Friday, 18 November 2011

White-fronted Goose

Relocated this bird on the way into work this morning west of the Nene near Ferry Meadows. It had been found and reported the previous day.

155 White-fronted Goose

European White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons albifrons

Canon EOS500D 70-300mm IS USM

Friday, 11 November 2011

Slavonian Grebes

A brilliant find by Paul Taylor (again!) at Beeby's BP. I'd cycled to Ferry Meadows at lunchtime to see if an earlier reported Crossbill had lingered at the pines in Bluebell Wood. No luck there before I got the call and there was just time to hare across to where Paul had waited (beyond the call of duty) with his scope.

Great views of 2 of these rare grebes. The first time I've seen more than one in the area.

154 Slavonian Grebe


It was great to find a redhead Smew at Ferry Meadows this morning but a real shame it didn't stick around. It showed for just a minute or two in the south bay of Gunwade Lake before flying off high to the east. Smew is now seriously scarce in the Peterborough area; this was my first in the area for 4 years!

Like the Grey Phal, this was an all-time BIGBY tick taking my total to 184 I think.

153 Smew

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Grey Phalarope

A welcome find this morning.

152 Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius

Canon EOS 500D 70-300mm IS USM

Friday, 14 October 2011

Hen Harrier

Remarkable sighting this morning at Ferry Meadows while watching the hoards of thrushes passing. A female flew west at 07:55.

151 Hen Harrier

Thursday, 13 October 2011


With winds going around to the east the migrants were flooding through Ferry Meadows this morning. Among the many Redwing, Fieldfare, Skylark and others giong through a party of 4 Brambling went wheezing past.

150 Brambling

Sunday, 9 October 2011


A female or immature flying along the river between Elton Bridge and the lock as we walked around this evening.

149 Mandarin

Sunday, 2 October 2011


Thanks to Karen's excellent hearing and then noticing the birds I've now seen two Ravens from the garden.

148 Raven

Friday, 9 September 2011

Manx Shearwater

What an extraordinary morning. I'd checked Orton BP and Beeby's #3 and was just approaching #1 pit when Steve rang to say he had a Sabine's Gull on Crown Lakes. I was there like a shot but it still wasn't quick enough for this bird that has eluded me once before by minutes. It must have flown second before I arrived and further searching was unsuccessful. While scanning passing gulls I did pick up a flyover Ruff though which I was surprised to discover was new for the year.

146 Ruff

I then headed on to work stopping briefly at CEGB to check some gulls there. I couldn't believe when I saw a Manx Shearwater circling just to the south. It drifted off south but wasn't picked up by anyone else. A bizarre encounter.

147 Manx Shearwater

Thursday, 8 September 2011


Ferry Meadows again. An excellent combination of 2 Whinchats a Stonechat and a Redstart, all along the railway line west of the river seen on the way home from work. With a Spotted Flycatcher in the trees south of Gunwade Lake this morning that's a good selection of migrants.

145 Redstart

Friday, 2 September 2011


Must have cycled straight past this this morning. Only looked briefly at the ditch where Don found it just west of the river bridge along the Nene Valley Railway at Ferry Meadows.

144 Whinchat

Friday, 19 August 2011

Wood Warbler, Ferry Meadows

Found by Matt Webb this morning near Lynch Bridge while I was stood next to him. Fabulous views of this really bright individual.

143 Wood Warbler

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Monday, 15 August 2011

Stonechat and Wood Sandpiper

Checked the Castor Mill area on the way in this morning and there was a young juvenile Stonechat there. While watching this I got a message about a Redstart at Ferry Meadows. Apart from a fleeting glimpse that failed to perform but at lunchtime I belted up to Maxey and back picking up one of the recent Wood Sands in the process.

141 Stonechat
142 Wood Sandpiper

Friday, 15 July 2011

Yellow-legged Gull

A rather dull tick but another addition to the cyc-list.

140 Yellow-legged Gull

Friday, 1 July 2011


The pair of Peregrines that have bred in Peterborough for the past few years abandoned their usual nest site and the new one has only just been found. I came in past the top secret location this morning and saw at least two well-grown young in the nest.

139 Peregrine

I was 152 during the sumer hiatus last year so the autumn is going to have to be spectacular to get anywhere near last years total.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Spotted Flycatcher

Well it's been ages since I've managed to add anything to the yearlist and harder to find the energy or motivation as a result. However I eventually connected with the regular breeding Spotted Flycatchers at Elton church today.

138 Spotted Flycatcher

Friday, 6 May 2011

Turtle Dove

Flying through Orton BP this morning.

137 Turtle Dove

Sunday, 1 May 2011


A walk to Yarwell and Nassington produced a single Swift heading north.

136 Swift

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Five from the birdrace

Added during the Biking birdrace yesterday. Barwits were at Maxey and Beeby's, the Turnstone was at Beeby's and found just before we got there by Paul Taylor. We found the Greenshank after making an unscheduled stop at the formerly productive Serpentine Lake. Blackbush provided the bunting and the Cranes are again on the Nene Washes this year.

131 Bar-tailed Godwit
132 Greenshank
133 Turnstone
134 Corn Bunting
135 Crane

Biking birdrace

Nick Mudge, Mike Weedon and I met at 04:00 at Castor Hanglands to begin our epic tour of the Peterborough area. We had last year's total of 110 in our sights but with an iffy weather forecast threatening rain and guaranteeing strong northerly winds we were not too hopeful.

As it turned out it was a great day with some real highlights. The first was at 04:40 when Mike's headtorch alighted on a Badger right next to us. At 06:20, still at Castor Hanglands but this time in the light, a Tawny Owl flew across right in front of us below head height. Other highs were Arctic Terns at Ferry Meadows, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits at Maxey and another at Beeby's, Greenshank at Hampton and Turnstone at Beeby's.

We were also met by Karen at lunchtime and Jill in the evening with hot food and drink, which were excellent and also helped to keep up spirits.

Castor Hanglands
001 03:55 Nightingale
002 04:04 Grasshopper Warbler
003 04:14 Moorhen
004 04:32 Tawny Owl
005 04:41 Pheasant
006 04:51 Robin
007 04:52 Song Thrush
008 04:58 Woodpigeon
009 04:59 Blackbird
010 05:00 Cuckoo
011 05:02 Blackcap
012 05:03 Wren
013 05:06 Carrion Crow
014 05:09 Lesser Whitethroat
015 05:11 Whitethroat
016 05:11 Great Tit
017 05:13 Garden Warbler
018 05:16 Chiffchaff
019 05:27 Blue Tit
020 05:35 Treecreeper
021 05:46 Goldcrest
022 05:53 Willow Warbler
023 05:56 Jackdaw
024 05:58 Common Buzzard
025 06:00 Bullfinch
026 06:05 Greylag
027 06:07 Coal Tit
028 06:09 Long-tailed Tit
029 06:09 Jay
030 06:35 Magpie
031 06:40 Green Woodpecker
032 06:49 Marsh Tit

So, having spent nearly three hours here it was time to move on without having seen Nuthatch or Great Spotted Woodpecker; birds that could prove very difficult elsewhere. We had, however, connected with many other targets, and having Goldcrest, Coal and Marsh Tits meant a trip to Southey Wood would not be necessary.

On the way to Ben Johnson Pit:
033 07:02 Skylark
034 07:02 Rook
035 07:02 Chaffinch

Ben Johnson Pit
036 07:05 Lesser Black-backed Gull
037 07:07 Stock Dove
038 07:08 Linnet
039 07:09 Goldfinch
040 07:02 Sedge Warbler
041 07:11 Feral Pigeon

Willow Brook Farm
042 07:16 Greenfinch
043 07:16 House Sparrow
044 07:17 Swallow

Swaddywell NR
045 07:18 Dunnock
046 07:20 Red-legged Partridge
047 07:22 Black-headed Gull
048 07:30 Mallard
049 07:32 Reed Warbler
050 07:32 Reed Bunting
051 07:39 Starling

052 07:53 Yellowhammer

Bainton GP
053 07:56 Mute Swan
054 08:17 Coot
055 08:21 House Martin
056 08:21 Sand Martin

Maxey GP
057 08:41 Grey Heron
058 08:41 Yellow Wagtail
059 08:45 Little Egret
060 08:45 Kestrel
061 08:47 Shelduck
062 08:47 Pied Wagtail
063 08:51 Common Tern
064 08:51 Oystercatcher
065 08:51 Gadwall
066 08:51 Little Ringed Plover
067 08:57 Lapwing
068 09:00 Meadow Pipit
069 09:02 Redshank
070 09:07 Great Crested Grebe
071 09:07 Little Grebe
072 09:07 Tufted Duck
073 09:12 Cormorant
074 09:22 Cetti's Warbler
075 09:35 Green Sandpiper
076 09:35 Bar-tailed Godwit
077 09:35 Teal
078 09:38 Ringed Plover
079 10:20 Wheatear

Nine Bridges
080 10:40 Sparrowhawk

081 10:49 Collared Dove

Milton Park
082 11:20 Mistle Thrush
083 11:23 Nuthatch

Ferry Meadows
084 11:50 Arctic Tern
085 12:31 Canada Goose

Orton Mere
086 13:00 Grey Wagtail

087 13:19 Greenshank
088 13:22 Common Sandpiper

Beeby's BP
089 13:34 Turnstone

Orton BP
090 14:03 Hobby
091 14:07 Marsh Harrier
092 14:20 Herring Gull

King's Dyke NR
093 15:59 Pochard

Blackbush Drove
094 16:24 Corn Bunting

095 17:00 Crane
096 17:38 Barn Owl
097 17:39 Tree Sparrow
098 17:48 Shoveler
099 17:57 Great Spotted Woodpecker

Nene Washes Central Drove
100 18:22 Snipe
101 18:30 Black-tailed Godwit
102 18:32 Garganey
103 18:48 Wigeon
104 18:53 Whooper Swan
105 18:57 Great Black-backed Gull
106 19:18 Red Kite
107 19:36 Common Gull

The cold biting northerly intensified on the washes and by dusk we were very cold and headed back towards Peterborough splitting up at the Town Bridge at 21:43. We had cycled just over 90km in the 17 hours and 45 minutes of the race, spending about 6 and a half hours of that in the saddle.

It was disappointing to miss some resident birds, like Kingfisher and Little Owl and it would have been nice to have connected with an early Swift but on the whole this was a very respectable list with some quality birds showing for us.

The winning GPOG birdrace team on the following days got 111 and was the only team to beat us, proving again you do not need to be in a car to amass a good day list.

In addition we recorded Badger, Muntjac, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, Hare, Rabbit, Pipistrelle, Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Brown Argus, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Treble-bar sp., Large Red Damselfly and Four-spotted Chaser.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Grey Partridge

Astonishingly good record this morning at Castor Mill with a pair of Grey Partridges on the farm track off Mill Lane. Sightings of this species are very scarce away from fenland.

130 Grey Partridge

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tern again

I was heading out Marholm way this morning checking out a route for Friday's biking birdrace when I got a text from Matt calling me back to Ferry Meadows. Two terns in two days. Nice!

129 Black Tern

Black Tern Chlidonias niger

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Arctic Tern

One this evening on Gunwade Lake on the way home from work.

128 Arctic Tern

Cuckoo and Nightingale

Had a Cuckoo yesterday at Old Sulehay but this was the first by bike this morning at Orton BP where a Nightingale was also singing.

126 Cuckoo
127 Nightingale

Monday, 25 April 2011


Not had a lot of success cycling out every morning over the Easter break so stayed in this morning and watched from the house. Rewarded with a Hobby cruising north.

125 Hobby

Friday, 22 April 2011

Three ticks

Black Terns have been at Ferry Meadows for the past couple of days but the two there this morning had moved on by the time I got there. Still, three Common Sandpipers on the shores of Gunwade and a few warblers bumped the list up.

122 Lesser Whitethroat
123 Garden Warbler
124 Common Sandpiper

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Ring Ouzel

Another elusive Ring Ouzel was found this morning, this time by Matt Webb at Ferry Meadows. I had come in via the brick pits but nipped out to Ferry Meadows at lunchtime and it was almost the first bird I saw on arriving at the grassy slope near Ferry Bridge. The bird soon flew off and proved difficult for the rest of the day. A bit of luck after missing the one at Caldecote the other day.

121 Ring Ouzel


The first Reed Warbler for the area was singing this morning at Orton BP and a Grasshopper Warbler sang and showed briefly there.

119 Reed Warbler
120 Grasshopper Warbler

Monday, 11 April 2011


The first cloak and dagger bird of the year. As this is a pair I won't say where they were but I was actually looking, unsuccessfully, for another scarce breeding bird when I chanced upon these.

118 Avocet

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Garganey and Yellow Wagtail

Did the long ride out to the Central Drove of the Nene Washes for the second time this year this morning. Four hours on the road with little to show for it really. A Muntjac was by the road at the Billing Brook and there were 3 Roe Deer on the Low Wash. A plumose Little Egret was on the High Wash and there were oodles of Black-tailed Godwits, many displaying, but no passage waders.

The year ticks both came from the Central Drove.

116 Garganey
117 Yellow Wagtail

Friday, 8 April 2011

Egyptian Goose

Decided to take a ride out to the High Wash this lunchtime. The reward was this Egyptian Goose - not the most exciting bird but difficult to catch up with locally.

Whitethroat and Marsh Harrier were other additions and a party of 4 noisy Buzzards over the sewage works were entertaining.

113 Whitethroat
114 Egyptian Goose
115 Marsh Harrier

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus

Common Buzzards Buteo buteo

Canon EOS 500D EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Iceland Gull

The lastest in an impressive list of scarcities seen from my office window. I'd been keeping a watch on the sky out of the corner of my eye from my desk on the offchance of a raptor passing as the conditions felt right and noticed a trickle of gulls passing. Following a couple with bins revealed one to be startlingly pale and have fully white wings. Although quite high, views with bins were good, if limited to the underside. Structurally it was not too dissimilar from the Lesser Black-backed Gull it was following, perhaps a bit smaller and with a smallish bill, so Glaucous Gull was out of the question. It was just possible it was an albino Herring or Lesser Black-backed but really the odds are on it being an adult or pale 2nd or 3rd calendar year Iceland Gull. This is a classic time for one to turn up in this area so basically I'm having it!

112 Iceland Gull

Common Tern & Sedge Warbler

With persistent strong southwesterlies over the past couple of days providing little in the way of good birds and the prospect of a long hard cycle home I've not been on the bike since last week. In the meantime Common Terns and Sedge Warblers have arrived at Ferry Meadows so I picked those up on the way in this morning.

110 Common Tern
111 Sedge Warbler

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Willow Warbler

Not exactly how I expected to get the first this year but a silent bird in our birch trees at home showed very well first thing this morning.

109 Willow Warbler

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wheatear and Little Ringed Plover

Struggled in via Orton and Beeby's BP and picked up Wheatear at the first and Little Ringed Plover at the second.

107 Wheatear
108 Little Ringed Plover

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


2 this morning with about 30 Sand Martins on Gunwade Lake.

106 Swallow

Monday, 28 March 2011

Rock Pipit

Found this bird in the traditional location on the rocky shore of Gunwade Lake this morning.

105 Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus

Canon EOS 500D EF 70-300mm IS USM

Friday, 25 March 2011

Little Gull and House Martin

Three adult winter Little Gulls were an excellent find for Mike Weedon this morning on Gunwade Lake at Ferry Meadows. While watching them a party of 6 Sand Martins and a rather early House Martin dropped in briefly.

103 Little Gull
104 House Martin

Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus, adult winter

Canon EOS 500D EF 70-300mm IS USM

Monday, 14 March 2011

Sand Martin

Went looking for a party of Waxwings reported at the Town Bridge but no luck. The two Sand Martins seen there earlier in the day were around however.

102 Sand Martin

Five ticks

A long ride this morning to the end of the central drove on the Nene Washes. The main target, Water Pipit (a species I failed to see last year), performed OK but there was no sign of any of the other good birds on offer there at the moment.

97 Chiffchaff
98 Oystercatcher
99 Black-tailed Godwit
100 Dunlin
101 Water Pipit

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

My first ride to Castor Hanglands this year was successful with a corking male drumming close by within half an hour of arriving. It soon moved on however and there was no further sign for the next half hour.

96 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Ringed Plover

Although the star of the show this morning was a fabulous Stoat in Ermine at Orton BP I did get one year tick at Beeby's BP.

95 Ringed Plover

Friday, 4 March 2011


Two ticks today. One expected the other less so. I'm sure I've had the odd Linnet already this year but coming across a flock of 50 put them firmly on the list. It was a big surprise to see a Bittern feeding out in the open in front of me just afterwards.

93 Linnet
94 Bittern

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Little Owl

At last! Seems I'd been looking in the wrong place for the one at Ferry Meadows. Right tree, wrong bit. Still should have noticed it before though. My only excuse is incompetence.

92 Little Owl

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Little Egret

Rode to Newborough Fen this lunchtime to be greeted with the lowest diversity of birds I can remember seeing here. Targets would be Grey Partridge (didn't even see a Red-leg), Corn Bunting (no buntings at all), Stonechat (nope) and Little Egret (no herons at all). The hotspot along Drain Road failed to even produce Grey Wagtail or Green Sandpiper. However on leaving there was a Little Egret feeding distantly in the Car Dyke south of Gunthorpe Road.

91 Little Egret

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Lesser Black-backed

Dull but a tick.

90 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Took a ride to the tip today, which was total free of gulls but did have a Red Kite flying nearby. So decided to return via the north Bank. 7 Redshank and a Green Sandpiper at the Sewage Works was about all I had to show for it.

89 Redshank

Saturday, 29 January 2011


Already heard some distant probable calls this year but the birds were performing well at Bedford Purlieus this morning putting them firmly on the list. Also good views of Nuthatch and singing Marsh Tits but Lesser Spot again elusive.

88 Treecreeper

Monday, 24 January 2011

Tawny Owl

A bird hooting in Lynch Wood this evening on my ride home.

87 Tawny Owl


These are very thin on the ground at the moment and this might only be the second one reported in the Peterborough area so far this year. Anyway it was nice to see at Castor Mill on the ride into work this morning.

86 Kingfisher

Sunday, 23 January 2011


I very nearly didn't see this bird. Karen spotted a male fly though and then saw it again feeding under one of the feeders. I finally caught sight of it in the holly tree.

85 Blackcap

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Cryptic ticks

Took a ride out to Thornhaugh Quarry where the numbers of Snipe and Woodcock were low but one each of Woodcock and Jack Snipe and 8 Snipe provided a couple of ticks. A ride into Bedford Purlieus gained Marsh Tit but it was cruel that a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker called later when I returned by car with Karen.

82 Woodcock
83 Jack Snipe
84 Marsh Tit

Friday, 21 January 2011

Five more

My first cycle this year along the North Bank and it was depressing to see the North Bank road open again to through traffic. Why drivers feel the need to take it so dangerously I really don't know. Anyway the sewage farm provided the first two ticks and North Fen the rest.

77 Green Sandpiper
78 Grey Wagtail
79 Bewick's Swan
80 Whooper Swan
81 Golden Plover

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Barn Owl and Red-legged Partridge

A rather muddy cycle in this morning via Orton BP. The Barn Owl was hunting just SE of Haddon and the partridges on the mound at OBP.

75 Barn Owl
76 Red-legged Partridge

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cetti's Warbler & Water Rail

Went to Bradley Fen at dawn this morning hoping for Bittern and/or Bearded Tit. Neither showed but walking past the reedbed a Cetti's Warbler fired off a song right next to me and boy are they loud! Water Rail were calling and I also had a couple of Roe Deer and a Common Buzzard.

73 Cetti's Warbler
74 Water Rail

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Four more

A couple of Meadow Pipits at Castor Mill this morning followed by a Shelduck and a Snipe on the reserve at Ferry Meadows. The Goldcrest was calling along Thorpe Road.

69 Meadow Pipit
70 Shelduck
71 Snipe
72 Goldcrest

Friday, 14 January 2011

Buntings, etc.

Cycled in to work via Orton BP this morning for the first time this year. On the way picked up Yellowhammer and Pheasant and soon had Reed Bunting at OBP. A lone drake Red-crested Pochard was the only new addition among the good numbers of wildfowl.

65 Yellowhammer
66 Pheasant
67 Reed Bunting
68 Red-crested Pochard

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Mealy Redpoll

I had just ticked Don and Matt off on the year list and while we were chatting by Lynch Lake a small flock of Redpolls landed in a young birch next to us. The first bird I looked at was a big pale thing. Nice! This is one I didn't get last year.

64 Mealy Redpoll

Monday, 10 January 2011

Green Wood and Nuthatch

A couple of Green Woodpeckers seen on the cycle in this morning and a vocal, showy Nuthatch in Bluebell Wood. I apparently missed a pair of Red-crested Pocherd by not going via Gunwade though.

62 Green Woodpecker
63 Nuthatch

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Lapwing & Stock Dove

From the garden this morning.

60 Lapwing
61 Stock Dove

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Common Buzzard

Close encounters with Red Kite and Grey Heron in the garden this morning but the Buzzard that flew by was the next tick.

59 Common Buzzard

Friday, 7 January 2011

Bullfinch and rain

One of those rare days when it rained going into work and coming home. Of course it managed to stay largely dry in between. Spent most of the ride home cursing the weather.

Several Bullfinches on the way in were the only addition for the day.

58 Bullfinch

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


From the comfort of my desk at work. The first of many year ticks from here I hope.

57 Sparrowhawk

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Waxwings and Goosander

A good start to the year with a lunchtime bike ride to north Werrington netting a flock of 110+ Waxwings and a party of 11 Goosander.

54 Waxwing
55 Shoveler
56 Goosander

2011 underway

So here goes again. The first three days of the year have been spent in Elton, the biggest surprise being a Goldeneye on the river, although a flock of Wigeon going north were unusual here. Lesser Redpoll in the garden were also good.

1st Jan
1 Great Cormorant
2 Eurasian Wigeon
3 Mallard
4 Red Kite
5 Black-headed Gull
6 Common Gull
7 Woodpigeon
8 Collared Dove
9 Pied Wagtail
10 Wren
11 Dunnock
12 Robin
13 Blackbird
14 Fieldfare
15 Redwing
16 Mistle Thrush
17 Long-tailed Tit
18 Coal Tit
19 Blue Tit
20 Great Tit
21 Jackdaw
22 Rook
23 Carrion Crow
24 Starling
25 House Sparrow
26 Chaffinch
27 Goldfinch
28 Lesser Redpoll

2nd Jan
29 Goldeneye
30 Kestrel
31 Moorhen
32 Herring Gull
33 Great Spotted Woodpecker
34 Skylark
35 Magpie
36 Tree Sparrow
37 Greenfinch

3rd Jan
38 Great Black-backed Gull
39 Song Thrush

4th Jan (first day back cycling to work)
40 Little Grebe
41 Great Crested Grebe
42 Grey Heron
43 Mute Swan
44 Greylag Goose
45 Canada Goose
46 Gadwall
47 Teal
48 Pochard
49 Tufted Duck
50 Coot
51 Feral Pigeon
52 Jay
53 Siskin

Saturday, 1 January 2011

163 at the finish

Despite a bit of effort on the 31st I was unable to add any more to the year list and it finishes on 163. A huge improvement on last year.