Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Cloak and Dagger

I really wanted to get to 100 species before the end of March so today I biked to a top secret location known to rather a lot of people, but which must, nonetheless, remain under wraps. There I was fortunate enough to add two species.

100 Little Ringed Plover
101 Peregrine

Monday, 30 March 2009


Today started off very well with a Chiffchaff singing in the garden, first this year. Cycled into work via Orton Brick Pit and the Little Owl was showing well at Haddon. Failed to find the Glaucous Gull at Tanholt at lunchtime. Then loads of good birds at Ferry Meadows on the way home including about 100 Sand Martin and my first Swallow of the year. Little bonuses like Kingfisher and Snipe here resulted in my highest green day total this year - 65 species to show for about 50km riding today.

99 Swallow


Putting in loads of bike miles at the moment but the next tick came from the comfort of the bedroom. This morning a pair of Mandarin flew south along the river then turned back towards Nassington. Just before that two Ruddy Shelduck flew south as well. These were also seen at Ferry Meadows today and ended up on the Nene Washes by the end of the day. They aren't on the British list as yet, although if you ask me they are most likely to come from the large Dutch population so there must be a chance they will be on Category C5 before long.

98 Mandarin

Thursday, 19 March 2009


It's quite possible I've overlooked Jay up to now, especially having spent a few mornings in Old Sulehay searching unsuccessfully for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I don't remember coming across one before now in any case so the one by the river in Bluebell Wood this morning was good. There were also 3 Kingfishers noisily chasing each other around here for ages and a male Goldeneye on the river.

97 Jay

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Sand Martin

A good selection of birds on the way into work this morning including 7 Sand Martins on Overton Lake, a few Siskins scattered about, Redpolls again near Orton Mere and at least 4 Chiffchaffs singing in various places. 47 species seen on the way in.

96 Sand Martin

Monday, 16 March 2009


A bumper haul this morning. I was a bit late leaving home so I decided to take the direct route via Ferry Meadows. A good decision and I ended up seeing 50 species on the way to work including a Water Rail calling on the reserve as well as the year ticks mentioned here.

The Redpoll flock was along the cycleway at Orton Water between the golf course and the railway. Several of the Lesser Redpolls were singing but the first bird I saw well was a female Mealy Redpoll feeding in a larch right by the track. Quite a pale bird with white, lightly streaked undertail coverts and whitish tramlines leading to a pale rump.

A Chiffchaff singing here was the second of the morning after another at Heron Meadow.

93 Chiffchaff
94 Lesser Redpoll
95 Mealy Redpoll

The addition of things like a Little Egret roosting on the island at Orton BP on the way home brought the day's total to 60 species just cycling to and from work.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Ringed Plover

Cycled in via Orton BP (which is due to produce a good bird any time now) and Crown Lakes. A vast levelled area between Crown Lakes and the Beebys Brick Pits is littlered with flooded pools and will certainly be worth checking once migration is under way. I'll make do with the Ringed Plover that was on there this morning.

The Little Owl was again on his favourite willow along the Billing Brook near Haddon this morning.

92. Ringed Plover

Cycled home via the gull roost at CEGB but failed to find anything other than the five common species. However birds seen on the way home did contribute towards a pretty large day list of 62 species - only one less than the day I biked out to the Nene Washes. It will be interesting to see what a full day on the bike could produce in May.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Little Owl

Biked into work via Haddon and Orton BP this morning. OBP was uneventful with just a few Goldeneye and a Kingfisher but a Little Owl showed well along the Billing Brook.

91 Little Owl

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Nene Washes

When I set out on this year list I wasn't sure how feasible visits to the most diverse location in the area would be. This morning I set off from work on the bike at 06:45 and had a good half an hour or so to explore the central drove before heading back. Plus the route there and back takes in the High Wash and Stanground Wash, both of which have good birds at times.

Four species added to the year list this morning, although not the hoped for Water Pipit. The washes are extensively flooded and the drove is completely flooded from about half way. It's pretty wet and muddy before that too and very hard going on a bike.

There were 260 Whoopers and about 10 Bewick's Swans, 1000+ Black-tailed Godwits, 13 Dunlin, 2 Oystercatchers and many Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Golden Plover and wildfowl.

In total this bike ride of just over two hours netted 61 species. A couple more species added later in the day brought the green day total to 63.

87 Whooper Swan
88 Black-tailed Godwit
89 Bewick's Swan
90 Dunlin

Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa icelandica

Bewick's Swans Cygnus columbianus

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Orton BP

Another two species added this morning thanks to a ride out to Orton BP and CEGB Reservoir. The latter is now very deep and didn't produce much. Orton BP is as ever humming with birds, although I only found one Tree Sparrow remaining from the large flock there earlier in the year. There was also a Kingfisher here.

85 Tree Sparrow
86 Water Rail

Monday, 2 March 2009

Green Listing

Last year was an amazing one for the variety of birds seen in the PBC area. Of the 205 species recorded in total both Mike Weedon and I saw 189 (with just a few differences in the make up of the 189). This is a new record.

It was a great encouragement to get out in the field but did involve a lot of driving about the 12 10km squares. This year has got off to a slow start for me but, in an attempt to cut down the amount of driving and improve health and fitness, this year I'm trying to set a total without using the car.

The rules are the usual plus all species must be seen without using anything other than human-powered transport from either home of place of work. This amounts to the garden list plus what I can get to by bike.

Despite a slow start I am now well under way with some exellent birds already under the belt. My regular lunchtime cycles along the Nene east of Peterborough have already netted Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Pintail and a Goosander. A trip to Bradley Fen picked up an unexpected lunchtime Barn Owl and a long hard ride out to Newborough Fen revealed a Little Egret (but not the hoped for Grey Partridge or Corn Bunting). Rides out to Old Sulehay and Thornhaugh Quarry this weekend have added Nuthatch, Woodcock and Jack Snipe.

Today was my first cycling into work; a ten mile trip that can take in a few good sites. This morning I came via Ferry Meadows and added Goldeneye, Oystercatcher and Shelduck taking the list to a respectable 84.

1 Grey Heron 01-Jan
2 Red Kite 01-Jan
3 Kestrel 01-Jan
4 Pheasant 01-Jan
5 Lapwing 01-Jan
6 Black-headed Gull 01-Jan
7 Common Gull 01-Jan
8 Woodpigeon 01-Jan
9 Collared Dove 01-Jan
10 Green Woodpecker 01-Jan
11 Great Spotted Woodpecker 01-Jan
12 Pied Wagtail 01-Jan
13 Dunnock 01-Jan
14 Robin 01-Jan
15 Blackbird 01-Jan
16 Fieldfare 01-Jan
17 Song Thrush 01-Jan
18 Redwing 01-Jan
19 Mistle Thrush 01-Jan
20 Goldcrest 01-Jan
21 Coal Tit 01-Jan
22 Blue Tit 01-Jan
23 Great Tit 01-Jan
24 Magpie 01-Jan
25 Jackdaw 01-Jan
26 Rook 01-Jan
27 Carrion Crow 01-Jan
28 Starling 01-Jan
29 House Sparrow 01-Jan
30 Chaffinch 01-Jan
31 Greenfinch 01-Jan
32 Goldfinch 01-Jan
33 Wren 02-Jan
34 Long-tailed Tit 02-Jan
35 Great Cormorant 04-Jan
36 Snipe 04-Jan
37 Feral Pigeon 04-Jan
38 Mute Swan 05-Jan
39 Greylag Goose 05-Jan
40 Canada Goose 05-Jan
41 Lesser Black-backed Gull 05-Jan
42 Herring Gull 05-Jan
43 Great Black-backed Gull 05-Jan
44 Mallard 06-Jan
45 Stock Dove 06-Jan
46 Moorhen 08-Jan
47 Sparrowhawk 13-Jan
48 Redshank 14-Jan
49 Green Sandpiper 14-Jan
50 Kingfisher 14-Jan
51 Grey Wagtail 14-Jan
52 Stonechat 14-Jan
53 Marsh Tit 15-Jan
54 Buzzard 21-Jan
55 Skylark 05-Feb
56 Blackcap 07-Feb
57 Little Grebe 11-Feb
58 Gadwall 11-Feb
59 Northern Shoveler 11-Feb
60 Coot 11-Feb
61 Meadow Pipit 11-Feb
62 Linnet 11-Feb
63 Golden Plover 15-Feb
64 Great Crested Grebe 16-Feb
65 Eurasian Wigeon 16-Feb
66 Teal 16-Feb
67 Pochard 16-Feb
68 Tufted Duck 16-Feb
69 Barn Owl 16-Feb
70 Reed Bunting 16-Feb
71 Northern Pintail 18-Feb
72 Goosander 18-Feb
73 Little Egret 19-Feb
74 Yellowhammer 19-Feb
75 Siskin 27-Feb
76 Red-legged Partridge 28-Feb
77 Nuthatch 28-Feb
78 Treecreeper 28-Feb
79 Bullfinch 28-Feb
80 Jack Snipe 01-Mar
81 Woodcock 01-Mar
82 Shelduck 02-Mar
83 Goldeneye 02-Mar
84 Oystercatcher 02-Mar