Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 28 October 2011

Draycote Water


Great White Egret
briefly at 1500 before being flushed and not relocated

(reported just as I got home!)

My previous posts today have taken a different view over Draycote Water! Eventually, the fog cleared and a pleasant day ensued. However, I was rather limited as to what I could capture with the camera so was grateful for a number of obliging Bullfinches.


In the trees below Draycote Bank c14 Grey Herons graced the top of a tree

Best birds included six Goldeneye, six Goosander, one Rock Pipit on Farborough Spit, one Grey Wagtail on Draycote Bank and three Raven over. While standing on Farborough Bank, Golden Plover could be heard but not located.

Black Headed Gull having "mugged" a Great Crested Grebe for its dinner!




Todays Sightings:

Wood Pigeon; Starling; Blackbird; Carrion Crow; Robin; Dunnock; Black Headed Gull; Coot; Mallard; Dabchick; Grey Heron; Tufted Duck; Pied Wagtail; Mute Swan; Linnet; Cormorant; Lapwing; Goosander; Great Crested Grebe; Canada Goose; Chaffinch; Teal; Goldeneye; Rock Pipit; Jackdaw; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Wren; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Goldfinch; Magpie; LBB Gull; Bullfinch; Rook; Skylark; Grey Wagtail; Moorhen; Wigeon; Pheasant; Meadow Pipit; Buzzard; Golden Plover (H); Raven.

Draycote Water - Considerate Fishermen? (I dont think!)

I firmly believe that everyone has a right to enjoy whatever pastime they choose and without detriment to those around them. I have nothing against the fishermen pursuing their sport, the yachts, windsurfers or anyone just enjoying the vistas that Draycote Water provides. I do, however, get a little touchy when those pursuing chosen hobbies thoughtlessly impact on my enjoyment. Today, the fishermen were right pains in the arse!

This bay was full of ducks and geese before these bank fishermen sent everything flying! Prior to them moving onto the shore, I bid them a pleasant good morning. One guy said (due to the fog) you'll need night vision glasses to see the birds. I said there are two things this morning that will prevent me seeing birds one is the fog and the other is the bank / boat fishermen disturbing the birds. His reply was that bank and boat fishermen make no difference to the birds who take no notice of their presence. Needless to say, the area has NO birds!

These fishermen drove their boat to the Farborough Spit sending everything away including a bathing Lapwing that I was trying to photograph. They briefly parked before moving on but again NO birds.

Two boats parked on the island. Again NO birds!

It is also unacceptable to drive boats into flocks of wildfowl causing them to scatter. Toft Bay held a good number of ducks until the fishermen arrived and scattered them with most heading towards Rainbow Corner. When I got back to Rainbow Corner, boats arrived before me sending everything back towards Toft.

I decided to have a polite word with those at the fishing lodge. This was a complete waste of time. I was informed that as the fishermen pay £70 per boat, the WHOLE reservoir is sacrosanct to them! I was told that birdwatchers should confine themselves to the bird hide area in Toft. I was then informed that I could go and look at some birds (Coot!) beyond the boat moorings. They admitted they were not birdwatchers and had NO interest in birds and that they PAID to go wherever they like.

I am sure most fishermen have a genuine interest in wildlife. I bear them no malice, I just ask for them to be considerate and not spoil my enjoyment.

Draycote Water - Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

With the fog covering all of the water, it was impossible to see any birds let alone take any pictures! Every so often, an area of brightness occured and made the title "Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness" very apt. The term "mist" is used very loosely!

Eventually, the fog turned to mist, the mist cleared and a pleasantly mild sunny day lifted the spirits.

Draycote Water - "The Fog"

Some of you may remember the horror film "The Fog" (1980). Draycote Water this morning resembled the set of this film where the vengeful ghosts of mariners killed in a shipwreck terrorised a small town. The fog came down followed by a sinister knock on the door. When the door was opened, the unfortunate inhabitants met a grizzly death! Some potential characters - not exactly mariners so fishermen will have to do!

Could not resist Francoise emerging through the fog!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

How Dry is Stanford Reservoir?

The Valve Tower

A change of scenery this morning as I headed for the peace and quiet of Stanford Reservoir. Well, if you think Draycote Water is low have a look at the following images from around the site! Water is pumped from Stanford to Draycote in times of need! Drought? What drought?

To visit Stanford Reservoir you will need a permit which gives you the gate key codes and is available free if you are a Wildlife Trust member from:

Parking at the dam, I walked the south shore (Northants) as far as the inlet stream. All the expected common waterfowl were confined to the sparse areas of open water. The hedgerows held good numbers of Tree Sparrows, mixed tits & finches and Fieldfare but interestingly, no Redwings. I scanned the large expanses of mud in the hope that the Spoonbill (? Draycote bird) was still present, but I was to be disappointed. With large areas of mud, I expected some good wader numbers but apart from c200 Golden Plovers, I located two Snipe, five Dunlin and one Curlew Sandpiper. Whilst at the inlet stream end, two Ravens circled over, with Buzzard and a Kingfisher flew out of the stilling ponds.

Golden Plover

Stanford Reservoir has an active ringing group and it was nice to meet a few and chat. Several nets were up and tapes were being played but birds seemed to be avoiding them. A good source of reference is their website:

Todays Sightings:

Rook; Carrion Crow; Jay; Jackdaw; Wood Pigeon; Pheasant; Red Legged Partridge; Collared Dove; Mallard; Long Tailed Tit; Coot; Mute Swan; Wigeon; Moorhen; Cormorant; Robin; Gadwall; Shoveler; Black Headed Gull; Great Crested Grebe; Teal; Grey Heron; Lapwing; Wren; Pied Wagtail; Chaffinch; Skylark; Tree Sparrow; Tufted Duck; Blackbird; Green Woodpecker; Fieldfare; Bullfinch; Common Gull; Starling; Magpie; Blue Tit; Reed Bunting; Dunnock; Goldfinch; Yellowhammer; Golden Plover; Dunlin; Snipe; Curlew Sandpiper; Linnet; Kestrel; Buzzard; Raven; Kingfisher.