Thursday, 11 June 2009


Can't say what it was or where it was as this is another rare breeding species but it is another welcome addition to the year list.

134 A mystery

Monday, 8 June 2009

1500km and a new day record

Now over 1500km travelled by bike in search of birds in this area and today set a new working day total record of 74 species.

I'd already notched up Bullfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker before leaving Elton as I set off up Greenhill this morning. The 'pecker was the first of at least 8 seen during the day. They seemed to be popping up everywhere. It is often a tricky species to find but with a noisy nesthole full of young in Lynch Wood is a virtual certainty right now.

Further up Greenhill a Garden Warbler was singing near Keeper's Cottage; another species not guaranteed. A Painted Lady flew up from the track just past the bypass.

The Linnets in the Bullock Road area failed to show but the Little Owl was out in the open along the Billing Brook and there were 2 Meadow Pipits singing nearby; often the only ones I see on a working day. Linnets showed shortly after just past the A1, shortly after a Cuckoo had flown over on the west side.

Approaching Orton BP another Great Spot and a Garden Warbler were singing from the wood and a Painted Lady flew over the farmland where a Red-legged Partridge was the only sighting of the day. A Grasshopper Warbler was singing again on the heathy area at the west for the first time in a while, perhaps preparing for a second brood. A Cuckoo also sang here.

Most of the common warblers appeared at OBP, including what looked like young Garden Warblers but I still hadn't heard Chiffchaff or Lesser Whitethroat as I headed off to CEGB passing yet another Great Spot.

The reservoir is the only site on my usual routes to hold Little Grebes in the summer and sure enough one showed here (they aren't always obliging). I also added a Redshank and Pied Wagtail, another species that often eludes me but I would see more of both of these later.

Next stop Fletton Lake. On the way a Lesser Whitethroat sang from alongside the railway line and a young Fox showed very well on the Ikea grassland. With water levels low the islands managed to attract a couple of Redshank and an adult Little Ringed Plover.

From here I headed into work via Town Bridge where the Sand Martins were active but I failed to see Grey Wagtail, the first of many sites I was to check for this species. A Sparrowhawk here was a bonus, even though I was to get another later in the morning flying over my office carrying prey.

Other often tricky species like Kestrel and Stock Dove had also shown on the way in so, with a good list of about 64 species already under the belt, I decided a bike ride out at lunchtime would be a good idea and headed off to Stanground Lock for a second dip on Grey Wagtail. Further on, Bradley Fen Pit came up trumps with another Redshank and a Little Egret but I could only see Mallard and Tufted Duck, and not the hoped for Pochard, Gadwall or Teal. The Millenium Bridge to Fitzwilliam Bridge is another dead cert for Grey Wagtail that failed to deliver. A Cuckoo flying over Padholme PS and a Gadwall on the outfall were the only consolation.

The Old Sewage Works managed to rescue what would have been a very embarrassing omission; Chiffchaff, the only one of the day! Sadly the Tawny Owl now seems to have abandoned the tree hole there.

The cycle home went past a Peregrine site and another two Grey Wagtail sites without adding either species. There were another 6 Redshank on the reserve at Ferry Meadows along with 5 Gadwall and one addition to the day list; a male Teal. A Kingfisher glimpsed as it dashed across Overton was my first for at least a couple of weeks and another bonus but that was the last addition to the day list on the way home.

All these Great Spotted Woodpeckers and I realised I still hadn't seen or heard Green Woodpecker all day. So I slipped out after tea and headed up to the church where the Spotted Flycatchers performed well but no Green Wood. I ended up flushing one from the roadside near Elton Bridge after checking the Mill and river for Grey Wagtail (along with Red Kite the only common species to elude me during the day).

The final tick of the day came from the bedroom window where a distant Common Buzzard could be seen hovering persistently over towards Fotheringhay.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Great Cormorant
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Tufted Duck
Red-legged Partridge
Little Ringed Plover
Black-headed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Common Tern
Feral Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Little Owl
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Sand Martin
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Grasshopper Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat
Garden Warbler
Willow Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Spotted Flycatcher

Been checking a few places for this species with no luck so pleased to find one calling away and showing well in an ash tree in the churchyard at Elton this evening. This is an annual breeding site for a species that is becoming harder and harder to find locally.

133 Spotted Flycatcher