Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Patchwork 2

Between Willoughby and Sawbridge
2 Tawny Owl perched together on an overhanging branch picked out by the car headlights as we headed for Flecknoe before first light.

Grandborough Fields Farm 
Red-legged Partridge calling
Tawny Owl – at least 3 Calling

Baseley Smallholding
Tree Sparrow
Red-legged Partridge
Green Woodpecker

Draycote Water
Smew male off farborough bank

Rookery Farm
Tree Sparrow 10
Chaffinch 100
Collard Dove 80

Lawford Heath Lane
Linnet 50
Great-spotted Woodpecker

Kings Newnham
Grey Partridge 6
Wigeon 300
Golden Plover 100
Mute Swan 55
Buzzard 2

Nuthatch 3
Coal Tit 2
Marsh Tit 2
Long-tailed Tit 7
Goldcrest 1
Raven 1
Buzzard 2

Sunday, 23 December 2012


Out later than normal so gave the pond a miss despite the strong winds overnight and pottered around the patch. Many fields flooded, roads closed and rivers swollen

Baseley Smallholding
Tree Sparrow 20

Malvern Hall Farm
Redwing 200
Fieldfare 500
Buzzard 2

Napton on the Hill
Raven 3

Napton Reservoir
Shoveler 2 male
Gadwall 9
Reed Bunting
Common Gull 200

Lawford Heath Lane
Brambling female
Tree Sparrow 30
Great-spotted Woodpecker
Jay 2
Buzzard 2

Brandon Marsh Visitor Center
Nuthatch 2
Coal Tit 2
Great-spotted Woodpecker 3

Kings Newnham
Mute Swan 55
Wigeon 200
Golden Plover 250
Lapwing 300
Yellow-legged Gull adult
the flooded River Avon valley encroaching on Newnhams Lodge

Nuthatch 3
Marsh Tit 2
Coal Tit 2
Long-tailed Tit 7
Jay 2
Fieldfare 100
Long-tailed Tit Cathiron - my first birdy effort with the camera. - not brilliant but its a start

Saturday, 22 December 2012

60009 Union of South Africa

Torrential rain prevented us from watching the Union of South Africa over Harringworth Viaduct so we decided to pitch up at Kettering Station where there was a bit more cover and less chance of flooding. Unfortunately everybody else had similar ideas so views were limited on the narrow platform till we eventually chose to get soaked battling against Network Rail fencing by using Dave’s car as a platform.
LNER A4 Class 4-6-2 no 60009 Union of South Africa approaching Kettering Station in the pouring rain

support staff fill her tanks and tender

fireman stoking her up ready for the off

about to leave her admiring umbrellas and head for a flooded York

Friday, 21 December 2012

Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and Moths

A quiet day spent dodging the floods and stocking up feeding stations on the patch before Christmas arrives. Birds of note were 2 Marsh Tit and 3 Nuthatch.
No surprise that moths have been very thin on the ground recently so the Chestnut, Grey Shoulder-knot and Light Brown Apple Moth in my trap overnight were very welcome while a couple of Winter Moths have emerged tonight just before the next deluge is due.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Stargazing Live 2013

BBC are running a new series of the astronomy show Stargazing Live over the three nights of 8th , 9th and 10th January 2013 all at 8pm on BBC 2 supported by local events all over the country so check to see if there is one on near you.

Out and about

Despite heavy rain and more flooding a trawl round the patch was reasonably successful with Barn Owl at Napton Reservoir, male Smew and Goosander at the pond, 2 Brambling, 60 Linnet, Jay and 50+ Tree Sparrow Lawford Heath Lane, 67 Mute Swan, Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Partridge, 100 Wigeon, 50 Teal and 500 Fieldfare between Bretford and King’s Newnham and a Waxwing over Sainsburys, Rugby at 3pm.

New Camera

I lost my camera and have finally replaced it with a Cannon PowerShot SX40HS and if I get anywhere near the results John Judge has with his then I will be a happy bunny. All hand held and not digiscoped
Solitary Sandpiper, Isle of Scilly October 2012

Dotterel, Isle of Scilly October 2012

American Golden Plover, Isle of Scilly, October 2012

Waxwing, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, December 2012

many thanks to John for sharing.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Steam - The Christmas Yorkshireman

On Saturday 22 December LNER A4 Class 4-6-2 no 60009 Union of South Africa will haul The Christmas Yorkshireman from London Victoria to York with her route taking her over the famous Harringworth Viaduct, the longest masonry viaduct in Britain. Yeah I no its your last chance for shopping but whats better, standing in the poring rain watching nostalgia go past or buying smellies. Key times are (approx so get there early) 

London Victoria
d 06:28

Brent Curve Jc
a 07:22

d 07:37

St Albans
a 07:59

d 08:01

d 08:15

d 08:17



a 09:16

d 09:46



Melton Mowbray
a 10:44

d 10:47

a 14:03

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Space shed for Christmas

If you have a child that still believes in Father Christmas there’s a golden opportunity on Christmas Eve to see their eyes light up with glee when you point out the space shed as it goes over and tell them Santa's on his way. Of course it’s a lie – the whole festive thing is baloney so what’s one more untruth.

Friday, 14 December 2012

A lot milder

A couple of Brambling and Tree Sparrow was all we managed in a brief visit to Lawford Heath Lane this afternoon due to the dull and very wet conditions.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Meteor and Goosanders

Gave up the comfort of a warm bed to be on the Dunsmore Ridge in the middle of the night looking for the annual Geminid meteor shower (peaks tonight but forecast is poor) then managed to survive the freezing conditions for another view of Mercury, Venus and Saturn just above the horizon before the mist started to develop.
By the time we arrived at the pond the clear sky’s and wintry sunshine had burnt off any mist over the pond though some still lingered in the valley. Disappointingly the only obvious cold weather movement was a few Goosander and a single Golden Plover. The Country Park had 22 Long-tailed Tit and 10 Bullfinch (16 recorded today on site) while 2 Chiffchaff were on the end of hensborough bank and 3 Lesser Redpoll near the scrape. Other birds of note were 4 Goldcrest, 2 Raven and of course the male Smew.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Chiffchaffs are cheap today cheaper than .......

The thick fog that has shrouded the pond for the last 36 hours drifted away to bright sunshine as we walked to toft shallows producing good views of the male Smew and possibly a record winter’s count of Chiffchaff for me with 4 seen (2 in toft shallows and 2 fishing lodge which are probably the 2 seen on hensborough bank yesterday when one was also in toft bay so could be five on site)
Other passerines included 6+ Goldcrest, 14 Long-tailed Tit, 25 Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpolls and Treecreeper feeding very actively in the -5 conditions. Although an increase in Coot and Tufted Duck numbers other duck species counts were piss poor for this time of year with only 4 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 20 Wigeon, 22 Goldeneye and 40+ Teal noted. Three Snipe were in toft shallows while another was seen over the valley, other sightings included 10 Meadow Pipit, 60+ Lapwing, Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and a few winter thrushes.
Yesterday in very poor conditions I might have had 11 Waxwing over hensborough bank heading west but views were poor, Tree Sparrows still on the saddle bank feeder and Grey Wagtail.
good to have Bob back in the field and sent me this shot of the Smew

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Planets 3

Having seen the red spot on Jupiter in the evening I was out early to observe Saturn, Venus and Mercury just above the south eastern horizon then a walk to toft shallows with Mark produced male Smew, male Goosander, 2 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Med Gull, Smew and Waxwings

The roost was slow to clear at Draycote Water this morning and an impressive 400+ Greater Black-backed Gulls along with 2 adult Yellow-legged and adult winter Med Gull from farborough bank were still present at 8am. The male Smew found yesterday by Francoise was also off farborough bank but flighty but little else seen as we walked to toft shallows apart from female Goosander. Back at the car park a female Brambling was with the Chaffinch flock.

Wolston Waxwings by Helen Scarsbrook
The higher ground between Shugborough and Marton had received some snow in the night and it was over half an inch thick around the Long Itchington area when we called in for breakfast then it was off to Wolston for the Waxwings. At least 13 of the 15 that had been seen yesterday were still feeding in trees around the Wolston Lane/Kelseys Avenue area off Warwick Road occasionally flying off towards the opposite side of road or the nearby Manor Estate road before returning. Did not bother recording at Brandon it was so dire and the same went for Lawford Heath. The Lawford Heath Lane finch flock was still present but we were looking directly in to the sun so only i.d. one Brambling and a few Tree Sparrow.
distant Smew pic by Francoise yesterday

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lizzy 2

LMS Princess Class 4-6-2 no 46201 Princess Elizabeth [6201] arrived at Nuneaton 47 minutes late hauling THE CATHEDRALS EXPRESS to Chester from Slough.
After only being 12 minutes down at Fenny Compton she must have had the signals against her and lost a further 35 minutes when she finally appeared just as the last of the rain cleared making it difficult to photograph due to the low winter Sun.
Most enjoyable listening to those with an ardent passion for there hobby while we waited, a Waxwing flying over the northern end of platform 3 towards the Asda car park calling reminded me of my priorities. Not the best of views but there have been a few sightings in the county recently following a large autumn invasion that’s moving south as they devour their food supply including the odd singles in Rugby over the weekend but none nailed down.
Once Lizzy had been watered and pampered (oiled) by hoards of Network Rail and 46201 support staff she made a grand departure.

46201 at Nuneaton

46201 approaching Fenny Compton by Terry Southgate