Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Sandwich Tern

My regular ride into work this morning took me along the north shore of Gunwade Lake where a migrant party of about 20 Meadow Pipits were leaping about restlessly. I was just moving off from there when I heard a distant call that sounded like a tern. I scanned the lake again looking for a possible early Common Tern but then heard the call again, this time unmistakably from a Sandwich Tern. I soon saw there were two birds flying over the lake getting some hassle from the local Black-headed Gulls; had they just arrived?

I just had time to make a couple of phone calls and get the scope set up when they headed off high to the north over Milton Park never to be seen again.

Only my third encounter with the species in the area I think. A true rarity.

102 Sandwich Tern

Afterwards, on my way through the reserve, I got my first Willow Warbler of the year sinigng.

103 Willow Warbler

Monday, 29 March 2010


True to form the Egyptian Goose that was on Heron Meadow in the early afternoon was nowhere to be seen when I cycled through on the way home. A Swallow was with a good 50-60 Sand Martins.

101 Swallow


Things have been getting a bit frustrating. Stuck on 99 with any number of possible additions being seen by others (Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Egyptian Geese, Curlew, Water Pipit and even a mythical Raven) I just don't seem to be able to connect with anything. The Egyptian Geese keep vanishing whenever I'm at Ferry Meadows, and, despite several attempts, Lesser Spots remain off the list. Even the trickle of early migrants like Swallow, Yellow Wagtail and Willow Warbler have avoided me.

However, this lunchtime I did the circuit out to the High Wash and, at the limit of my journey along the green wheel on the northern edge of King's Dyke NR, I heard an unfamiliar call. There were quite a few Chaffinches and Goldfinches by the track, then I noticed the Brambing up in one of the trees. Just then it flew off past me and kept flying west. Frustratingly brief views but a tick nonetheless and the century up at last.

100 Brambling

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Marsh Harrier

The only birds of real note in a lunchtime tour of the North Bank, High Wash and Bradley Fen were three Marsh Harriers.

99 Marsh Harrier

Monday, 22 March 2010


I don't want to complain too much but this is now two dips in two days. Lesser spot yesterday and now Egyptian Goose today. The latter disappeared from the Ferry Meadows area between mid-morning and when I got there at around lunchtime. At least the Oystercatcher that has been on Overton Island for some time finally showed itself.

98 Oystercatcher

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Nuthatch and Jack Snipe

Rode through Old Sulehay this morning on the way to Thornhaugh Quarry. Plenty of Nuthatch activity in the wood but no Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers unfortunately.

Thornhaugh Quarry produced the usual array of snipes with 15 Common and 3 Jacks.

96 Nuthatch
97 Jack Snipe

Friday, 19 March 2010

Sand Martin

Just two days later than last year a couple visiting nest holes at the Town Bridge this morning. They were reported yesterday.

95 Sand Martin

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Little Owl and Ringed Plover

I've now taken the route to work via Haddon at least 6 times this year with no sign of the regular Little Owls but somehow I just knew I was going to see one this morning. Sure enough there it was along the Billing Brook just to the north of the Haddon Road.

93 Little Owl

Stopping to scan the land cleared for new housing at Hampton revealed at least three pairs of Ringed Plovers settling in to breed.

94 Ringed Plover

Friday, 12 March 2010

Golden Plover

Another one that has so far eluded me while cycling. Even this was just a single on the western edge of the Hampton NR where you might expect good numbers.

92 Golden Plover

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Grey Partridge

A bit of a result flushing two of these at the north end of Drain Road on Newborough Fen. I saw a covey here last year by car but failed to see them anywhere by bike, despite trying here and elsewhere many times.

91 Grey Partridge

Monday, 8 March 2010

Linnet and Water Rail

An unbelievably cold ride into work this morning via Haddon, OBP, CEGB and Fletton Lake. I've suspected Linnet a couple of times this year but at least 2 flying around west of Haddon singing at times were the first for sure. The Water Rail was calling at OBP. Masses of Woodpigeons about this morning - many appeared to be moving north.

89 Linnet
90 Water Rail

Friday, 5 March 2010


Outrageous sighting but one just flew past my office window! There have been a single and a pair wandering around the area but I thought I stood a better chance cycling out Flag Fen way the sitting at my desk.

This was also a PBC area self-found tick - #210!

88 Crane

Monday, 1 March 2010

Bean Goose

I'd already been out in the car to see these three taiga Bean Geese on North Fen but with the north bank road closed due to flooding I took the opportunity to cycle out that way without the risk of being mown down by the nutters who seem to treat it as a racetrack.

Unfortunately the Golden Plover and Ruff I saw by car were nowhere to be seen but there were a few Shelduck remaining.

86 Bean Goose
87 Shelduck