Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New to me Camera


Male Blackcap (like me - always kept in the dark!)


Today, I struck a deal with Max (S) to purchase his Canon 30D camera to replace my 400D. A few test shots in his garden resulted in the capture of this male Blackcap. Unfortunately, not yet being familiar with the 30D the image is not as good as I would have liked! So, despite being male, it is now my intention to sit down and READ THE MANUAL! Hopefully, things may improve! Watch this space but don't hold your breath!


Saturday, 14 November 2009

Daventry Country Park


Full Steam Ahead - Mute Swan


Bombs Away Coot - Black Headed Gull


Coot AGM


Black Headed Gull


Mind out Coot I'm Coming In - Black Headed Gull


Black Headed Gull


Black Headed Gull


Black Headed Gull


Black Headed Gull

(More boring images on my website - link opposite)


On a very blustery morning with the threat of heavy rain, I popped into Daventry Country Park while Abigail was at her music classes.

If I am honest, I hate Country Parks, more so those in close proximity to Towns. Most of the people using them have no interest in the wildlife around them. They are glorified dog walks, with owners allowing their beasts free range and no consideration for others. Dogs running off leads, in and out of the water fetching sticks and frisbies thrown by their owners, sending up all the wildfowl in the process, messing and not being cleaned up, running towards you and jumping up, much to the joy of the owner. If you do not have a dog with you, you are regarded as strange. Add to this uncontrolled offspring and fast moving cyclists and you have Daventry! Oh, and what about the local ASBO sorry community pay back teams? One circuit of the perimeter with litter picking sticks in hand but not being observed as to using them, and tea & coffee at the start and finish? punishment indeed! Todays rant over!

 Of interest were two Shelduck; two Ruddy Duck; a drake Goosander; one Green Sandpiper; one Yellow Legged Gull and a low flying Buzzard that kept putting everything up!

I just made it back to the car before the heavy rain descended, thankful that I did not choose to walk the perimeter.

Todays Sightings:

Robin; Goldfinch; Wren; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Great Tit; BH Gull; Blackbird; Mallard; Canada Goose; Shoveler; Wigeon; Coot; Tufted Duck; Mute Swan; Gt Cr Grebe; Cormorant; Lapwing; Green Woodpecker; Grey Heron; Moorhen; Pochard; LBB Gull; Herring Gull; Teal; Pied Wagtail; Common Gull; Shelduck; Yellow Legged Gull; Dabchick; Ruddy Duck; Treecreeper; Green Sandpiper; Gadwall; Goosander (Drake); Gt Sp Woodpecker; Buzzard; Magpie; Dunnock; Jackdaw.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Draycote Water


Let Sleeping Goosanders Lie


Dabchick - Lunch


Dabchick - Lunch


Goldeneye



(More boring images on my website - link opposite)



I was in bed after a very busy night shift when I became aware of my mobile vibrating away. The messages from RBA and John J alerted me to a Green Winged Teal at Draycote in Toft. Unfortunately, I was not able to get out until late afternoon when the weather was threatening rain and the light was fading quickly. A brisk walk to Toft soon had me looking at the GWT, distant and in scope view. No chance of a photo here! With rain threatening, I set off back towards the visitor centre taking a high ISO pic of the dozing Goosanders (3m 1f) and observing the Great Northern Diver off Farborough Bank. 

I must admit that because time was short, I did not really search the water, and with the light fading fast, I gave up and headed home.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Snow Bunting - Foxhill Farm Daventry




















(More Images on Website -see link opposite)


Having picked up Abigail, and knowing that a female Snow Bunting was nearby at Foxhill Farm, just off the A361, Daventry, I was keen to see the bird before heading home. So, a McDonalds to eat in the car while I walked up the farm track was the order of the day.

The Snow Bunting was very obliging (mind you don't step on it!) but was being harrassed by a Robin, both keen to make the most of scattered seed. Nice to meet Gareth B again after many months.

(Mental note - check the camera ISO regulary. Unfortunately I keep inadvertantly changing this when walking with camera on shoulder and then getting grainy pics!)



Daventry Country Park - Flight















My daughter, Abigail, attends a Saturday morning music class in Daventry which, when not working, gives me the chance of a wander either at Borough Hill or in the Country Park. Today I chose the latter. Most of the birds were too far away for any chance of a photo so I had a go at capturing Black Headed Gulls in flight.

I started my walk near the old Carvell Hide and had good views of the "probable" Baltic Gull. I have to say that the jury will remain out for a good while on this bird, and for me it will remain a "probable". All the usual wildfowl were soon located - not difficult with very low water levels! Two Shelduck were about the best on the west shore, so I walked the perimeter, eventually meeting up with two local birders on the east shore. They had been watching the "probable" Baltic Gull and had picked up a small Grebe which initially they thought may be Black Necked. However, this Grebe had a flattish crown, pale tip to the bill and lacked the steep slope to the crown. A difficult bird to observe with constant diving and remaining distant. It was a Slavonian Grebe and a year tick for me. While watching the Slavonian, a dozen Golden Plover flew over.

Time soon ran out, and it was back into Daventry to pick up Abigail. However, a cunning plot was being hatched - all will be revealed in the post above!

Todays sightings:

Blackbird; Robin; Wood Pigeon; Chaffinch; LT Tit; Blue Tit; Jackdaw; Cormorant; Wren; Great Tit; Gt Cr Grebe; Mute Swan; Tufted Duck; Shoveler; Shelduck; Pochard; Wigeon; Gadwall; Carrion Crow; LBB Gull; Herring Gull; Teal; Coot; Common Gull; Goldfinch; Lapwing; Siskin; Magpie; Redwing; Mallard; Moorhen; Pheasant; Grey Heron; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Pied Wagtail; Slavonian Grebe; Golden Plover; Canada Goose; Probable Baltic Gull.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Draycote Water - Purple Sandpiper


Purple Sandpiper with entourage of Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper with entourage of Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper


Purple Sandpiper


Purple Sandpiper


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper with Dunlin


Purple Sandpiper


Purple Sandpiper



(More pics on my website - see link opposite)


I had just arrived at Bramcote to winterise my caravan, when a phone call from Max and a text from John J (many thanks both) alerted me to the presence of a Purple Sandpiper at the Outlet at Draycote. Now, I had duties to perform which were perhaps a little rushed, as a Purple Sandpiper was a lifer and it was at Draycote! I made all haste to Draycote, not really dressed for the occasion, meeting Max, Bob and Francoise on my way to the Outlet. They confirmed the bird was still present, and indeed it was, meeting Bob D and later Dave H and "Dog". A few times the Purple Sandpiper and its entourage of 4 Dunlin took to flight over the reservoir but soon returned. The light was not at all good needing a high ISO but I was pleased with my amateur efforts.

Also seen, but at a distance was my first of the autumn, Great Northern Diver off Farborough Bank.

My purpose was to see the Purple Sandpiper so little notice was taken of the other birds present.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Draycote Water


Admiral of the Fleet - Goosander with Wigeon & Tufted Duck support


Admiral of the Fleet - Goosander with Wigeon & Tufted Duck support


Admiral of the Fleet - Goosander with Wigeon & Tufted Duck support


Dunlin


Dunlin


Dunlin


Teal


Teal

(More images on my Website - see link opposite)


Having received a thorough soaking this morning, the day brightened when I got home! After a bite of lunch, I decided to make the most of it and visited Draycote. Bright and dry conditions prevailed, but the wind was very strong and cooling. Visited 1340 till 1600.

The weather must have put off the hordes as it was quiet on the perimeter road and with no fishermen only the sailing and surfboarding caused some disruption.

I decided to walk to the valve tower to keep the light behind me. A thorough scanning of the Tufted Duck masses off Hensborough failed to produce the Lesser Scaup. Rainbow Corner was probably most productive with two Dunlin busily feeding and a male Goosander just offshore appearing as Admiral of the Fleet with his entourage of Tufted Duck and Wigeon. The Tufted's were interspersed with Gadwall, Pochard and Goldeneye. A Yellow Legged Gull was spotted off the Inlet and a Grey Wagtail flitted along the almost dry channel.

Todays sightings:

Rook; Robin; Wood Pigeon; Wren; Coot; Mallard; Gt Cr Grebe; Dabchick; BH Gull; Long Tailed Tit; Pochard; Tufted Duck; Mute Swan; Kestrel; Cormorant; Grey Heron; Canada Goose; Wigeon; Gadwall; Teal; Goosander; Goldeneye; Moorhen; Dunlin; Lapwing; Yellow Legged Gull; LBB Gull; Meadow Pipit; Grey Wagtail; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Blackbird; Redwing; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Starling; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Chaffinch; Linnet.