Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 21 November 2011

A Field in Northamptonshire

Short Eared Owl

Yet another very dull and misty day, just typical of November, but I decided to go and look for Short Eared Owls. A trip into Northamptonshire produced c8 Short Eared Owls with an accompaniment of Buzzard, Kestrel and Peregrine for good measure. My camera does not cope well with November's dark, dull and misty days so I am pleased with some of my images. However, a return is called for on hopefully a sunny day.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Menage a Trois at Draycote Water!

After visiting Napton Reservoir, I called in at Draycote Water in the hope of some good birds. My intention was to walk to Farborough Spit and back but as events unfolded, I ended up walking the perimeter. Three Mistle Thrushes were gracing the country park when I arrived. Walking along Farborough Bank, near the spit, I picked up a Rock Pipit and noticed the numbers of Goldeneye were increasing with at least seven males and five females. Goosander numbers have also increased with four males and seven females located off the spit and further out, a drake Shoveler was located.

It was while at the spit that a small Grebe was spotted at a distance and in the mist. The Grebe was very mobile, diving and taking to flight regularly. In the gloom, the most obvious parts were a black cap, pale face and darker neck. I could not be sure but some yellow / paleness was on the bill. The size was much larger than Dabchick but smaller than a nearby Great Crested Grebe. My first reaction was Red Necked Grebe. I phoned John Judge and Bob Hazell a a probable Red Necked Grebe but without better views, decided not to put it out on pager. The Grebe was disturbed by the fishertwats and seemed to head to the west shore area. This decided me to walk the perimeter and I met up with Pete Price, so had another set of eyes. Nothing was located in our search until we got back to Toft Shallows and I relocated the Grebe. Again it was mobile but allowed some distant views. We could not decide on Red Necked or Slavonian, but the bird again took flight towards where Bob Hazell was on Farborough Bank. A phone call failed to get him onto the Grebe and by the time we got to him, it could not be located. So please keep em peeled!

While walking the perimeter, five Lesser Redpoll were on the north shore. Toft Shallows provided one Dunlin, a Shelduck and three Pochard. On return to Farborough Bank, the female Common Scoter was located, but again was disturbed by fishertwats and the sailing club rescue boat, giving rides to sailingtwats.

It was not a day for photography, but having carried my camera all round, I felt I had to use it. What better than the amorous Alpacas at Toft. These frisky creatures enjoyed a "Menage a Trois" and I could not resist some voyeur images!

Todays Sightings:

Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Fieldfare; Mistle Thrush; Black Headed Gull; Blue Tit; Mute Swan; Mallard; Coot; Tufted Duck; Meadow Pipit; Cormorant; Pied Wagtail; Linnet; Dabchick; Great Crested Grebe; Rock Pipit; Goosander; Goldeneye; Lapwing; Canada Goose; Teal; Magpie; Shoveler; Kestrel; Wren; Grey Heron; Robin; LBB Gull; Long Tailed Tit; Gadwall; Moorhen; Pheasant; Common Gull; Dunnock; Lesser Redpoll; Goldfinch; Greenfinch; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Shelduck; Great Tit; Dunlin; Pochard; Common Scoter.

Napton Reservoir

I decided to head for Napton Reservoir at first light in the hope that something had dropped in and was staying due to the November mist. Napton is about the only local reservoir holding its normal water levels due to it being a canal feeder. However, only the usual and expected birds were to be observed and with poor light and mist, no images.


Magpie; Black Headed Gull; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Fieldfare; Collared Dove; Coot; Wigeon; Tufted Duck; Mute Swan; Great Crested Grebe; Mallard; Moorhen; Pied Wagtail; Canada Goose; Gadwall; LBB Gull; Green Woodpecker; Blackbird; Pochard; Shoveler; Robin; Greenfinch; Wren; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Redwing; Jackdaw; Lapwing; Common Gull; Chaffinch; Dabchick; Teal; Bullfinch; Kestrel.


Typical of a day off, dull, gloomy and misty so at this time of year, I think that Thomas Hood's poem is very apt. Tomorrow, when i'm back at work, the weather is forecast to improve!

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,

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

I dreamed a dream........................!

Super day, I was in utopia. Every time I turned a corner, a rarity appeared. My life list increased dramatically. A Greater Yellow Legs was identified correctly at Daventry. It was a perfect day. Then I was awakened by (a very strange man) wanting his "special" bins and scope back!

Insert names into the brackets!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Purple Sandpiper at Draycote Water!

The 2nd Island appears!

I was in two minds this morning as to whether to go out and where I should go. My choice was Draycote and when I arrived, I thought I should have stayed in bed! The light was apalling and visibility was very poor. I walked to the Farborough Spit with little motivation! On arrival I could see a wader on the shoreline that was far too dumpy to be a Dunlin. It had to be a Purple Sandpiper! An inland Purple Sandpiper is good, at Draycote it is a mega! Only my second bird - both being at Draycote. Bob Hazell soon joined me and we enjoyed the bird but were very frustrated at the poor light which required ISO 1600 on my camera! While watching the bird, I put out group texts to local birders and RBA but, unfortunately, the bird flew across to the west shore and was not relocated. While watching, a Red Brested Merganser (with a deformed bill) swam in, but soon became very mobile around the water with disturbance from the fishertwats. Farborough Bank also held six female and one male Goosander and a Rock Pipit. The Purple Sandpiper was last seen flying towards the inlet but a thorough search drew a blank. Checking the outlet produced a solitary Redshank and at least thirteen Dunlin. A good but gloomy morning!

I wonder what plans Severn Trent have regarding the very low water levels. Without significant rain / snow in the next three months, Spring looks dire.

Below are some record shots from today. I did my best but my camera does not like anything above ISO 400 so ISO 1600 was never really going to work!

Purple Sandpiper

Red Breasted Merganser

(Note the deformed bill!)




Todays Sightings:

Jackdaw; Black Headed Gull; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Starling; Chaffinch; Great Tit; Cormorant; Great Crested Grebe; Coot; Pied Wagtail; Grey Heron; Mallard; LBB Gull; Canada Goose; Tufted Duck; Goosander; Grey Lag Goose; Linnet; Meadow Pipit; Lapwing; Teal; Purple Sandpiper; Red Breasted Merganser; Rook; Rock Pipit; Redshank; Dunlin; Wigeon; Dabchick; Magpie; Green Woodpecker; Common Gull; Wren; Dunnock; Blue Tit; Robin; Skylark; GBB Gull; Long Tailed Tit.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Another wander around the Napton area.

With not a lot of exceptional birds in the area, I decided to have another wander around the Napton area, visiting Napton on the Hill and Napton Reservoir.


Common Gulls


Mute Swan


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Common as Duck - Birds around Napton Reservoir

Golden Plover

A quiet day spent around Napton Reservoir capturing some of the more common birds (as nothing out of the ordinary was around!). It was good to meet up with Tim M who was kind enough to show me some of his images taken around the Leam Valley. I have to say that I was very impressed and would be proud to have them as my own. Perhaps we can persuade Tim to publish them in a blog or on a website?




Mute Swan