Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Friday, 26 April 2013

Brandon Marsh


An early morning visit to Brandon Marsh this morning in search of migrants was an enjoyable experience in spring like conditions and a choral symphony of bird song as territories are marked out. Unfortunately, most of the birds were rather camera shy! New to my 2013 list were several Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. Surprise of the morning was a Marsh Harrier over Newlands, giving distant views from the screen area. It was also nice to see the pair of Great Crested Grebes embarking on their courtship display in front of Wright Hide. A full list of species can be found at the end of this post.

Common Whitethroat

Great Crested Grebe

Marsh Harrier



Todays Sightings:

Swallow; Starling; Magpie; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Grey Lag Goose; Blackbird; Pheasant; Stock Dove; Jackdaw; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Wren; Willow Warbler; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Mallard; Mute Swan; Song Thrush; Coot; Canada Goose; Great Crested Grebe; Chaffinch; Blackcap; Cettis Warbler; Sedge Warbler; Reed Bunting; LBB Gull; Whitethroat; Lapwing; Shoveler; Oystercatcher; Sand Martin; Tufted Duck; Gadwall; Ostrich; Teal; Little Ringed Plover; Moorhen; Barnacle Goose; Jay; Dunnock; Green Woodpecker; Cormorant; Common Sandpiper; Cuckoo; Marsh Harrier; Buzzard; Redshank; Ringed Plover; Lesser Whitethroat; Nuthatch; Goldcrest; Treecreeper; Goldfinch; Garden Warbler; Pied Wagtail; Long Tailed Tit; Greenfinch.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Brandon Marsh

Willow Warbler

Thursday is not a day that I would normally visit Brandon Marsh, as the worthy volunteers of the conservation team are working hard to improve the reserve. Today, however, I had arranged to meet up with Matt Johnston who is working towards a documentary on bird watching. Some of you might meet him around the area and hopefully you will assist him in his work. The day started rather wet with a keen wind but improved towards midday. It was good to see and hear the increasing numbers of migrants. Spring would not be the same without the sound of the Willow Warbler and these were well within double figures. A male Blackcap was singing near the Baldwin Hide and a Common Sandpiper was on East Marsh Pool. A Common Tern briefly visited East Marsh Pool but disappeared as quickly as it arrived! Hopefully, Matt got something out of the morning and it was a pity I could only stay until 1200hrs. A list of sightings can be found at the end of this post.



Willow Warbler

Todays Sightings:

Dunnock; Starling; Blackbird; Chaffinch; Canada Goose; Greylag Goose; Jackdaw; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Black Headed Gull; Magpie; Robin; Blue Tit; Willow Warbler; Great Tit; LBB Gull; Sand Martin; Swallow; Green Woodpecker; Wren; Redshank; Lapwing; Shoveler; Coot; Tufted Duck; Common Sandpiper; Little Ringed Plover; Mallard; Oystercatcher; Moorhen; Teal; Grey Heron; Lesser Redpoll; Treecreeper; Octopus; Cettis Warbler; Common Tern; Snipe; Reed Bunting; Pheasant; Bullfinch; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Song Thrush; Great Crested Grebe; Gadwall; Blackcap; Buzzard; Cormorant.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Napton on the Hill


In the hope of some migrants, I decided to visit Napton on the Hill this morning. The building work at the church is now completed and the natural tranquility of the churchyard has now returned. The path from the windmill down into the quarry has been fenced off, with warnings not to trespass, and a lot of the bushes have been ripped out. The steep path is very muddy and slippery and not for the feint hearted! Bird wise it was disappointing, but not unexpected with clear skies overnight and a strong blow. Best was a couple of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Raven over and my first Cuckoo of the year. It was not a good morning for photography - the only images I managed were of an obliging Kestrel, even if they are a bit washed out!

A brief look at Napton Reservoir provided my first House Martins of the year, but little else!


Napton on the Hill Sightings:

Starling; Rook; Carrion Crow; Robin; Wood Pigeon; Magpie; Greenfinch; Pheasant; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Jackdaw; Blackbird; Great Tit; Chiffchaff; Wren; Aardvark; Green Woodpecker; Song Thrush; Mallard; Dunnock; Coot; Cuckoo; Kestrel; Bullfinch; Raven; Willow Warbler; House Sparrow.

Napton Reservoir Sightings:

Coot; Mute swan; House Martin; Wood Pigeon; Song Thrush; Carrion Crow; Robin; Swallow; Tufted Duck; Mallard; Buzzard; Great Crested Grebe; Canada Goose; Bullfinch; Wren; Pheasant; Dabchick; Harbour Porpoise; Chiffchaff; Reed Bunting; Rook; Jackdaw; Skylark; Long Tailed Tit; Blue Tit; Raven; Magpie; Blackbird; House Sparrow; Starling; Collared Dove.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Swift Valley Nature Reserve Rugby


Having finished a night shift and resembling a "zombie", I was in no mood for travelling very far, so I decided to pay a long over due visit to the the local Swift Valley Nature Reserve. This small reserve along the River Swift and old canal, is sandwiched between a large industrial estate, a rural hotel and a developing housing estate. I have to say that the voluntary wardens, Chris Godding and Neville Weston, and their teams have created a little gem! Their hard work is paying dividends and I can recommend a good hour or two in the area. I spent most of my time around the feeding station but was also pleased to get Willow Warbler on my 2013 list. I would appreciate scrutiny of the Marsh Tit images as images 4 -8 shoe characteristics of Willow Tit. Sightings list at end of post.

Marsh Tit


Long Tailed Tit

Blue Tit



Reed Bunting

Todays Sightings:

Mute Swan; Mallard; Wood Pigeon; Black Headed Gull; Coot; Pheasant; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Dunnock; Long Tailed Tit; Blackbird; Buzzard; Marsh Tit; Robin; Green Woodpecker; Blue Tit; Wren; Moorhen; Kestrel; Great Tit; Willow Warbler; Song Thrush; Nuthatch; Starling; Jay; Magpie; Jackdaw; Carrion Crow; Rook; Chaffinch; Greenfinch; Goldfinch; Bullfinch; Reed Bunting; ?Willow Tit.