Thursday, 30 April 2009

At last a new bird! - Thurs AM - 30th April 09

Three Arctic Terns could be found on the newly emerging island at the centre of the lake.
Male Shelduck doing his usual 'this is my turf' job otherwise nothing at all of note.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Wagtail Wednesday - Evening 29th April 09

A 'full set' tonight of White (now at west end of main water), at least four Yellows, a single Grey and more Pied's than you could shake a stick at.

Not much else about, a single lapwing the only wader and plenty of Martins over the water but otherwise quiet.

A rather too healthy looking fox was mooching around Godwit Corner and the gravel road south of the lake.

And who were the two other birders than attracted so much interest from the herd of young bulls?

Wednesday - Morning and Lunchtime - 29th April 09

Second visit of the day after thick fog in the valley early AM made viewing impossible.
Lunchtime area still quiet. The flat mud area to the east of main lake has been totally churned up due to more advanced work, however a single White Wagtail was picking through the deep ruts between machine movement.
May be an area of interest this evening.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tuesday 28th April - Lunchtime

Nothing new of note.
Gravel extraction is now alongside main body of water, perhaps the reason.
A pair of Greylags have join the resident Canadians.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday afternoon update - 27th April 09

Site quiet again, hopefuly the lull before the holiday weekend storm?

Smattering of Yellow Wagtails, at least seven around the main body of water.
Around 30 Housemartins, 2 Swallows and a Sand Martin over the water.
Shelduck pair still present as was a single Little Ringed Plover.
A woodpecker, probably a Green, was drumming in the trees at the bottom of south centre field.

As for the site itself, unless the rain has changed things, the lowering water levels means the inlet is now cut off just leaving a series of pools but a more extended mud area leading into the main body of water.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Friday afternoon update - April 24th 09

Things return to their quiet normal self after the mini gold rush this morning.
Just a single Lapwing and LRP the only waders.
And just to rub salt in the wound of the only other birder present who was targeting Yellow Wagtails, three Grey's flew across Godwit Corner as I left and then probably might in front of him. It was the first visit in a couple of weeks when none were present.

And a completely new species to the western palearctic viewed briefly on top of the high banking along the north shore. The lesser sunburnt twonk, a male respendent in full summer plumage of just sandals shorts and sunhat looked as if he was looking for a mate, but if you do see this species please flush as its the last one we want to breed.

Friday is Ouzel day!

Its seems Friday is Ring Ouzel day at Manor Farm.

Following on from last weeks bird, another was found this morning on the shingle bank and gravel road south of the main body of water. Again like last weeks bird a stunning male, it flew over the south central field literally a couple of feet over my head giving great views. It was fairly flighty and was last seen around 7:30ish in the field south of the farm building (between farm and Old Wolverton Road), unfortunately I had to head for work but it may still be there in the hills and hollows, a field most of us usually overlook.

Last weeks bird...

Earlier, from my arrival till 7:00, two Curlew, the first reported to have landed on site, were in 'Godwit Corner' they circled lake and headed in a Linford(ish) direction. Also in this corner one RP and one LRP and a single Common Sandpiper.

Three Terns, probably Commons but the Ouzel distracted me, were resting on the signs emerging from the water and the Shelduck pair are still present.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wednesday Evening Update - 22nd April 09

Four Yellow Wagtail
Single LRP
Single Lapwing
Sparrowhawk over.
Shelduck pair remain.

And an appeal.

Can we get the word around the local birding community that Manor Farm is not just about whats on the water, the surrounds hold far more.
Yet again today we had a birder inside the perimeter fence (which be warned is trespassing despite there being no signs yet) walking around the waters edge, right up to edge on occasions. To cap it all he stood plumb on the bare earth/shingle area that housed a pair of LRP's as he loomed over the entrance to the inlet, everything was flushed from perhaps the best area of the whole site.
If you can imagine someone standing on the spit at Willen or wandering across the bund at Linford you'll get the idea.
If it carries on to be a free for all we might as well forget about this site now.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Monday, 20 April 2009

Evening Update - Monday 20th April 09

4:30pm > 5:30pm
Still quiet, add to the list below at least five Yellow Wagtail favouring grass and mud around inlet.
Single Green Sandpiper.

Monday lunchtime update - 20th April 09

Very quiet in the warm sunshine, viewed from south bank no time to go round to inlet (though there were two other birders in this area if there is anything to report?)

Shelduck pair remain.
LRP in Godwit Corner.
White Wagtail in same area.
Common Buzzard over.

And for the first time in at least a couple of weeks no sign of any Wheatear.

No More? (Taken last Friday)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Saturday AM Update - 18th April 2009 - Ouzel Gone

Rob Norris per NBBR

No sign of RING Ouzel this morning but did have RING-necked Parakeet fly over Manor Farm about 7 o clock this morning heading West.
also Little RINGed plover.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Ring Ouzel + - Friday 17th April - Afternoon

(All pictures taken by Chris G today at Manor Farm, click on image for full size.)

A Ring Ouzel was found by yours truly at 13:45 this afternoon (and was still there when I left at 17:15). In bad light and up a tree in the centre south field to start with I was sure it was a female, brownish bird with a cream crescent, but sunlight and the fine eye of Si Nicholls when he arrived confirmed it was indeed a male. Initially spending the first three quarters on an hour flitting from tree to tree it finally came down to feed on the pasture, see below. After initially being lost it was refound by Paul Moon and myself on the southern shingle banking along the main body of water, where it still was when I left this evening.

Also on site.
Around a dozen Yellow Wagtails
One (at least) White Wagtail
Two Northern Wheatear
Two Little Ring Plovers
Two Oystercatcher
Three Green Sandpipers
Pair Shelduck
And a mystery wader, entrance to inlet but just out of Bin ID range, looked like winter plumaged Dunlin but not sure.

Ring Ouzel - RSPB
Ring Ouzel - BTO
Ring Ouzel - Birdguides

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Thursday 16th April 09 - Afternoon - Dunlin

Robert Norris had a summer plumaged Dunlin at MF this afternoon.

As per his post to NBBR.

As well as the Summer plumaged Dunlin.

2 Oystercatcher
3+ Green Sandpiper
2 Little Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover
3+ Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
2 Shelduck
Little Egret
and a Cuckoo heard but not seen at Haversham end.

Dunlin - RSPB
Dunlin - Birdguides
Dunlin - BTO

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wednesday Evening - 16th April 09 - Water Pipit Redux!

From 5:00 to 6:30 this evening.

I've found the secret in finding the Water Pipit, just don't look for it in the first place.
While viewing the White Wagtail, there is still at least one present, the WP dropped down on the adjacent bit of mud, just at the mouth of the NW inlet (best viewable on River Ouse side walk through banking). However I am pretty sure this is not the bird I initially found last week and this backs up Rob Hills theory of two birds last Saturday.
See here.
This does appear to be a browner individual in full sunlight. I'll leave it to the experts.

Also at west end of main body of water half a dozen Yellow Wagtail, the aforementioned White, and a brief view of a Grey. The various Pied's made the set.

Just a single LRP flitting about, two Northern Wheatear, three Green Sandpipers. Two Green Woodpeckers in the grass south of the inlet were giving excellent views. Along the river itself, Kingfisher.

For those on the river side, the reeds on the far bank between the two gaps in the banking always used to be good for Reed and Sedge Warbler, however the proximity of caravans now might change this.

Yellow Wagtail - RSPB
Yellow Wagtail - Birdguides
Yellow Wagtail - BTO

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tuesday 17th April - Evening -

Spent a good hour or so this evening looking for the Water pipit from the Riverside, no luck.
Certainly two very stunning White Wagtails still on site, got both in the same view squaring up to each other. Frequenting corner of inlet.
Single tern through, probably Common.
3 x Green Sandpiper
1 x Common Sandpiper
2 x LRP but definitely a single Ringed Plover on the south shore.

Ringed Plover - RSPB
Ringed Plover - BTO
Ringed plover - Birdguides

Downside, at 5:00pm three kids trying to flood the workings by turning on main pipes leading to area now being worked.

Tuesday 14th April - Lunchtime

Second visit of the day (you couldn't see a thing at 6am due to mist) gave nothing new.
However there is a Pipit shaped bird in the NW inlet favouring the corner where it comes off main lake. I did not have time to get to Riverside Walk, others will get a better view but it may be that the on/off WP is back.

White Wagtail
LRP's x 2
At least two Wheatear
Green Sandpier x 2
Shelduck remain (eyeing up the earth moving equipment as their next target)

Bad news(ish): Not only has extraction work restarted at a busier pace than last week but thay have personnel on foot walking the perimeter which might flush prospective nesters.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Manor Farm - How to get there...



Easter Monday Morning (Update) - 10:30am 13th April 09

Update from Rob H at 10:30

No sign of the Water Pip this morning, in fact very few pipits and wagtails - 1m WHITE WAGTAIL, 1 Yellow Wag, and a handful of Pieds.

1 Curlew flew over north, 2 LRP, 5 Green Sand, 1 Common Sand and 4m Wheatear.

Wheatear - BTO
Northern Wheatear - Birdguides
Wheatear - RSPB

Easter Monday Morning - 8:30am 13th April 09

Per Rob Hill (via Si N.) post to NBBR

3 Northern Wheatears and a flyover CURLEW were the highlights of a Manor Farm visit this AM

Curlew - Birdguides
Curlew - RSPB
Curlew - BTO

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Saturday afternoon update: 11th April 09

From Si Nich via NBBR and text (Thanks Simon)

Rob (Hill) has seen at least 1 , poss 2 WATER PIPITS at Manor Farm , at least 15 Yellow Wagtails and a minimum of 3 WHITE WAGTAILS

And later from Rob himself...

Indeed, the first bird was the more classic grey bird now there for it's 3rd? 4th? day, and showing very well, flycatching from the mounds, and chasing wagtails. Unstreaked back, clean superc., strong bill, white outer-tail feathers, prominent pale edges to the retrices, pale below with limited dark streaking, paleish legs. The second bird, seen briefly once before disappearing behind a mound and not re-appearing, was similarly sized, strong bill, weaker superc., but was noticably browner on the upperparts with heavier streaking on the underparts.

I'm not too familiar with the variability of Water Pips, but wasn't the regular Tring bird of recent years a rather brown specimen?

Anyway, most of the pipits and wagtails (there were 5+ Mipits as well as Yellow Wags and the 3 stunning male White wags) were on the large flat area at the west end of the main pool, where the inlet starts to bend round.

Other birds included 2m Wheatear, 1 LRP, 2 Snipe, 1 Common Sand, 6 Green Sand, 2 Shelduck & 4 Teal.


Water Pipit - Birdguides

Water Pipit - BTO

Water Pipit - RSPB

A reply to James re access.

As long as you stay in the fields you are okay James, at no point should you be able to get right to the waters edge though, especially as that is where some of the better birds have been ie Water Pipit etc and they were flushed as per yesterday, this site is not just whats on the water, the mud attracts plenty more.

To the south of the water thats the three fields farm buildings side and the one through the wooden gate to the west end. As a guide you should always have the back brook between you and the site. To the north of site the riverside walk, which is giving the better views at the moment is the guide then you can follow 'front' brook. (There is more on this somewhere in blog)

Basically if you are on or have crossed any of the gravel roading you are in the working quarry and are trespassing. Hopefully Hanson will erect more signs to make this more obvious soon.

Hope that helps.


Saturday morning update - 11th April 09

From Si Nich via NBBR at c9:00am

Rob N has had COMMON SANDPIPER, several House Martins, 4 Green Sandpipers, 3
Oystercatcher 2 LRP , 1 Ringed Plover, 1 White Wagtail and 2 Shelduck but
unfortunately no sign of the Water Pipit at Manor Farm this morning.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Lee Evans Good Friday Report

(Easily accessed off of the main Old Wolverton road and just over a mile
from the A5; park at the main entrance to the Manor Farm business complex and
walk north to the Country Park trail currently under construction)

I was looking forward to visiting this site as all the hype surrounding it
surely was exaggeration - but it wasn't. This new complex of gravel
extraction and shallow scrapes on the River Great Ouse valley certainly is the
'real deal' and a fantastic magnet for migrating birds. The main pool is in
excellent shape and the surrounding areas (whilst wet and fresh) are
certainly attractive for migrant passerines.

I spent a couple of hours tasting the avian delights of this new site and
working out the best ways in which to observe it. The following species were
seen, the highlight being a migrant LITTLE GULL.

Mute Swans (10 including 5 first-years)
Common Teal (pair)
COMMON SANDPIPER (1) (my first county bird of the year)
Common Snipe (2)
Black-headed Gulls (3)
**LITTLE GULL (an adult in winter plumage arrived from the west at 1427 and
was then pursued by the Black-headed Gulls and chased off whilst I was on
the phone to Simon and flew strongly and high SE along the river valley at

Sand Martin (3)
Barn Swallow (6)
Meadow Pipit (2)
**WATER PIPIT (a bird in transitional plumage was frequenting the
rain-sodden shallow pools to the east of the main pit. It was typically mobile and
flew up calling several times, disappearing to a hidden extraction pool at
the NE of the site)
*WHITE WAGTAIL (male on the eastern edge of the pit and on the bunds)
*YELLOW WAGTAIL (3 gaudy males on the bunds)
*NORTHERN WHEATEAR (highly mobile male on bunds)
Goldfinch (8)

Little Gull & (refound) Water Pipit

Friday 10th April 09 - Mid-afternoon.

Lee Evans had an adult Little Gull briefly this afternoon plus he managed to find the elusive Water pipit once more.

Others present as per message below from this morning.

Little Gull - Birdguides

Little Gull - BTO

Little Gull - RSPB

Better views...

Now the water is down further there are better views to be had along the north side of the site. This is along the River Ouse walk, then looking through the games in the bund. Great views back into inlet and the corner thats not visible from the south side. Further on once through the double gates, where 'Front Brook' leave the main flow follow this route round looking to right. For those that know area, much clearer views over the Water Pipit, White wagtail, Wheatear area, but still in cover of trees. will take a little longer but well worth it.

Telling your grandmother how to suck eggs...

I know this is akin to telling your grandmother how to suck (Easter) eggs but we should all remember MF is a working quarry and out of bounds even though there is no signage on the south and west of site (there are plenty on the east and north). There was a case this morning of a birder not only looming over Godwit Corner but standing plumb in the middle of an area that held Water Pipit, Yellow and White Wagtail yesterday. To this end does anyone have a contact at Hanson who operate the site to see if they can post signs along the south and west perimeter?

Good Friday - Early Doors at MF

Friday 10th April 09 - 6am till 10am

From first light at 6:00am not much about at MF but as time wore on the following were found before I left at mid morning.

White Wagtail, possibly two, one in the workings area another on mud entering inlet.
Wheatear, same position as last few days, must be same bird.
Snipe x 2
LRP x 2 plus one single RP/LRP in inlet.
Up to six Green Sandpipers.
One Common Sandpiper

Thursday, 9 April 2009


Thursday 9th April 2009 - Evening
Per Rob Hill.
Osprey over at 7:20(ish)

Thursday April 9th 2009 - Lunchtime

Water Pipit still present as lunchtime but about as hard to locate as an MP's properly filled in claims form.
White Wagtail
Wheatear still present.
Handful of Yellow Wags.
Waders represented by Green Sandpiper & LRP.

Update: Water Pipit confirmed (plus White Wagtail)

Thursday April 9th 2009 - Morning - 10:00am

Si Nicholls confirmed Water Pipit present, plus he has male White Wagtail on site.

White Wagtail - Birdguides

Thursday April 9th 2009 - Morning

Possible Water Pipit (very white tail flanks) in SE corner main body of water (Godwit Corner).
Unfortunately the call of work drew me away so i'll leave others to confirm, or indeed blow out the water.
Oddly enough in the 30 or so minutes there I didn't see a single wader so they are probably all well into NW inlet.
Much to see however on the mudflats and hillocks especially those to the right of the main lake.
Pipits, Yellow, Grey and Pied Wagtails and a pair of Wheatears.
So if you're going concentrate on that mud!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

So what in heavens is a 'Floodplain Forest'?

The Parks Trust explains...

Tuesday 8th April 2009
Evening 17:00 > 18:00
At least seven Ring plovers now on site, one group of three and two pairs.
Six Yellow Wagtails showing well in evening sun (see location below).
Resident Little Egret and Common Buzzard over.
Tuesday 8th April 2009
Lunchtime 12:30 > 13:30
Addition to the below.
Common Sandpiper
No sign of Common Tern.
Ring Plovers increrasing in number, now certainly at least four. One pair Godwit Corner (ignoring earthmoving next door) further pair at NW inlet.
So to get started, todays sightings. Previous days/months records to follow.
Tuesday 8th April.

Morning: 6:30am
Common Tern favouring area towards inlet.
Circa dozen or so Yellow Wagtails on flat mud area east of main lake.
Pipits - out of Bin ID range.

3 x Ring Plover
Usual wader suspects...
Common Redshank.

Pair Shelduck, still lively and trying to dominate the water.
Two pairs Teal persecuted by the above.

Leaving these shores:
Pair of very finely plumafged Fieldfare.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Posting by Chris G to NBBR - Tues 7th April

Gravel extraction has started again at some pace at MF. Its going out by the large lorry load every ten minutes or so from what has been an untouced area for the last couple of months.
Its being extracted from the old wader pit (east of the main body of water) it has driven what was around more into the NW inlet area.
Of course out of working hours things might return to normality but it could have some effect should it expand.
Lunchtime today
Ringed Plover
Greensand x 4
Oystercatcher x 2
A handful of Lapwing.
Pair Shelduck
Pair Teal.
And suprisingly not many Pied wagtails.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Post by Chris G to NBBR, Monday 6th April 09

At 6:30 this morning.
Male Wheatear on shingle ridge at Godwit Corner.
Common Redshank x 2
Green Sandpiper x 2
Snipe x 3
Pair of teal.
Shelduck pair continue to try and drive all other ducks off the main water.