Sunday, 31 March 2013

Nene Washes

Dave, Colin and I decided on an early start on the Nene Washes and was not disappointed with a varied mixture of species despite being -5c overnight. We started at Eldernell with a walk out to Lord Holts Wood then a visit to the Big Chill before working March Farmers and the area between Dog in a Doublet and Flag Fen. Despite the cold start it was a pleasant morning as the wind was light with sunny periods, good visibility and with the Wash well flooded there was plenty to keep you occupied.

Marsh Harrier: at least 4 at Eldernell, one at Big Chill, 2 March Farmers and one Flag Fen
Buzzard: single March Farmers
Red Kite: 2 over Bishop’s Farm just after we had left March Farmers on the A605 and a few seen on the way home.
Peregrine: one flew over on our arrival at Eldernell
Little Egret: one near the sluice, Dog in a Doublet.
Great White Egret: 3 birds that could only be this species based on size seen distantly from March Farmers towards Kingsland flying south off the Wash but lost to view over the A605.
Crane: one flew along Mortons Leam and seen from the A605 heading east, another or same bird flew low over car just as we were leaving March Farmers and landed in field.
Bittern: one boomed several times near Eldernell
Whooper Swan: at least 17 on March Farmers towards Ring End, at least one at Eldernell and others heard.
Bewick’s Swan: one definite adult with Mute Swans near Eldernell and a couple of other possibilities not confirmed due to heat haze.
Snipe: 10+
Black-tailed Godwit: 400+ lord Holts Wood, Iclandic race
Oystercatcher: 8 on March farmer and 3 at Eldernell
Plenty of duck present with thousands of Wigeon and Teal along with hundreds of Pintail and Shoveler and smaller numbers of Pochard and Gadwall.
Brambling and Siskin at Eldernell
Nene Washes at Eldernell looking north from car park

Distant views towards March Farmers caption

March Farmers looking east

Friday, 29 March 2013

Grandborough valley

Despite extensive searching around the Flecknoe, Shuckburgh, Nethercote and Wolfhamcote area of the grandborough valley Dave and I failed miserably this morning with the highlight being a partial albino Fieldfare near Shuckburgh  and a calling Grey Partridge Grandborough Fields. Still good numbers of Tree Sparrow on the Baseley Smallholding feeders with at least 15 at mid-day.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Shed and Sand Martin

Woke in the night minutes before the 03:39 Space Shed pass so donned suitable clothing and watch its passage east through another thin cloud layer and full moon. The local council switch off the majority of street lights around here in the wee hours to save money and it seem to be encouraging owls on to the estate with Tawny and a Little Owl calling.
Only my third migrant of the year was recorded this morning when a Sand Martin flew over the garden heading north. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Draycote Water

With a full moon showing through a thin layer of cloud I thought I would do the pond at first light hoping for migrants and owls. The male Smew was off farnborough bank but little else till toft shallows where 2 Water Rail sulked under the broad walk. At least 6 Chiffchaff, Treecreeper, 4 Siskin and 2 Lesser Redpolls were in the area. Grays Barn had a Coal Tit. Other birds of note included a Shelduck, Buzzard and Raven.
Treecreeper by Francoise Farrington

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Catch Up

Space Shed
For all you lot suffering from insomnia then the space sheds times might keep you company.

Comet Panstarrs
Still showing just above the western horizon but I have not managed to see it yet due to my view being blocked by my neighbours houses and now they have become paranoia thinking I'm peering in to there bedrooms. 

Sand Martin, Wheatear and White Wagtail have been recorded on my patch over the last few days while Dave found a Marsh Harrier on Sunday over Newnhams Lodge heading for Lawford Heath. I have had up to 5 Buzzards and 3 Sparrowhawks daily over the garden along with the odd Raven.

Despite some reporting March the coldest for sometime I have not done to bad on the mothing front with 

Oak Beauty
Dotted Border
March Moth
Grey Shoulder-knot
Common Quaker
Pale Brindled Beauty
Clouded Drab

Another Moth and Weasel
Weasel by Bob Hazel
This odd looking craft is a Moth foil - been around a few years but not seen at the pond very often. Pic by Bob Hazel

Monday, 11 March 2013

Black Redstart

Finally caught up with the female Black Redstart at Draycote Water which was present for its third day but Jesus h Christ it was cold with a bitterly east/north east wind that got through what or how many layers you had on. Additional birds include a juvenile Glaucous Gull loafing around the reservoir or adjacent fields, Raven, male Smew, 2 Buzzard, Grey Wagtail and 2 Tree Sparrow.
In the Grandborough Valley a female Stonechat was on the western hedgerow of Cym and Dave’s smallholding between hectors house and the caravan, 11 Tree Sparrow around the feeders and 2 Golden Plover over.
Black Redstart by Bob Hazel

Hopefully we will have some clear evening skies soon which just might give us the chance to see a naked eye comet this month. Through mid to late March Comet panSTARRS makes its appearance known. After gracing the skies of our friends in the south, now it’s our turn here in the northern hemisphere to see this icy traveller in the early evening skies.
You have to be looking at the right time though, with an unobstructed horizon. Look west after sunset when the sky is just dark enough, but leave it too long and the comet will be too low down to the horizon. Also remember that this object isn't the brightest of comets. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013


A dull dreary day and not the ideal conditions for hanging around Fog Cottages, nr Cathiron waiting for Tangmere to appear this afternoon. As the sky's darkened and the rain became heavier she finally appeared out of the gloom going full pelt pulling her full compliment of coaches as well as a diesel engine on the back. Looked good and smelt even better. I cocked my shot up so grateful for Bobs photo below and for JJs efforts at Rugby Station.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ravensthorpe, Pitsford and pond

Popped over to Northampton this morning so called in on Ravensthorpe Reservoir where there was no sign of the Bittern, just a redhead Smew and long distant views of the Great White Egret at Pitsford Reservoir. Meanwhile Bob just about coped with the start of the fishing season at the pond and reward with a first winter Iceland Gull which flew in mid-morning. This afternoons sunshine produced 3 Sparrowhawk and 2 Buzzards over the garden.


Southern Region Light Pacific 4-6-2 no 34067 Tangmere will pass through Rugby on March 7th  as she is moved from Carnforth to Southall. Due in at 15:24 after passing Nuneaton at 15:04 and will leave at 16:09 before stopping again at Northampton for water.

Monday, 4 March 2013


Gob smacked to find out from Bob that the fishing season starts tomorrow at the pond - blimey theses new owners don't waste a second when he came round for a chat before photographing 3 of the four species I trapped last night.

Dotted Border

Pale Brindled Beauty

Oak Beauty

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Brent spring

While Francoise was enjoying the arrival of 3 Brent Geese at the pond Dave and I were diligently plodding the valley hoping for avian gold but had to make do with just the usual suspects. At least there was a marked improvement in biding activity as the spring sunshine produced good numbers of Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Fieldfare, House Sparrow and Skylark. At least 6 Hare, Red-legged Partridge and 6 Buzzard also noted.
Brent Geese Draycote Water by Francoise.