Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Great Grey Shrike - Napton on the Hill

Reports of a Great Grey Shrike at Napton on the Hill motivated me to go out, despite the the dull and eventually damp conditions. The Shrike was on the wires along the old road to Napton Industrial Estate, very mobile and distant. As the rain began to fall heavier, it was last seen in hot pursuit of a small bird over the canal. Some birders reported the Shrike as coming close at times but unfortunately, this was not the case while I was there. The distance and conditions did not bode well for pictures, so below are some record shots.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Draycote Water was very quiet this morning

A very pleasant walk of the perimeter was made in mild and sunny conditions, meeting Bob D, Francoise F, Alan A, and a couple of other birders who I know by face but unfortunately not by name! The positive really stops now as Draycote had very little to offer with the lowest number of birds for some time.

Two Golden Plovers were in the field below Farborough Bank and a lone Redshank flew along the Bank, constantly disturbed. Wildfowl numbers seemed low with Tufted Duck dominating, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pochard and Goldeneye (7). A solitary Common Sandpiper was by the inlet. I could not turn anything else into anything special and include a day list at the end of this post.


Tufted Duck



 (More images on my website - see link opposite)

Todays Sightings:

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

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Napton Reservoir

With news of a Bearded Tit still present at Napton Reservoir, this was to be my destination, arriving at 0730 and spending five hours on site. Taking up position overlooking the reed beds, it was over two hours before the distinctive "pinging" call was heard and the Bearded Tit was seen briefly in flight. This bird was to prove very elusive, but its call and brief flights continued until about 1100, after which no further sightings occured. This Bearded Tit was my first in Warwickshire for over forty years having seen two birds at Brandon Marsh, on the farm pools.

While waiting, a Cettis Warbler called and flitted through the reeds, a Kingfisher commuted across the water, Water Rail scurried through the reed bases and three Snipe enjoyed the mud. The wildfowl were made up of Tufted Duck, Gadwall, two Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal and Pochard. Overhead, a steady migration of Fieldfare, Redwing, Skylark and Meadow Pipit occured.

A very pleasant morning was had, in the company of Dave H and Mark P, before the clouds took over and heavy rain started to fall. Not a lot of photo opportunities, so my time was taken studying a very obliging Mute Swan, with a female Pochard in a support role.


Mute Swan

(More Images are located on my website - see link opposite)

Todays Sightings:

Jackdaw; Pheasant; Mallard; Black Headed Gull; Great Tit; Chaffinch; Coot; Dabchick; Mute Swan; Great Crested Grebe; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Tufted Duck; Wigeon; Wren; Robin; Moorhen; Pochard; Cettis Warbler; Shoveler; Green Woodpecker; Snipe; Redwing; Grey Heron; Fieldfare; Mistle Thrush; Blackbird; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Kingfisher; Teal; Starling; Sparrowhawk; Skylark; Chiffchaff; Long Tailed Tit; Common Gull; Water Rail; LBB Gull; Linnet; Gadwall; Bearded Tit; Goldfinch; Green Woodpecker; Meadow Pipit; Lapwing; Reed Bunting; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Magpie.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Draycote Water

After a misty start (see post below), the conditions improved into a glorious autumnal day! Unfortunately, the birds present did not hold any surprises, but it was nice to be out on s sunny day for a change.

Farborough Bank held a number of Reed Buntings flitting on the rocks with Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. Once the mist cleared, Toft Bay held Pochard (4), Goldeneye (3), Shoveler (1), amongst the usual Gadwall, Tufted Ducks and Wigeon and Common Gull (1). Four Buzzards were seen over the valley towards Birdingbury and an adult Yellow Legged Gull loafed on the inlet. A further two Goldeneye were off the inlet. While watching the Buzzards, I became aware of a group of duck circling over the sailing boats. I was pleased to confirm them as nine Pintail (three drakes), they circled five times before heading over towards Thurlaston and being lost to view.


Long Tailed Tit

Long Tailed Tit


Carrion Crow



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

Todays Sightings:

Black Headed Gull; Starling; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Magpie; Rook; Chaffinch; Wren; Blackbird; Robin; Kestrel; Pied Wagtail; Blue Tit; Meadow Pipit; Pheasant; Moorhen; Coot; Mallard; Tufted Duck; Cormorant; Dabchick; LBB Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Reed Bunting; Gadwall; Teal; Jackdaw; Goldeneye; Great Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Shoveler; Pochard; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Lapwing; Common Gull; Dunnock; Wigeon; Jay; Grey Heron; Skylark; GBB Gull; Mute Swan; Pintail; Buzzard; Yellow Legged Gull.

Draycote Water

You can see the whole of Britain from Draycote Water!

Leaving the house at 0745 with the promise of a fine, sunny day, I was rather disappointed to arrive at Draycote and find it shrouded in thick mist! However, as the day improved, I was able to diversify my photography and take advantage of the developing conditions. It is not every day that you can see the whole of Britain from Draycote!

My greeting! Early morning fog

Away from the water the morning was brightening

Away from the water the day brightens

A window of opportunity begins to open

The reason that I could not locate the Lesser Scaup in Toft?

View of Britain

View of Britain

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Daventry - Borough Hill

Went to have my flu jab this morning so I was a little later than normal getting out. This usually means competing for space with every man and his many dogs. However, something was telling me that I must have a look at Borough Hill, some premonition of a scarce migrant, maybe? Something spectacular, maybe? Well......................................bu***r all actually! I definitely need those special see everything binoculars as migration is passing me by! Maybe I should imagine that the Meadow Pipits and Skylarks are something they are not? Maybe I should confuse fantasy with reality? Maybe, maybe, maybe! Now, reality, at least I saw my first Fieldfares of the Autumn, actually around thirty of them with about ten Redwings. With very little else to see, I spent some time taking pics of one of my favourite birds - the Goldfinch and even they were playing hard to get!

Todays Sightings:

Magpie; Jackdaw; Black Headed Gull; Skylark; Meadow Pipit; Linnet; Goldfinch; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Green Woodpecker; Dunnock; Buzzard; Kestrel; Wren; Robin; Chaffinch; Blackbird; Blue Tit; great Tit; Redwing; Fieldfare; Pied Wagtail; Pheasant; Long Tailed Tit.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Pitsford Reservoir & Harrington Airfield

To coin a phrase from Larry Grayson "What a gay (insert grey) day"! Did it ever get light? Pitsford Reservoir was my destination this morning, for no good reason other than I have just received my new permit and have not visited for over six months. My early morning drive gave me a hint of the probable light conditions with a mist overlying the fields. Parking on the causeway at Pitsford, I walked the perimeter to the Scaldwell hides (the full seven mile walk was never a possibility today!). From the hides, the only waders were solitary Dunlin and Green Sandpiper but the wildfowl scanning kept me busy. Good numbers of Wigeon, Pochard, Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Duck with at least ten Pintail and my first Goldeneye of the autumn. Several Little Egrets flew into the bay providing some photo opportunities, but with the need for high ISO in the still dull conditions, nothing special was to be expected.The hedgerows and bushes held mixed tit / finch flocks with numerous Goldcrest and a Willow Tit standing out. Tree Sparrow numbers seemed down - confirmed by a (warden) ringing near the main feeding station. Two Ravens honked overhead. From the Scaldwell hide, I had scope views of the Great White Egret near the fishing lodge. I lost sight, but later located it in the Holcot Arm before it flew towards Scaldwell Bay. I managed some VERY distant record shots as it flew over the far bank (about a mile away!). While standing on the causeway watching the Great White Egret, another birder pointed out a Caspian Gull consuming a rather large fish almost next to the Egret!

Little Egret

Wigeon (Not the best but I like it!)

Record Shots of the Great White Egret from the causeway looking towards Holcot Arm

Leaving Pitsford, I decided to stop off at the old airfield near Harrington. Best birds were at least 250 Golden Plover, 30+ Yellowhammers around the bunkers, 50+ Skylarks, small groups of Redwing, Buzzard and four Kestrel.

Golden Plovers

Todays Sightings:

Great Crested Grebe; Black Headed Gull; Wren; Coot; Wigeon; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Mute Swan; Cormorant; Moorhen; Mallard; Grey Heron; Kestrel; Red Legged Partridge; Robin; Goldfinch; Chaffinch; Blackbird; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Long Tailed Tit; Canada Goose; Pheasant; Jackdaw; Tufted Duck; Gadwall; Shoveler; Little Egret; Lapwing; Teal; Dunlin; Great White Egret; Common Gull; Pintail; Willow Tit; Goldeneye; Pied Wagtail; Green Sandpiper; Stock Dove; Goldcrest; Pochard; Green Woodpecker; Magpie; Rook; Greylag Goose; Tree Sparrow; Raven; Great Spotted Woodpecker; LBB Gull; Herring Gull; Skylark; Golden Plover; Redwing; Yellowhammer; Buzzard; Linnet; Caspian Gull.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Napton on the Hill

Napton on the Hill should be a great area for migration and it was here that got my attention for four hours this morning, from 0700 until 1100. I have to say that Napton Hill from the church, past the windmill and down into the quarry is a real gem, providing habitat that must surely hold a "mega". However, the area has never given up anything special whenever I have been there, and this morning was to be no different! Migration wise, many smallish groups of Redwing, Skylark and Meadow Pipit flew over, with four Buzzards and a group of eight Cormorant. Several Goldcrests were eagerly observed but could not be turned into a Firecrest. I sat on a bench in the churchyard scanning the bushes and hedgerows, which seemed alive with Tit flocks. Mistle Thrush (2), Nuthatch (2), Treecreeper (1), Coal Tit (3), Goldcrest (5), were about the best, but I eagerly checked out everything in the hope of a Yellow Browed Warbler! May be next time I will be able to borrow some of those special binoculars that enable some to see everything! And not even a photograph!

Todays Sightings:

Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Blackbird; Wren; Robin; Great Tit; Rook; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Magpie; Greenfinch; Treecreeper; Green Woodpecker; Jackdaw; Black Headed Gull; Kestrel; Canada Goose; Buzzard; Redwing; Mallard; Moorhen; Stock Dove; Pheasant; Goldfinch; Skylark; Meadow pipit; Linnet; Pied Wagtail; Dunnock; Goldcrest; Bullfinch; Long Tailed Tit; Song Thrush; Cormorant; Mistle Thrush; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Nuthatch; Coal Tit.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Draycote Water (Again!)

I had difficulty spotting Francoise in her camouflaged birding outfit!

Draycote this morning was rather quiet with only the drake Lesser Scaup showing well, but distant, off Hensborough Bank and a Ruff near Grays Barn, of note. As I was carrying my camera, I felt obliged to use it, and concentrated on the more common birds!

Green Woodpecker

Juv Pied Wagtail

Juv Pied Wagtail

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

(More images on my website - see link opposite)

Todays Sightings:

Graet Tit; Starling; Wood Pigeon; Rook; Carrion Crow; Pied Wagtail; Green Woodpecker; Robin; Meadow Pipit; Cormorant; Mallard; Coot; Black Headed Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Canada Goose; Tufted Duck; Skylark; Mute Swan; Dabchick; Magpie; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Blackbird; LBB Gull; Gdwall; Lapwing; Wigeon; Teal; Moorhen; Jay; Long Tailed Tit; Goldfinch; Buzzard; Lesser Scaup; Wren; Common Gull; Ruff; Jackdaw.

Lesser Scaup - Draycote Water

A few more images of the drake Lesser Scaup at Draycote Water, yesterday (See also post below).