Tuesday, 8 October 2013


There was well over 50 Meadow Pipits on farborough bank, Draycote Water when we arrived this morning and a further 80 seen passing over. Also on the move were Chaffinches 20+, Skylark 50+ and a single Redwing and Golden Plover. Also noted were adult and second winter Yellow-legged Gull, Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, 4 Gadwall and 7 Wigeon.

Unfortunately by the time we reached Napton on the Hill the mipit passage had dwindle to zilch and all we had was single Chiffchaff, 3 Mistle Thrush, 8 Buzzard and 5 Raven. Did not bother to go searching for last weekends Redstart.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Draycote did its best this morning not to have anything present – struggled just to find a Yellow-legged Gull and on my way back for a cuppa 6 Swallow and a Redwing flew south down the valley off farborough bank. Two hours of viz mig from the country park produced 50+ Skylark going west and 3 Buzzard.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Ison and Daurian

Title of the blog sounds like a firm of solicitors but in fact relates to two different hobbies of mine that are literally light years apart - birding and astronomy. After yesterdays chuffers I had debated going to Shetland for a few days tempted by the discovery of a Thick-billed Warbler but eventually accepted a lift to Cornwall so up and away by the ungodly hour of 2am.
A comfy break at Exeter coincided with clear sky’s so once we were on the A30 in complete darkness we pulled over and searched for Comet ISON as it heads towards the sun and passing Mars so not to hard to find in a scope. This comet was only discovered last September when it was 584 million miles away. The night sky was brilliant but we needed to push on.

First port of call was around the Pendeen area with a trio of goodies in the shape of Daurian Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler and 3 Wryneck plus a supporting cast of Snow Bunting, Whinchat, Raven and Peregrine before it was time for a proper birders breakfast. Stomach satisfied we pushed on to Treen for a Richards Pipit where I rested while the remaining crew checked out Porthgwarra, Kenidjack Valley and St Levan managing 2 more Yellow-browed’s, Balerics Shearwater, and Lapland Bunting. Final stop was the Hayle estuary where we had Lesser Yellowlegs, Black-winged Stilt, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint and an Osprey perched. Bit far for a day out but well worth it if you can cope with bum ache.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Chuffys instead of Chiffys

Swapped hobby’s and joined the enthusiastic crowd at the Great Central Railway, Loughborough for their GCR Autumn Steam Gala and had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours wandering around the shed and Station enjoying the coming and goings of at least eight engines in steam plus many others in various stages of restoration. Other attractions included many stalls selling railway memorabilia where I managed to locate a copy of Railway Nostalgia in Warwickshire by D Hibbs which features many pictures of the places and trains I used to see when I use to be freckled faced youngster and had met the author many times while birding locally around Flecknoe with out realizing who he was.

There was one engine present that I had not seen before in preservation, Battle of Britain class 34070 Manston. It was built in November 1947 and withdrawn from service in August 1964 to Woodhams yard on Barry Island where it rotted away till moved for restoration in 1986. Other sightings down memory lane included coal wagons that I use earn pocket money on and a rake of TPO carriages I used to service in the middle of the night on Coventry and Rugby station when working for RM in the late 70s.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wind changes finally

After a wet night we finally lost the easterly airflow with the winds turning south west by the time we reached the pond but the squally showers that hampered our walk to farborough spit did not bring anything in and we just had this weeks regular Ringed Plover, 20 Meadow Pipit, 2 Goosander and Grey Wagtail.
After drying out in the visitor center we walked to hensborough bank as the weather improved managing Buzzard, 2 Gadwall and 2 Golden Plover going south. By late morning a scattering of birds started going over and we identified 14 Swallow, single House Martin, a few Meadow Pipits and the odd group of Skylark.
Having spoken to Tim, the two Keith’s and Paul there was not much around locally so decided to chill out on Napton the Hill for a dose of vis mig but the word chill was exactly what it said on the tin as the wind turned more westerly, single Swallow, Raven and Buzzard was all we managed though the views were incredible.

The Moth County Recorder confirmed my Four-spotted Footman was new for the county so Bob’s image is going on my Xmas cards and my next T-shirt will be inscribed Moth God.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Four-spotted surprise

Up early and with daylight an hour away I gave the moth trap the once over with a torch just in case anything on the sides had not gone in and instantly spotted a footman species which was unusual since I’ve not caught one for awhile. Potted it straight away and took into the kitchen to ID and the alarms went off in my head. For the next 30 minutes I was trawling ID books and internet sites confirming I had a Four-spotted Footman.

four-spotted Footman by Bob Hazel
O my god according the holy bible on Warwickshire Moths by David Brown the county recorder there are no records for the county up to 2006. Don’t know its status since so I might have added to the county list.

What a great way to start the day but once we were at the pond my new found happiness soon evaporated as the place was dire with poor visibility which took most of the morning to improve. In 3 hours of searching all we had was Ringed Plover, Grey Wagtail, 30 Meadow Pipit, Chiffchaff, 2 Swallow, 2 female Goosander and a female Shoveler. We had a view of the albino Squirrel in toft shallows and a Red Underwing was flying between the visitor center and car park early afternoon.
record shot of the albino Squirrel.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Re-hab comes first

Great Skua and Grey Plover passed through the pond this morning but I was not going to miss my cardio rehab session at any price so had to wait till early afternoon by which time is was quiet on the migration front till a weak front came in at 3pm but did not bring in anything bionic.
All we had between 1 and 2:30pm were Grey Wagtail, Ringed Plover, 30 Meadow Pipit, 5 Pochard, 2 female Goosander, 4 Buzzard, Raven and 2 Sparrowhawk while at 3pm 65 Lapwing and 6 Swallows moved south.

A few Comma, Small Tortishell and Large White butterflies were on the wing and Blair’s Shoulder-Knot moth was on the east wall of the visitor center.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nene Wash

We had a pleasant surprise at the A605/A1 service station when we bumped in to Keith, Jim, Pete and Trevor having a comfort break on a day away from Brandon Marsh heading the Norfolk north coast looking for migrants.
We had decided not to be as adventurous choosing instead the tranquility of the Nene Wash where there may have not been a lot around but we had the place to ourselves and what we saw we had crippling views of.

Best was the Red Kite perched less than 100 yards away, 5 Marsh Harrier and 10 Buzzards hunting the patchwork of of recently cut meadows which kept the Snipe, Reed Buntings and Mipit’s on their toes and the only other wader species seen was a Black-tailed Godwit with a damaged leg. Redwing heard going over.