Wednesday, 24 April 2013

More arrivals

Keith was on a roll when he found a Whinchat male at the pond this morning just as Bob and I were about to leave home. Although lost to sight when we arrived, it re-appeared on the wooden fence near the scrape after a 10 minute wait. Bob managed a heavily crop distant record shot not wanting to get to close and disturb the migratory birds feeding up and nesting birds in the area.
A few more additions to the pond year list were seen today with at least 26 Swift, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and of course the Whinchat while other sightings included Shelduck, 5 Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail and Wheatear.

Four Tree Sparrow down the Flecknoe Road and 4 Little Ringed Plover and a single Common Sandpiper along side the A45.

Another good moth catch last night with 52 moths of 16 species from our two traps.
Additions included Early Thorn, Brindled Pug, Double-striped Pug and Agonopterix heracliana

Monday, 22 April 2013

Catch up

Birding wise I managed 2 visits to the Avon Dasset Hills over the weekend. The first a short visit on Saturday produced Grasshopper Warbler while a longer stay on Sunday brought me Whinchat and if my ears did not fool me a flyover Tree Pipit. Kept away from the crowds in the country park and staked out Gredenton and Fenny Compton Hills finding a suitable site to just sit, listen and wait for the birds to come to me.

Down the pond with Bob this morning (Monday) and while he walked to toft bay I checked on the car parks and sailing graveyard hoping for some butterflies but the cool breeze kept them down apart from a single Peacock. Not a lot on the reservoir with the highlight of the visit being 7 Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit on farnborough bank while Whitethroat have only just arrived but one pair was already nest building and two other males singing there heads off.

Butterflies appeared over the weekend with Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma in my garden with Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell seen on Rugby Railway Station.
Small Tortoiseshell Rugby Railway Station
Moths continue to do well with Early Grey and Herald, added to my garden year list and Dave added Brindle Beauty to his.
Early Grey

Twin-spotted Quaker

Brindle Beauty

Saturday, 20 April 2013

60163 Tornado at Rugby

The ‘blue wonder’ Tornado hauling the Cathedral Express London Euston to Holyhead arrived in sunny Rugby this morning on time to another large crowd gathered on platforms one and two and at Myson House. For most it would have been there first chance to see her in blue.




The following two images by John Judge as she passed Myson House

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Redstart, White Wagtails and Hobby

Our walk at the pond this morning was hampered by a strong southerly wind gusting at over 35mph and very difficult to remain standing but at least it brought a few migrants in with at least 4 White Wagtail, 6 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatears and a pair of Redstarts which were feeding off the fence of the field behind farborough spit, distant but a welcome sight and record. Increase in hirundines especially House Martins and the only birds of note were Raven, Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, 10+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Reed Bunting and a Gadwall. Plenty of Blackcaps now in.
The garden had Hobby going over west and House Martin south today while yesterday both Cormorant and Swallow noted.
Still not seen a butterfly at pond but Peacock on 15th Small Tortieshel yesterday and Peacock and Comma this afternoon  - all in my garden.
Moth numbers are doing well with over 30 recorded last night though species number is poor for this time of year.

Emperor Moth emergence - awesome

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Brimstone and Tangmere come out in the mid-day sun

SR Light Pacific 4-6-2 no 34067 Tangmere hauling The Peak Forester, Kings Cross to Rowsley passing Ketton Signal Box, Rutland, I am not sure why she is displaying an irrelevant headboard.

Called in on Eyebrook Reservoir, Leicestershire and Manton Bay, Rutland Water on our way to see Tangmere at Ketton. Yellow-legged Gull adult was the best at Eyebrook with 2 Little Owl and 2 Red Kite near Stockertson while Manton Bay and adjacent Manton Bridge had 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, Egyptian Goose, Little Egret and a Brimstone Moth.
The temperature had risen to double figures when we arrived at Ketton and after parking at Aldgate and checking the stream out for Trout we walked up to the footbridge and waited for the train. At least 15 Brimstone and a single Comma were out while Swallow, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, 2 Raven and a Buzzard were in the area along with 300+ Fieldfare.

Friday, 12 April 2013

My earliest Black Tern

Very grateful for the updates from Paul C and Martin S reporting House Martin, Sand Martin and Swallow from Napton Reservoir and Yellow Wagtail and Black Tern from the pond so once the showers had stopped me and Bob were soon looking for them.
The Black Tern was off lin croft point which is my earliest record since my first Black Tern here in 1977. The Yellow Wagtails were strangely elusive but 2 finally showed in the hedgerow behind farborough spit. Other sightings included 5 Snipe on the scrape, 8 Redwing, 7 Swallow, 12 Meadow Pipit, 12 Wigeon, 9 Goldeneye, 2 Buzzard and a Peregrine which appeared overhead and watched as it hunted the reservoir and Grandborough valley.
Unfortunately an evening visit to Crewe to see a double header train movement backfired when they did not show.
Another Oak Beauty in last nights trap gave Bob a chance for a few pics.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Spring has sprung

Well a trickle really.
Finally managed to get out with Bob to the pond and we had 2 Swallow, 7 Sand Martin and 3 Willow Warblers as new arrivals along with a nice male Wheatear though we missed a female. Only other summer visitors present were Chiffchaffs but they have been around for sometime favouring the north side and still in good numbers.
A few duck still present with 10 Gadwall, 14 Teal, 15 Wigeon and 17 Goldeneye worthy of note considering the fishing season is in full swing.
Bird of the day was a Woodcock flushed from the undergrowth near the stream running along side the sewage farm.
Other birds noted included  Water Rail, 3 Buzzard, 2 Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Wagtail, 7 Fieldfare and 3 Redwing though Bob had 300 Redwing on the north side.
Gadwall by Bob Hazel
Not surprisingly they have been thin on the ground recently – just started to record Bumble-bees but still waiting for my first butterfly of the year.
Moths have shrugged off the winter chill in next to no time and I have added Oak Beauty, Hebrew Character and Pale Pinion to my garden year list in the last two days with last nights trap producing 6 species from 11 moths.
Oak Beauty

Pale Pinion by Bob Hazel

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Spring pond

Curlew, Snipe, 2 Oystercatcher, Shoveler male, 5 Gadwall,12 Goldeneye and 3 Meadow Pipit was all we could manage at the pond in an hour off farborough bank first thing so missed the Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Merlin that were found later. Napton on the Hill had Lesser Redpoll and the odd flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing still in the valley.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Edge at Fenny Compton

Fenny Compton

Class 66

GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe 

Arty pic of the carriages

Couple of shots from John Judge who was at Deppers Bridge

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Comet and Thicknees

After failing to locate Comet C/22011 L4 Panstarrs last month mainly because it was too low on the horizon and inclement weather I finally managed to see it from Napton on the Hill last night as it starts its climb towards Cassiopeia. It’s not a good looking object being just about visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy blob and not as bright as predicted. On the other hand if you are looking for something awesome then Saturn and some of its moons is showing well.
On the downside it was a bloody cold night not helped by a close calling Tawny Owl that would not show itself and when dawn came a Chiffchaff was heard in the dawn chorus but little else noted apart from a distant Barn Owls around Napton Reservoir and the adjacent marinas.
A female Brambling was with the finch flock in the field next to the Bridge Nursery while the surprise of the morning was a House Martin over Napton Reservoir.
A walk along the canal to my bus stop produced Raven, Buzzard, Jay and a couple of Chiffchaff but when I got off at the pond the wind was over 20mph and making life very uncomfortable. There was a Sand Martin on the roof of the visitor center when Chris and Pete appeared offering a lift to Buckinghamshire. I did not need to be asked twice and we were soon heading south hoping to see a Stone Curlew at Gallows Bridge Farm NR five miles east of Bicester so not too far away for a twitch. Originally it had been on the farm track but was now in a ploughed field s but still good views in the scope.
one of 2 Water Rail that are still present in toft shallows. by Bob Hazel

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Both Raven and Peregrine made an appearance this afternoon.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Valley and Heath

A trawl of the Grandborough Valley produced 5 Tree Sparrow and 3 Red-legged Partridge along Hill Rd, 3 Buzzard, 200+ Common Gull Woodbine Farm and the Baseley Small Holding had 200 Fieldfare, 50 Redwing and 20+ Tree Sparrow, plus 4 Roe Deer in the area.
The pond wasn't allowing cars in so we checked on Lawford Heath and the two flooded fields the farmer has been unable to get on this winter along Coal Pit Lane had 40 Tree Sparrow and 2 Brambling. Little else of note on the heath apart from a flock of Lapwing and 2 Red-legged Partridge.