Monday, 15 November 2010

Stonechat and Goosander

I went birding with Gary Prescott this morning and although we saw little of note on the Nene Washes I did get a couple of ticks after we went our separate ways. I'd been surprised not to see any Stonechats on the Central Drove but as I was heading up to the Dog in a Doublet Gary called me to say he had some Stonechats at the other end of the Town Fifty. I was able to scope these although in the end I saw another two further back along the river along North Bank.

A real bonus however was the Goosander just off the bridge. These are rather scarce on the Nene and this the only species I'd seen only by car this year so it was particularly good to get that one.

162 Stonechat
163 Goosander

The Biking Birder

Well it was excellent to be able to meet up with Gary yesterday and offer him somewhere to stay. Gary's epic journey around the UK visiting every RSPB and WWT reserve, not to mention a fair few ECO Schools, continues through Cambridgeshire and I was able to join him for the ride to the Nene Washes this morning.

There were not that many birds on show and nothing to add to Gary's 242 species total (chasing the record of 251) but it was a fabulous morning; icy cold and still with a cracking sunrise.

Keep going Gary and good luck:

Friday, 12 November 2010

Short-eared Owl

Waxwing in the morning, Short-eared Owl in the afternoon. Crikey!

I'd been talking to Charlie Kitchin (Nene Washes RSPB warden) recently about the lack of Short-eared Owls on the Nene Washes so far this winter and was starting to contemplate a long ride out to the Deeping High Bank, where they are more reliable. That will no longer be necessary thanks to an astonishing stroke of luck this afternoon.

Sitting at my desk I picked up a distant group of four high-flying birds heading towards me high in the one small patch of sky I can see from here. When I put my bins on them I was astonished to see one was an owl. I scrabbled to get a scope but by that time it was getting closer and too high so I stayed on it with bins and watched as it passed directly over the office heading WNW shadowed by three Carrion Crows. It stayed fairly high but was clearly a Short-eared Owl, the pale belly and solid black primary tips being obvious with bins.

161 Short-eared Owl


An excellent office tick and hopefully the first of many more to come in this invasion year.

160 Waxwing

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77 x20