Monday, 30 September 2013

Little Gulls

On our return from walking to toft shallows Draycote Water, just as the easterly wind picked up a first winter Little Gull arrived to feed on insects off farborough spit at 10:35am to be joined by 3 adult birds at 10:47am when they all left to the west. Earlier we had seen Grey Wagtail, Ringed Plover, Yellow-legged Gull adult and juvenile Wheatear between the visitor center and farborough spit. A couple of chiffys were calling in toft shallows and 100 Great-crested Grebe but no sign of Wheatear on our return. There was a trickle of Swallows heading south and 6 House Martins appeared at mid-day before they also went south. Also noted were 16 Linnets, 45 Wigeon, Pochard, 8 Meadow Pipit and 4 Buzzard.

After lunch a visit to Napton Reservoir only produced 2 Wigeon and 4 Teal and another look at the pond while playing round 15 of the Bilton Scrabble Championship produced sod all apart from grumpy parents and screaming kids.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A little bit of mig

Having spent the previous day in Norfolk I dossed the morning away looking out for migrants over the garden managing Hobby, Swallow and 7 Cormorant all heading east.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Raptors and duck

It was a day for raptors at the pond with 3 Sparrowhawk, 5 Buzzard and Peregrine over the Grandborough valley seen from either farborough bank, toft bank or the balcony of the visitor center. Earlier there had been a Ringed Plover and Grey Wagtail in front of the fishing lodge, 5 Meadow Pipits on farborough bank, 23 Wigeon off hensborough bank commuting between there and the leam valley, two groups of Shoveler over east of 13 and 4 and a Yellow-legged Gull adult. Other sightings included Raven and a Snipe.

Our first impression of Napton Reservoir when we arrived was that it was void of birds but our walk produced a very skittish juvenile Water Rail, Grey Wagtail, 2 Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, 6 Raven and 3 Buzzard with the bonus of an adult Hobby hunting and feeding on dragonflies above our heads. Party of 40+ Linnet and 4 more Buzzards seen on the way home.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

More plodding

With no mist this morning we toured the Grandborough valley before visiting the pond managing 60 Linnet, 6 Meadow Pipit, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge and 2 Tree Sparrow. Just as we were leaving the Baseley Small Holding after chatting with Cym we had a large juvenile Sparrowhawk and presumed it was the bird that kicked up all the Lapwings, corvids and Starlings near Kites Hardwick only to arrive at Draycote to find out it had been a Red Kite – bummer.
A walk to rainbow corner produced 3 Grey Wagtail, 16 Wigeon, 2 Golden Plover still retaining their black bellies, 3 House Martin and a record count for me of 42 Greylag’s. Luckily we managed to get Bob on to the Little Gull we had spotted between the valve tower and ‘c’ buoy who was in toft bay at the time minutes before it flew off west.
Napton on the Hill was disappointing with no visible migration despite favorable conditions, a few local Swallows and House Martin, 2 Raven and 2 Buzzard.
Bob notified me he had tracked down the nasal saddle Tufted Duck that we saw earlier in the week and seen by him again today, it had been ringed at São Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve (40º41’N 08º44’W) which is in Portugal for those who don’t speak longitude and latitude, surprising it should choose to migrate north to winter

It was another good catch last night with 117 moths of 23 species including my 4th Merveille du Jour of the year along with good numbers of Lunar and Large Yellow Underwing.
Barred Sallow

Merveille du Jour

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Draycote and Napton on the Hill

After another mild night meant that we were greet with 50 feet visibility which never cleared while we we present. Our walk to toft shallows produced 4 Grey Wagtails on farborough and toft bank and 7 Chiffchaff in willow scrub at the end of toft bank. Only other sightings were of adult Yellow-legged Gull, Ringed Plover, 2 House Martin and a single Wigeon.
Lunch at Brandon Marsh then a look at Napton on Hill which had 5 Raven, 2 Buzzard and a very large juvenile Sparrowhawk.
We have id this as 450 Scythropia crataegella but as its a July moth we will need the county recorder to confirm.

Angle Shades. I have trapped over 190 of these but this is the first that kept its wings open

Monday, 23 September 2013

Early moth records and dreary pond

Had a triple surprise in the moth trap this morning with my earliest record of Red-lined Quaker, 2nd earliest record of Pink-barred Sallow and 3rd earliest record of Blair’s Shoulder-knot due to last nights very mild temperatures before the low cloud and mist arrived.
Pink-barred Sallow
The same low cloud was responsible for very poor light conditions at the pond when Bob and I walked to toft bay which hardly improved through out our visit and made viewing very difficult.

Ended up with 2 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin on the south shore, 4 Ravens over our heads heading for toft, 2 Gadwall, 32 Mute Swan, 2 Swallow, Sparrowhawk and a Kingfisher flying across toft bank and along the brook bordering the sewage farm. There were plenty of Black-heading Gulls loafing around but nothing special among them.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Plodding along over the same old ground

Early morning mist cleared quickly as we walked out to farborough spit but all we managed to see was a 7 Wigeon, Yellow Wagtail, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper. A chat like species seen distantly on toft bank was unfortunately flushed by a procession of cyclist and runners and never specifically identified despite searching for it when we got closer.
Napton on the Hill had a continuous movement of Swallows heading south occasionally joining the local birds over the village below us plus thirteen Cormorant and a Yellow Wagtail heading south west. Of the 15 Ravens counted only 2 were distant and there were at least 10 Buzzards present. Three Chiffchaffs heard and a Willow Warbler showed well in the churchyard.
The water level continues to rise at Napton Reservoir so apart from a juvenile Great-crested Grebe demanding the attention of its parents all we found was a Teal.

Plenty of Speckled Wood and Comma’s butterflies seen today plus Ruddy Darter and Migrant Hawker dragonflies.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Draycote and Napton on the Hill

A walk out to farborough spit at Draycote produced Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, Meadow Pipit and 14 Wigeon but last night harvest moon was a signal for the hirundines to migrate leaving only a handful. 
Napton on the Hill was productive with 5 Buzzard and 3 Raven on the south side and a 50+ mixed flock working its way through the canopy from the farm to the churchyard contained 20+ Long-tailed Tit, 4 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff and a Blackcap.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


A look at the south shore of the pond produced Dunlin and 4 Ringed Plover then a walk to the outlet adding Shelduck, 4 Raven, 2 Grey Wagtail, 14 Wigeon and 2 Shoveler to our day tally, at least 800 House Martin and 300 Sand Martin still present. On our return to the visitor centre making our way to a table I noted a small raptor sitting on the floor of the balcony edge half hidden by chair legs, juvenile Hobby just feet away – but as Bob got the camera out it flew off over the country park.

Decided to have lunch at Brandon Marsh but the Pec and Osprey that were present earlier were not on show, 70+ Shoveler, 16 Snipe, Shelduck and Kingfisher noted.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lots of tits but little else

While sweating away at my cardio rehab down at St Cross Hospital this morning a large tit flock went through the grounds and included 23 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Coal Tit and 2 Chiffchaff amongst the many Blue and Great Tits.

Lunch at the pond but with Bob already gone I knew we were wasting our time so concentrated on our plates. Yellow-legged Gull adult and 2 Wigeon when we did lift our heads. Back home a trickle of low flying House Martins all purposely heading south. Bob did manage in poor conditions to photograph one of the ponds juvenile Sand Martins.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Deer Hobby

On our arrival at the pond over 200 House Martins out of the 1000+ still present were gathered on the roof of the visitor center while beneath them 5 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper searched the southern shoreline for food. Our best find’s of the day were a stunning stag Roe Deer in the second field behind the inlet and on our return 2 Hobbies , adult and juvenile appeared near the end of hensborough bank hunting House Martins. Other sightings included 2 adult and a second year Yellow-legged Gull, Gadwall, Pochard, Jay, Buzzard, Grey Wagtail and 300 Sand Martin. There were very few Swallows around.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Not as windy ....

Although the wind increased through out our visit gusting up to 30 mph it did not produce the hoped for goody. No sign of yesterday's Turnstone, just 8 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin present. Still plenty of hirundine with an increase in House Martin numbers probably up to 1500+ while 300 Sand Martin were similar to yesterday's number but very few Swallows around. At least 4 Raven, 2 Buzzard, Yellow Wagtail juv and Yellow-legged Gull adult also noted.

Despite the wind and overnight temperatures dropping to 7c there were 54 moths of 14 species with 7 Lunar Underwing and Brindled Green the best of the catch.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nice group of waders

Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin on our early morning visit to the pond before a sponsored walk started was unusual as we have little suitable shoreline due to ST maintaining a high as possible water level policy. Single Yellow Wagtail while House Martins numbered 1000+, 100 Swallow and 300 Sand Martin.
After breakfast a discussion where to go next was decided by messages from John and Paul that a Pec was at Brandon Marsh and though distant it was present along with Ruff and 20 Snipe. Also Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 2 Jay, Shelduck and Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


The Cathedrals Express London Euston to Kiddiminster and Worcester steam excursion hauled by LNER A1 class 4-6-2 60163 Tornado arrived at Rugby this morning two minutes early for her scheduled water stop courtesy of the local fire brigade. She still has her admires with a good crowd scattered on various platforms and nearby Myson House although her compliment of carriages did not do her justice and were looking disheveled and tired. She left on time but was reported as losing 11 minutes as she went through Coventry just 10 miles down the track so must have had a signal go against her.