Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 11 September 2009

Back to my Birding Roots..................!

Coal Tit - Ravensthorpe
Coot- Ravensthorpe (thought I'd better include a water bird!)
Buzzard - Ravensthorpe
Tawny Owl - Ravensthorpe
Tawny Owl - Ravensthorpe

Tawny Owl - Ravensthorpe
Tawny Owl - Ravensthorpe
Common Buzzard - Ravensthorpe
Common Buzzard - Ravensthorpe

I started bird watching when I was about eight years old but did not really go on field trips until I was in my early teens. I started visiting Ravensthorpe Reservoir, Hollowell Reservoir and occasionally Pitsford Reservoir on Sunday afternoons when my Grandfather would take me in his car. Today I returned after an absence of nearly forty years!!!

However, I started the day with a visit to Napton on the Hill. Clear nights are not good for migratory birds which tend to fly over, so I did not hope for much, and indeed, I was not disappointed as it was very quiet! I parked the car at the church at 0700 and walked to the windmill and quarry. Several Buzzard's circled overhead with two Raven's over the church and a solitary Spotted Flycatcher was on the church tower. The bushes on the hill slopes seemed alive with warblers - Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat, together with several juvenile Bullfinches. A list of sightings can be seen at the end of this posting.

Leaving Napton at 0915, it was on to Pitsford Reservoir to obtain a permit covering Pitsford, Hollowell and Ravensthorpe Reservoirs. The journey took longer than expected due to several wrong turns! Arriving at the fishing lodge, I soon had my permit but the shear size of Pitsford Reservoir will have to wait for another day.

I arrived at Hollowell Reservoir at 1040, choosing to visit the Guilsborough end where the feeder stream is located. Two birders were just leaving and I was informed that it was "very quiet". The only waders at the feeder stream were two Black Tailed Godwit's but the opening water revealed a number of Teal, Wigeon, and Shoveler. The "Point" enabled me to scan the shoreline revealing a solitary Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. Two Barnacle Geese were with the Canada Geese and two Shelduck. Several Yellow Wagtail graced the surrounding grassland.

Leaving Hollowell at 1200 it was time to pick up a snack from the village store in Guilsborough before arriving at Ravensthorpe at 1230. Forty years ago, the reservoir was viewed from the causeway, but today the bushes have grown up restricting the views. However, a small carpark is provided nearby and access along a wooded track takes you to the dam. The east side of the reservoir, which is fished, and appeared very quiet with only the expected common water birds. At the end of the track, a "cat walk" over the outflow allows access to the dam. It was here that I thought I was looking at a perched Buzzard on a concrete post. A good photo opportunity at close quarters I thought as I approached. Viewing through my bins gave me a shock - it was a Tawny Owl out in the open, in the sunshine, my best view ever and my first sighting this year! I spent some time observing this bird and wondering why it was in such an open, exposed location? A solitary Sand Martin was also sighted here. The west side of the reservoir had more wildfowl with Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck. Time was no longer on my side so I left at 1500.

A good day's birding!

Sightings - Napton on the Hill.
Starling; Wood Pigeon; Robin; Blackbird; Magpie; Chaffinch; Carrion Crow; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Buzzard; Linnet; Jackdaw; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Chiffchaff; Song Thrush; Green Woodpecker; Willow Warbler; Wren; Common Whitethroat; Blackcap; Dunnock; Cormorant; Long Tailed Tit; Moorhen; Jay; Stock Dove; Skylark; Rook; LBB Gull; Mallard; Collared Dove; BH Gull; Bullfinch; House Martin; Swallow; Spotted Flycatcher; Raven.

Sightings - Hollowell Reservoir.
Jackdaw; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Buzzard; Lapwing; Pheasant; Goldfinch; BH Gull; LBB Gull; Green Woodpecker; Mute Swan; Teal; Pied Wagtail; Black Tailed Godwit; Moorhen; Shoveler; Grey Heron; Swallow; House Martin; Cormorant; Greenshank; Coot; Green Sandpiper; Wigeon; Canada Goose; Great Crested Grebe; Shelduck; Barnacle Goose; Linnet; Mallard; Skylark; Rook; Reed Bunting; Yellow Wagtail; Starling; Robin; Willow Warbler.

Sightings - Ravensthorpe Reservoir.
Coot; Mallard; Mute Swan; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; BH Gull; Tufted Duck; Wren; Cormorant; Great Crested Grebe; LBB Gull; Coal Tit; Chaffinch; Great Tit; Robin; Pied Wagtail; Green Woodpecker; Moorhen; Sand Martin; Buzzrad; Tawny Owl; Marsh Tit; Blue Tit; Chiffchaff; Blackbird; Wigeon; Gadwall; Pochard.


DaveN said...

Must have been nice to return to one of your old haunts, Kevin. Cracking shots of the Tawny Owl too. Does seem a bit odd that it was sitting out in the open like that. Maybe It was disturbed from its roost?

Kevin Groocock said...

Cheers, Dave.

Odd indeed! At first, and from a distance, I thought it was going to be a Buzzard! Close inspection proved me very wrong!

Must admit that some work was going on in the woodland so it may have been disturbed. Other thoughts were of a young inexperienced bird, injury or illness or even an escape.

However, a nice bird to see - my best ever and indeed my first this year.