Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Red Necked Grebe, Pitsford Reservoir, Northants.

I had not seen a Red Necked Grebe for three years, so I decided to head over to Pitsford Reservoir, where a Grebe had taken up residence for the last week. It was a new area for me as I normally head for the causeway and the reserve side. Today, I arrived at the country park, where I was relieved of my money at the car park (normally £2.60 but as I only had three £1 coins, I paid over the odds!). On my way to the dam and valve tower, I met an elderly gentleman of 84yrs, with a stick, taking off for a circuit of the water (c7miles!) at a rate that had me almost collapsing, and I'm 25 years younger! He was a very pleasant chap, telling me about working on Rhodesia Railways which involved walking and checking many miles of track! Arriving at the valve tower, the Grebe was soon located and what an obliging bird!

Osprey at Pitsford Reservoir

After spending the morning at Brandon Marsh, I headed over to the Dam at Pitsford Reservoir, to touch base with Red Necked Grebe, a bird that I had not recorded for three years! While enjoying the Grebe, near the valve tower, attention was drawn to a low flying Osprey. Unfortunately, the Osprey did not feel the need for lunch and carried on, harassed by the local Corvids! Spookily, while watching the Osprey, I received a text from John J alerting me to an Osprey at Draycote Water!

Brandon Marsh


It looks as though Wednesdays will be my main birding day of the future. Heather is normally baking for the Country Market and so the car is normally available. The forecast sounded promising for an early start and I decided to head to Brandon Marsh. The forecast was wrong and on arrival, it was quite misty, which then turned into dark grey dull cloud, with a hefty shower thrown in for good measure! Walking towards Newlands, the female Marsh Harrier appeared out of the mist, poor light, but a year tick.

Marsh Harrier

I visited all of the pools, hoping that the two Avocets which graced Brandon over the last two days, would still be present, but alas, no sign. A singing male Blackcap was observed on entry to New Hare Covert and the sound of Chiffchaff rang out.


A Song Thrush sang in the gloom.

East Marsh Pool held four Oystercatcher, but after a long search, only one Ringed Plover could be seen. A pair of Wigeon, two Redshank and five Sand Martins were of note. The feral Barnacle Goose was near the Baldwin Hide.


Mute Swan

"Funky" Cormorant

Birds of prey included the Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard. At least seven Lesser Redpoll were close to the Wright Hide.

The Carlton Hide allowed views of one of three Water Rails.

Not a bad visit despite the gloom! As I left, the skies brightened!

Todays Sightings:

Robin; Carrion Crow; Wood Pigeon; Wren; Oystercatcher; GreyLag Goose; Black Headed Gull; Blackbird; Song Thrush; Dunnock; Magpie; Chiffchaff; Great Tit; SparrowHawk; Pied Wagtail; Grey Heron; Canada Goose; Great Crested Grebe; Tufted Duck; Blue Tit; Jay; Stock Dove; Pheasant; Bullfinch; Mallard; Mute Swan; Marsh Harrier; Teal; Lapwing; Shoveler; Cormorant; Gadwall; Coot; Redshank; Chaffinch; Long Tailed Tit; Moorhen; Wigeon; Common Gull; Kestrel; Reed Bunting; Cettis Warbler; Water Rail; Dabchick; Green Woodpecker; LBB Gull; Barnacle Goose; Lesser Redpoll; Sand Martin; Ringed Plover; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Blackcap; Buzzard.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Swift Valley Nature Reserve, Rugby


Being a poor pensioner, my birding is now restricted to the local reserves that I have neglected over the years! One such reserve is Swift Valley, a real gem that is well looked after by Chris, Neville and their loyal group of volunteers. The efforts put in here are a credit to the team and I really must muck in and lend a hand! While taking images at the feeders, Neville crept up on me, causing me to enter orbit! He was about to replenish the feeders so I gave a hand, regretting getting down low as my knees almost gave way, making getting up a little awkward! A good couple of hours were spent here with some good birds coming into camera range.

Marsh Tit

Coal Tit

Long Tailed Tit




Great Tit


Reed Bunting

Blue Tit