Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 26 November 2010

Just a Perfect Day - Brandon Marsh

Sunrise at Brandon Marsh

Gulls over Saturn (white dot!)


I had not visited Brandon Marsh for several months so decided it would be my destination for today. With the prospect of Waxwings and Short Eared Owl, (and seeing neither!) I arrived at first light in temperatures of -5! The morning soon developed into "a perfect day", a cold but sunny end of Autumn day - just the way I like it. All of the pools were frozen over and I found nothing unusual, just the usual suspects, perhaps in smaller numbers than have been reported lately,and despite visiting all of the Brandon hides. It was just fantastic to be out on a "good to be alive day"!  A list of species seen can be found at the end of this post.


Pheasant in front of East Marsh Hide

Siskin

Blackbird

Siskin

Siskin

Robin

Redwing


(More images can be seen on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Magpie; Robin; Pied Wagtail; Wood Pigeon; Black Headed Gull; Carrion Crow; Blue Tit; Dunnock; Minke Whale; Reed Bunting; LBB Gull; Blackbird; Redwing; Stock Dove; Bullfinch; Mute Swan; Wren; Great Tit; Siskin; Shoveler; Gadwall; Teal; Tufted Duck; Lapwing; Mallard; Cormorant; Common Gull; Herring Gull; Snipe; Coot; Grey Heron; Water Rail;Jay; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Moorhen; Pheasant; Long Tailed Tit; Cettis Warbler; Jackdaw; Goldfinch; Fieldfare; Green Woodpecker; Treecreeper; Nuthatch; Chaffinch; Coal Tit.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Unexpected!

Not a lot of birding today with a number of chauffering duties to undertake. While driving up Bilton Road hill towards Rugby, a Kingfisher flew across the road. This was so unexpected! I suppose it may have found a garden pond to its liking, the only other watercourse being the small Sowe Brook.

A casual glance at Twitter provided yet another unexpected surprise. Four Waxwings reported in the carpark at Brandon Marsh! Off I went, with a couple of texts to Keith Yates to see what news he had, and the Waxwings were confirmed although he had only seen one. Of course, there was no sign when I arrived despite an hours scanning. A large flock of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll provided some interest. I must admit that I do not regard Twitter as a good way of putting out news - had it gone onto RBA, I would have been half an hour earlier and my quest would probably have been in the bag!

Cest le Vie!

Post Script - I am now reading a report of eight by the visitor centre and probably the original four by the carpark just after 1500! I don't believe it - so close yet so far! Gutted is an understatement! I'm giving up looking and will see them when I see them!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

November

November

by Thomas Hood


No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--
No road--no street--
No "t'other side the way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--
No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!
No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No park--no ring--no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

November!


How true the poem by Thomas Hood, especially with the current weather!

The day started, and continued with varying thickness of mist and fog. It was my daughter, Abigails morning at music school in Daventry, so a walk around the country park was possible. I really don't know why I carried my scope and camera as neither were usable in the conditions. A large mixed "tit" flock accompanied me on my walk, containing Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Treecreeper and one Siskin. The water contained the expected duck species - Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Pochard, Teal, Shoveler and Wigeon. An impressive gathering of Goosanders were near the dam with three drake and fifteen females.

The usual out of control dogs accompanied their irresponsible owners as is to be expected at this site. Interestingly, the naughty boys and girls sentenced to "community payback" duties were out, and appeared to be having a bit of a "jolley"! I was convinced that community payback schemes required a service to the community? Maybe crime does pay?


Todays Sightings:

Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Wren; Long Tailed Tit; Wigeon; Coot; Teal; Black Headed Gull; Tufted Duck; LBB Gull; Moorhen; Mallard; Gadwall; Buzzard; Jackdaw; Magpie; Great Tit; Blackbird; Bullfinch; Cormorant; Shoveler; Harbour Porpoise; Goldfinch; Dunnock; Treecreeper; Siskin; Goldcrest; Coal Tit; Grey Heron; Common Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Pochard; Goosander; Mute Swan.



Friday, 19 November 2010

Draycote Water

Finished a shite night shift and spent the morning in bed, waking to pleasant sunny weather! It would have been rude not to go out, so Draycote Water was chosen, arriving to pleasant conditions. I decided to walk to the valve tower and back, meeting Max S and Bob H on the way. They filled me in with what was about, my ears pricking up at two male Brambling, which I need for my year list, but as they were on the north shore, they would not be ticked today. Bob's day list was very impressive, but the only birds of note for me were the two female Common Scoters near bouy A off the inlet. As I arrived at the valve tower, an approaching fog bank could be seen and it was not long before visibility was too poor for staying. Back near the closed visitor centre, the fog had started to clear and a massive number of gulls were roosting. A quick scan as daylight faded reminded me of my need to study gulls in greater detail!

Record shot of the Common Scoter

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Buzzard; Robin; Jackdaw; Black Headed Gull; Magpie; Rook; Blue Tit; Cormorant; Coot; Mallard; Tufted Duck; Lapwing; Dabchick; Pied Wagtail; LBB Gull; Blackbird; Linnet; Meadow Pipit; Canada Goose; Teal; Long Tailed Tit; Great Crested Grebe; Common Scoter; Grey Heron; Pochard; Goldeneye; Moorhen; Common Gull; Wren; Mute Swan; GBB Gull; Great Tit; Redwing; Goldfinch; Gadwall; Grey Wagtail; Fieldfare.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Common as Duck! An hour at Napton Reservoir

Having just finished a night shift, I did not go out until 1400, and decided to have a look at Napton Reservoir as Draycote would be "heaving" on a sunny Saturday. The water levels were very high and only a small number of common duck were seen. The only "excitement" was provided by two Ravens flying over, "honking" well. At least 50 Fieldfare and 30 Redwing were around the hedgerows.

With light fading, I decided to drive back through the "Grandborough Valley" in the hope of finding the Holy Grail as this area is reported well in other blogs. I of course found nothing!

Coot

Coot

Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

Mallard

Mallard

Mallard

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Draycote Water (in the Gloom!)

With yesterday being a complete washout, I was keen to get out for a couple of hours this morning, and a window of opportunity opened so off to Draycote I went. The morning was rather dull and gloomy (annoying, because as I write this, the sun is shining!), and the wind was bitterly cold. It was as I fought into the winds teeth, I wished my gloves were on my hands and not at home in a cupboard and I also needed my winter coat which was also warming my wardrobe at home!

The gloom did not bode well for photographs as you will see. However, bird wise it was good to see three (later four) Goosander (2m & 2f) just off the pontoons. A large number of Meadow Pipits along Farborough Bank contained one Rock Pipit, (didn't realise it at the time but a year tick) and the Goldeneye numbers are gradually increasing. Farborough Spit held two Dunlin, with four later seen in flight along the bank. Toft held several Goldcrests, Treecreepers and a number of mixed Tit / Finch flocks, but they held only common species.


Tufted Duck

Goldeneye

Goldeneye

Goldeneye

Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlin

Great Crested Grebe

Goosander

Goosander

Goosander

Goosander


(More images on my website - see link opposite)


Todays Sightings:

Kesterl; Rook; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Dunnock; Great Tit; Black Headed Gull; Blackbird; Robin: Grey Heron; Coot; Cormorant; Wren; GBB Gull; Teal; Herring Gull; LBB Gull; Lapwing; Tufted Duck; Moorhen; Mallard; Pied Wagtail; Great Crested Grebe; Jackdaw; Goosander; Meadow Pipit; Pochard; Goldeneye; Fieldfare; Canada Goose; Dabchick; Magpie; Starling; Common Gull; Chaffinch; Gadwall; Blue Tit; Wigeon; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Redwing; Goldfinch; Goldcrest; Treecreeper; Long Tailed Tit; Rock Pipit; Mute Swan; Dunlin.

A Study of Dabbling Teal - Draycote Water

Despite being "frozen" through due to inappropriate clothing in the bitterley cold wind at Draycote this morning, I could not resist capturing this pair of dabbling Teal near the end of Farborough Bank. My hands were having problems holding the camera due to loss of feeling and the light was very poor. More images can be seen on my website - see link opposite.








Sunday, 7 November 2010

Return to the Great Grey Shrike - Napton on the Hill

I popped over to Napton (1400 - 1600) to see if I could improve on last Tuesdays images of the Great Grey Shrike. The bird seemed more elusive today, and it was about an hour before it was spotted on the wires. Annoyingly, while everyone was moving closer to the derelict buildings, the Shrike took flight and landed on the posts, where we had all originally been standing! Cest le vie! The moral here is stay independent and don't follow the crowd! As you can see, I could not improve and had to settle for the typical "wires" view!



Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Draycote Water was very quiet this morning

Having missed yesterdays Snow Bunting, I was at Draycote Water this morning at first light in the hope that it might still be about. Alas, it was not, despite a thorough search of Draycote Bank and everywhere else as well. Indeed, Draycote was "dire", with nothing to get excited about. Had it not been for a Kingfisher on Draycote Bank, Grey Wagtail on Farborough Bank and some photographic opportunities with common species, I would have had more ecitement watching paint dry!


Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

Pochard

Pochard

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Great Crested Grebe

Pied Wagtail


(More Images on my website - see link opposite)



 Todays Sightings:

Wren; Black Headed Gull; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Chaffinch; Tufted Duck; Moorhen; Malard; Coot; Robin; Great Crested Grebe; Canada Goose; Magpie; LBB Gull; Jackdaw; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit;Starling; Kestrel; Cormorant; Green Woodpecker; Grey Heron; Linnet; Dabchick; Rook; Pied Wagtail; Mute Swan; Pochard; Teal; Lapwing; Kingfisher; Skylark; Great Tit; Dunnock; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Meadow Pipit; Grey Wagtail; Goldeneye; Common Gull; Gadwall; Goldfinch.