Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Garden Warbler and Cuckoo

Coming in through Ferry Meadows this morning netted me a couple of cycling firsts.

121 Garden Warbler
122 Cuckoo

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Ring Ouzel

So yesterday I decided to make a mad dash after work to see the Ring Ouzel reported by George Walthew at King's Dyke. Failing to find it made the hard 20km ride home even more difficult and I really regretted the attempted twitch.

This morning, just as I was leaving the house, I had a message from Mike to say he had found another one. This was at Caldecote. Within cycling range but it would be another hard ride. I was there in about 40 minutes but couldn't see the bird immediately. I had to walk a little way up the field before I saw it feeding towards the top end so I rattled off a couple of record shots and retreated to start the long ride into work.

Coming in via Orton BP, CEGB reservoir and Fletton Lake netted me some more good sightings, the best being a male Goldeneye and my first Common Sandpiper of the year at CEGB.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus

© Brian Stone Digiscoped with Canon A640 and Leica APO77 x20

119 Ring Ouzel
120 Common Sandpiper

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Corn Bunting at last

It's depressing how difficult it is to catch up with Corn Buntings in this area now. I've taken a long ride out into Newborough Fen earlier this year and tried Farcet Fen yesterday without any joy. However this morning I was talking to the Toadsnatcher, that doyen of fenland birding, and he reminded me about King's Delph. This is an excellent area of fenland just north of Blackbush (which is probably the best of all but a bit further away) and I realised that this would probably be in lunchtime range. So I headed off that way and was in the habitat within 20 minutes. Only a few minutes later I had 2 Yellow Wagtails on a wire calling away and moment after that a Corn Bunting started singing nearby.

I also flushed a Snipe out of a ditch here and had two more smart Wheatears on the fields. Excellent stuff!

117 Yellow Wagtail
118 Corn Bunting

More migrants

Another foggy morning but this time it didn't clear until after I arrived at work. Cycled via Orton Brick Pit this morning and there were clearly a few more Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat in plus my first Reed Warbler singing at the SW end of the pits and at least one Nightingale singing near Hampton Vale.

115 Reed Warbler
116 Nightingale

Wheatear and Tawny Owl

Biked to and from work via Ferry Meadows today bumping into those other biking birders Don and Mike. Didn't see anything new but a Black-tailed Godwit feeding on the reserve was nice.

At lunchtime I took a ride out to Farcet Fen but couldn't find any Corn Buntings or Grey Partridges along Conquest Drove. Then I noticed what I thought was a Mistle Thrush on the ground in the distance. As soon as it moved I realised the slight miscalculation of scale as it was a smart male Wheatear just on the edge of Farcet village.

113 Wheatear

I was on my own for a while in the evening so took a short ride via Elton Bridge at dusk. Mammals were out in force near Ranger Pigs with a young female Roe Deer, a small party of Fallow Deer, a Fox and some bats. Then on the way back two Tawny Owls were calling to each other and flying around by the bridge and one showed very well in the failing light. I've been surprised not to hear anything from the house so far this year and with the Old Sewage Works bird now left this was a year tick.

114 Tawny Owl

Covered 61km today and racked up 63 species.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Egyptian Goose

A lunchtime trip out to the High Wash produced my first rarity for the green list. Egyptian goose can be hard to catch up with even by car so this is real bonus.

The location of the two Marsh Harriers had better remain quiet for now just in case, but it's another nice species to have under the belt.

111 Egyptian Goose
112 Marsh Harrier

Managed 55km on the bike today and clocked up 69 species including 5 new for the year.

Three Warblers

Back in the saddle for the commute again and coming via Haddon and Orton BP notched up a few common warblers.

108 Whitethroat
109 Grasshopper Warbler
110 Lesser Whitethroat

Friday, 10 April 2009

Sedge Warbler

Went on a tour of likely Ring Ouzel spots around Old Sulehay and Ring Haw this morning. There was a Siskin in our birch trees first thing, the first for the garden this year, and a Sedge Warbler was singing near the Elephant Grass field on the Nassington Road. Parties of 50 Fieldfare in Elton and another 10 at Ring Haw were interesting.

107 Sedge Warbler

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Common Tern

A morning cycle ride to Ferry Meadows failed to reveal the hoped-for Sandwich Tern but there were a couple of Common Terns, plenty of Sand Martins, Swallows and Willow Warblers and another Kingfisher.

106 Common Tern

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

70 in a day

Working from home this afternoon produced 4 raptors and House Martin contributing to a new maximum day total of 70 species. Not bad for a working day.

Great Crested Grebe
Great Cormorant
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Northern Shoveler
Tufted Duck
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Green Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Feral Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Sand Martin
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Willow Warbler
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Willow Warbler

Lots of dipping this morning. There were Little Gulls at Ferry Meadows yesterday but I wasn't able to get to them and unfortunately they were gone when I cycled through this morning. I also failed to find the recent Iceland Gull among the large gulls at Dogsthorpe/Tanholt. This could still turn out to be my highest ever BIGBY day total as things like Kingfisher, Little Egret and Shelduck showed at Ferry Meadows, I had my first Willow Warbler of the year at Orton Meadows, the Grey Wagtail pair is back on territory at Orton Lock and Redshank and Green Sandpiper showed at the Sewage Works. 62 species so far with no raptors on the list as yet.

105 Willow Warbler

Sunday, 5 April 2009

House Martin

Another gorgeous day with up to 6 Common Buzzards and a few Red Kites over the house. Biked out to beyond Nassington to do a BTO Atlas square but spent most of the day working in the garden where a pair of House Martins flying through added to the year total.

104 House Martin

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Not sure how many times I've ridden out to Old Sulehay this year. Quite a few anyway. This time hit the jackdaw, I mean jackpot, with a superb male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling and drumming a great deal near the centre of the wood. Lots of Nuthatch activity and action from the other two woodpecker species. Still no Willow Warblers though.

I've now cycled about 500km so far this year.

103 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Water Pipit

A glorious morning for my second long morning ride out to the Nene Washes. A misty 06:30 start had me worried I wouldn't see much but by the time I was at the Dog in a Doublet, just over an hour later, the mist had cleared. No sign of any Garganey, no raptors and no waders other than the breeding birds; in fact overall rather disappointing. Plenty of time for all that though so quite satisfied to settle for a couple of Water Pipits towards the end of the central drove.

57 species seen doing the 40km from home to the end of the drove and back to work. Highlights were the many Chiffchaffs singing along Oundle Road, 3 Blackcaps singing around King's Dyke, 3 Green Sandpipers, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail at the Sewage Works, another Grey Wagtail at the Town Bridge and a Little Egret on the washes.

102 Water Pipit