Monday, 29 September 2014

Rocks & Cops

Three Rock Pipit were together in toft bay along with one of the 7 Grey Wagtails seen today on our walk out to toft shallows. A few Skylark were going north, 8 Bullfinch near the boardwalk, 4 Raven over, Water Rail showed briefly opposite the hide, 10 Long-tailed Tit and elsewhere there were 4 Shoveler, Jay, Wigeon and 2 Little Egret.
Three Jays went north over Long Ichington and four Swallows south as we approached Napton on the Hill. Napton Reservoir had 2 Snipe, 4 Shoveler, and approx 50 Swallows heading south in small groups along with 4 Jay, at least 6 Raven and 4 Buzzards noted. Best of the insects on show here was a Small Copper.



Sunday, 28 September 2014

Buzzards & Jays are coming

Knew there was a sponsored something going on but forgot they would be setting up early so Draycote Waters farborough bank was busy when we arrived at 7.30am so had no other option than give hensborough bank a quick check then scarper before the hoards arrived. Greenshank still present but mobile plus single Little Egret, Kingfisher and female Shoveler while overhead we had 4 Grey Wagtail go over together south plus a few mipits. Car park nearly full when we left. The only vis mig from Napton on the Hill was 5 Skylark and 20+ Swallows heading south west and 3 Cormorant and 4 duck sp going north. Napton Reservoir still had the Whinchat plus 5 Shoveler, 2 Wigeon, 3 Jay, 2 Chiffchaff and single Willow Warbler which was tucked in with 22 Long-tailed Tits while overhead there were 5 Buzzard and 2 Raven. As we were just about to leave we found another 15 Buzzard soaring together very high up north of the car park and they drifted of east – may have been migrants. Comma and Red Admiral seen here. Four Sparrowhawks over the garden this afternoon including 3 together plus 2 Raven, 2 Buzzard (locals) and 5 Jays north between 4&5pm.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Water Rail still

Little Owl on roof of Ryefield Farm, Half Way Lane but in the few seconds it took me to reach the Draycote Water service road and look back it had done a bunk. Water Rail was still in toft shallows but no sign of any interesting grebes. Single Wheatear along toft bank and a Snipe over west. Only other birds of note were 2 Little Egret, 2 Shoveler, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 8 Wigeon, 2 Raven and a Grey Wagtail. In the afternoon my garden had Migrant Hawker and Vapourer Moth with Cormorant, Jay and Great-spotted Woodpecker over and 2 Coal Tit on the feeders.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Rocky on hens

Rock Pipit on hensborough bank was the only new arrival though Meadow Pipits seemed more numerous and two groups of House Martin (5 & 18) flew south west. Otherwise it was 3 Little Egret, Kingfisher, Wheatear and Greenshank that went in the notebook. A probable Slavonian Grebe sighting had us in toft bay for an hour but alas there were too many boats but well worth keeping an eye out for.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Lesser Spot, Grey Plover and a pair of TWATS

My stroll to toft shallows turned out to be more productive than expected and certainly made up for the bollocks of a visit yesterday. Four Grey Wagtail were along farborough and toft bank while 2 more were in toft shallow pool (Bob had a further 12 on his circuit and even considering some double counting he certainly beat my best day total of nine easily). Only other birds noted on our walk was a fly by Dunlin, Little egret and Yellow-legged Gull. As we approached the hide we checked the exposed mud amongst the north shore vegetation and this time rewarded with adult Water Rail sulking out in the open before disappearing – first of the autumn so let’s hope it stays the winter though it may be some time before there’s water under the board walk. While Bob continued his walk I spent 30 minutes under the canopy of toft shallow pool where a large tit flock contained 16 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest and a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker which stayed a few seconds before flying in to the copse near Toft Manor. As I returned to the visitor centre 2 House Martin were over the old windmill at Thurlaston and a winter plumage Grey Plover flew over from the north calling before deciding to head east down the Grandborough valley. Also seen were 103 Greylag which is not to be sneezed at in patch terms, 15 Skylark, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Raven and 2 Buzzard.

Unfortunately even with 600 acres of water to fish in these twats beggared belief and tried to get round the ban on fishing from the damn walls and not bothered what they flushed, soon scarped when they realised they were being photographed. Should have stoned um instead – they would bloody moan if we stood birding in front of them.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tranquil shank

With the perimeter road at Draycote Water still closed this morning our walk was very tranquil and productive with Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Snipe, 2 Kingfisher, 2 Little Egret, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, Wheatear, Grey Wagtail, Chiffchaff and 56 Teal.
Whinchat still at Napton Reservoir while a roving tit flock contained Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and 6 Long-tailed Tit. Other species of interest here included 2 Hobby, 2 Wigeon, Teal, 4 Raven, 4 Buzzard and Jay plus Weasel, Peacock, Silver Y and Red Admiral. Napton on the Hill had 15 Raven and 2 Buzzards over the windmill as the breeze picked up and 5 Teal flew north.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Insects and Chats

With visibility down to 20 yards early morning all we managed at the pond was 4 Grey Wagtail, 2 Little Egret, Wheatear and 20 Meadow Pipit.
Greenshank still present by Bob Hazell
Wheatear by Bob Hazell
Napton on the Hill was lacking in passerines and just had Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, 14 Raven, 6 Buzzard, Peregrine and a few groups of martins and swallows going over. Could not find the Stonechat at Napton Reservoir but Whinchat, Jay, 6 Raven, 6 Buzzard and juvenile Hobby made up for it. Two Wigeon also present. When the sun came out we managed 2 Comma and a Small Copper on Napton on the Hill and Napton Reservoir had plenty of Dragonflies with Brown Hawker, Migrant Hawker, Common Darter and Common Blue Damselfly noted. Stoat seen on Napton on the Hill was my first there for some time.
Comma, Napton on the Hill
Whinchat, Napton Reservoir

Moths Bioblitz Draycote Water

Beaded Chestnut
Dusky Thorn
Roy Rustic
Black Rustic
 Many thanks to Bob Hazell for images from the trapping session held on the 19th. Did not pot as many of the pretty ones as I thought I had so here's a Lilac Beauty from Dave's trap.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Ravens r cheap today

The constructors caught everyone out this morning by closing the foot path just after we had passed on our way to rainbow corner and were directing runners and walkers on to the shore-line so the Greenshank and duck we had in the windsurfing area were soon flushed off. Still at least the cloud and gloom finally lifted with the sun coming out so it was a pleasant walk even if there was not much to see, 2 Little Egret, Common Tern, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail was all we noted.

Breakfast at the Skylark Farm Café at Staverton was well worth trying out, not only tasted great but the views were just as good with 8 Raven and 4 Buzzard for company. A further 10 Buzzard, 2 Raven and 2 Hobby were seen near Long Hill Wood, Shuckburgh as we passed. The first decent day in ages brought out more Ravens and Buzzards as 19 Raven were seen over the windmill and quarry, Napton on the Hill from the bank at Napton Reservoir while later we had 45 together (record day total for me) north of the reservoir. Our walk here produced Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and Stonechat plus a party of 12 Buzzard. While concentrating on the sky a few mipits, Skylarks and Swallows were noted heading south. Dave caught his first Cypress Pug last night.
Cypress Pug another new moth for Dave

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Moths plenty Birds few

As we cleared down the moth trap early this morning as part of the STW Draycote Bio blitz we had a Greenshank going over calling and saw the Great Skua in the gloom briefly from the hill top of the country park. Unfortunately by the time we had finished recording the nights catch and put our gear away and started birding two hours later it could not be found – apparently flew off south west at 9:30am according to the observers we met. I stayed till 12:30am with John but there was very little about with Yellow-legged Gull, Little Egret, 30 Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher, Wheatear briefly on farborough bank and 2 Common Tern as the continuing mist drifted in and out. Greenshank relocated on the windsurfing shore-line as we walked back from spit.
The four moth traps produced 37 species from 462 moths with pride of place going to a Barred Hook-tip while Lunar Underwing was the most dominate species with 200 recorded.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Misty Skua

Having dropped off our mothing gear at the rangers yard, Draycote Water for tonight’s bio effort we strained our eye balls through the mist and on our first sweep of the reservoir saw absolutely zilch. The second attempt produced a large blob near ‘b’ buoy but because of poor viewing both Dave and I thought it might be a Great Skua we needed to be certain. Luckily a phone call to Bob and Tim found them on site and were good enough to get on to it and confirmed it was one. Yippee, In it to win it! Though I wish we had arrived minutes earlier as we missed the Avocet – bummer. The skua moved to ‘x’ then drifted towards ‘f’ buoy by the time we left at 1pm. Common Tern and Snipe was all we could add. No sign of the Shag but then again there was no sign of the valve tower. Nothing of note on Napton on the Hill while Flecknoe had 100+ Linnet and Goldfinches plus 2 Tree Sparrow. A late lunch at the Skylark Farm Café then back out to set up the traps for STW Draycote Bio with many duck going over and Tawny Owl calling but ran out of time to see what the skua was doing to the roost.

Snipe and Sallow by Bob Hazell

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mist and Moths

Dire visibility made for a poor visit at the pond this morning and we only managed  a single Little Egret, immature Shag briefly on farborough bank before turning up on the valve tower later in the day, Common Tern, a very young Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit and 4 Wigeon.
Napton on the Hill had more Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers than of late plus a mobile flock of Chaffinches and 6 Raven. Migrant Hawker and Vapourer Moth plus a few Speckled Wood also noted. 
The garden moth trap is ticking over with those below the most photographable 
Angle Shades by Bob Hazell
Small Blood-vein by Bob Hazell
Light Emerald



60009 Union of South Africa

LNER A4 Class 4-6-2 no 60009 Union of South Africa will be hauling the CHESHIREMAN from London Euston to Chester on Saturday 20th September. Key times and stations it’s calling at in the midlands area are as follows
Northampton arrive 09:21 depart 09:39

Rugby arrive 10:06 depart 10:29
Nuneaton arrive 10:50 depart 10:58
Lichfield TV arrive 11:22 depart 11:38

All times correct as of the 17th September but subject to change.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Space Shed is coming

International Space Station has a number of passes visible from the UK in the next few days. Bit early for some.

Date, time
9/19 04:25
9/19 06:01
9/20 03:36
9/20 05:12
9/20 06:49
9/21 02:48
9/21 04:24
9/21 06:00
9/22 03:35
9/22 05:11
9/22 06:48
9/23 02:46
9/23 04:22
9/23 05:59