating.



Napton on the Hill

In my quest to discover newly arrived migrants, I arrived at Napton on the Hill at 0600. It was cool with a keen breeze, and the dawn chorus was in full sound. I parked at the church and walked to the windmill, then descended the muddy hillside into the quarry. My walk produce 33 species of bird and two foxes. Unfortunately, very little was about, the most interesting being three flyover Lesser Redpoll. Migrants included Willow Warbler, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff. Also of interest, Bullfinch, and a flyover Cormorant. I scanned all the hedgerows and fields in hope but luck has obviously deserted me. I will no doubt read about super finds by other birders later in the day! Ahh well off to Draycote.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Brandon Marsh


Canada / Barnacle Goose


Mute Swan


Mute Swan


Great Crested Grebe


Coot


Well, I had a night shift from hell last night, I feel totally knackerd, falling asleep at the drop of a hat, decorating not going at all well, so felt the need for some fresh air! Despite it being a Bank Holiday, decided to go to Brandon in the hope of finding some migrants for my year list. I arrived to a very full car park at 1530 and walked without purpose around the reserve. Totalled 51 bird species and a Muntjac, so not bad really.

All the usual suspects were about, but migrants were few and far between. I was only able to add Reed Warbler and Little Ringed Plover to my year list. Stayed until 1930 when hunger was getting the better of me!

Todays List:

Robin; Jay (3); Wood Pigeon; Swallow (7); Carrion Crow; Magpie; Blackbird; Chiffchaff (8); Song Thrush (4); Cettis Warbler (6); Blue Tit; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Willow Warbler (4); Coot; Mute Swan; Green Woodpecker; Canada Goose; Bullfinch (2m 3f); Blackcap (5); Lapwing; Gadwall; Tufted Duck; Cormorant; Teal; Shelduck (3); Shoveler: Snipe (20+); Grey Lag Goose; Sand Martin (11); Ringed Plover (1); Mallard; Oystercatcher (2); Heron; Moorhen; Pheasant; Redshank (3); Water Rail (2); Pied Wagtail; Little Ringed Plover (2); Gt Cr Grebe; Black Headed Gull; Buzzard (1); Dabchick; Reed Bunting; Kingfisher (1); Stock Dove; wren; Reed Warbler; Barnacle Goose (1); Great Spotted Woodpecker; Muntjac (1).

And so to bed...................................................................................................

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Decorating & Work!

Not much spare time at the moment! Just getting around to essential house maintenance (after 13 years of doing zilch!) and working my 12 hour shifts. Yesterday, arrived back on base to find a car had rolled on a slope and had lodged firmly against my car, luckily very little damage. Seriously pi***d off at the moment though. Not much chance of any birding until next week, but may get to Fantasy Island (sorry Draycote!) for a short walk. Looks like I am missing out on the arrival of many of the summer migrants. Seriously depressed!!!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Swallow - At Last! (But no pics!!)


Pied Wagtail


Pied Wagtail


Pied Wagtail


Grey Wagtail


Grey Wagtail


Having worked a night shift I felt I needed to clear my head so decided to visit Draycote late afternoon, walking to the Valve Tower and back. The hordes were still very present, so I did not expect to see a great deal and was very pleased with a total of 46 species between 1545hrs and 1915hrs.

I was hoping to increase my year list with summer visitors, so two Swallows off Hensborough Bank was pleasing as were the three Willow Warblers between here and the Inlet. Yellowhammer and Skylark in Rainbow Corner but only the usual suspects out on the water. Towards the centre from the Inlet produced several male and female Shoveler and a lone Oystercatcher was observed near the Valve Tower. Two Grey Wagtail graced Draycote Bank along with numerous Pied Wagtail, but I dipped on any Yellow Wagtail. I spent a little time on Farborough Bank near the scrape in the hope of locating Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail but again no joy. A distant scope view of the splendid Red Necked Grebe in Toft, but decreasing light prevented a search for the Green Winged Teal.

Ah well, home to bed!