Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Weds 30th Sept - Evening - GBB

17:45 > 18:30
Setting sun, brozen cloud, N breeze at first then calm. 16C.

Water level higher again in The Dip but nothing really of note just Jackdaws, Crows and Black Headed Gulls along with the odd Pied Wagtail in the area. A single Lesser Black Backed Gull sat amongst the BHG's while low and over but not landing was a returning Great Black Backed Gull.

Two Little Egrets out on the mud and a Green Sandpiper in flight from the High Pool down towards the river were the only other birds worth mentioning.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Tues 29th Sept - Evening - Water up...

17:00 > 17:30
Broken cloud, then warm sunny spell, NW wind, 19C.

After a brief visit on Monday (28th) where the water level was again pumped low and I saw nothing but a pair of Little Egrets across the site I was suprised to return today and find the water in The Dip at around its highest level yet.

Still not much of interest though. A Common Snipe over a single Green Sandpiper and the usual 50 or so BHG's and 30 Lapwing in the Dip. A pair of Teal were also in the vicinity.

Three Little Egrets fought for the best roost on the clay islands on what's left of the main body of water. The old wader pool now resembles nothing more that a largish puddle, we need rain and lots of it.

Two further Green Sandpipers were found on the High Pool south of the farm buildings.

On the canal section in the morning a single Kingfisher.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Fri 25th Sept - Afternoon - A mixed bag...

Reed Bunting - River Ouse - Manor Farm - 25th Sept 09
14:00 > 17:00
Breaking cloud to sunny warm periods, NW breeze. 17C

Again not much movement migration wise.
Three Little Egrets in the main area of the site plus a fourth on the river.
Corvids dominated the Dip, mostly Jackdaws but a smattering of Carrion Crow and Magpie while a single Jay to the east of site completed the 'common' set.
Also common the three most common birds of prey on site today in Kestrel, mobbed by around 20 Jackdaws, a female Sparrowhawk making a couple of low sorties along the Dip shoreline sending everthing skywards and a Common Buzzard over.
Gull numbers built during the afternoon with a max of around 250. As always mostly BHG's but a single Common Gull was spotted in the Dip.
Wader wise singles of Common Snipe and Green Sandpiper and circa thirty Lapwing dotted around the site, but a late afternoon flock over heading north must have been at least ten times that amount.
A pair of Teal were in the Dip and a lone Wigeon on the old Wader Pool.
Along the river, much quieter than of late, apart from the aforementioned Little Egret, a couple of Grey Heron and a party of Mute Swan, a female Reed Bunting (see above) was just about the only other bird seen.

Reed Bunting - Birdguides
Reed Bunting - BTO
Reed Bunting - Avibirds
Reed Bunting - RSPB
Reed Bunting - Wiki

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Thursday 24th Sept - Lunchtime - Zzzzzzzzzzz

12:15 > 12:45
Warm sunshine, NW breeze gaining strength at times. 18C.

Good news, the water in The Dip is even higher, better views, more shoreline.
Bad news, not a lot about still.

After an abortive visit at first light when fog filled the valley I was hoping for better things as it burnt off during the morning, but no.

Just a single Little Egret and a pair of Teal of interest. Some gulls about, all BHG's as far as I could tell but maybe only 50 at most with the same number of Lapwing.

On the butterfly front a couple of late Painted Lady flitted about the farm buildings.

Fingers, and everything else, crossed for tomorrow.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Weds 23rd Sept 09 - Quietness continues...

17:00 > 17:30
Cloudy, calm. 17C

Still quiet at the Farm. Water level in Gravel Dip up another couple of inches but nothing seen of interest except a single Common Snipe and Teal in this area. Two Little Egrets out on the mud. Oddly enough not a single gull of any description on the site today.
On the top field a party of six Mistle Thrush were joined by three Green Woodpeckers.
And thats your lot!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Tues 22nd Sept 09 - Evening - No change

17:00 > 17:30
Hazy sunshine, clouding over, W breeze. 18C

Brief visit, just singles of Green Sandpiper, Little Egret and Snipe in Gravel Dip.

Tues 22nd Sept 09 - Lunchtime - Still quiet...

13:00 > 13:45
Cloudy, SW wind. 17C

Still quiet on the whole. The Dip now back to previous high water levels, no working in area. In this area, pair of Teal, two Green Sandpipers and a Common Snipe.
In Egret corner a single Little Egret.
In top field by approach road a pair of Green Woodpecker and a single Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

Tues 22nd Sept 09 - Early Morning - More Snipe

6:45 > 7:00am
Sunny, westerly breeze, 10C

Brief visit.
Water level up again overnight, i'm guessing it backfills from the river. Quiet.
Forty or so Canada Geese up on the hill while three Kestrel hunted along the ridge.
Just five gulls out on the mud, all Black Headers and nothing but a solitary Magpie by the Wader Pool.
Several Pied Wagtails flitting about the Dip whilst highlight was four Common Snipe along the waters edge at the back pool here.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Monday 21st Sept 09 - Afternoon - Missed waders...

16:00 > 17:00
Cloudy breaking to hazy sunshine, SW breeze. 17C

A day of unfortunates.
Unfortunately the water level in Gravel Dip has been lowered a foot or so today to carry on with extraction. Not as much 'shoreline' to view as last week but still a variety of pools and omelettes and eggs comes to mind, the end should well justify the means.

The second unfortunate was when something spooked the 100 or so gulls (all BHG's bar two LBB's) out on the mud and as they circled (never to return) a group of six small waders (Dunlin sized) joined them then spilit, did a couple of high circuits over the site then headed east. And even more unfortunately I never got anywhere near a good ID on them.

Elsewhere very quiet, in fact on the Wader Pool and the High Pool behind the farm nothing at all. A single Common Snipe upped and headed west, two Little Egrets were present and a lone Green Sandpiper in the Dip. Just three Lapwing andCormorant and Kestrel over.

And yes a very common bird but there was a Greenfinch out on the gravel, another to tick off the MF list.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Fri 18th Sept 09 - Afternoon/Evening - Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail - River Ouse, Manor Farm - Sept 09
14:30 > 18:30
On arrival 20C, warm sunshine, fleeting cloud, SE breeze.

A warm autumnal day yet better than most we've seen this summer.

In the new area, henceforth know as 'The Gravel Dip' the water has been raised by about another foot or so. Instead of destroying any habitat, due to the way that the area has been dug, more pools and shoreline have been created. There are at least thre Common Snipe now in this area with a couple of Green Sandpiper, in the hedgerow alongside a single Linnet whilst the Goldfinch charms dip in and out of this area again attracting one of the resident pair of Kestrel.

Out on the mud around 250 Lapwing, with another hunrded or so on the ploughed field north of the river. Also around 70 Black Headed Gulls dozed out on the mud whilst around half that number were on the backwater in Gravel Dip along with a single Lesser Black Backed Gull.

On the old Wader Pool to the east two Teal and a single Wigeon remain alongside another Green Sandpiper. Also out on the mud in their usual corner were five Little Egrets a record for the site. Unfortunately these were flushed by two trespassers (not birders) but three reloacted to the Dip.

A trip along the River Ouse saw a returning female Grey Wagtail (see pics below) and the welcome sight of the Kingfisher once more, now surely resident in this stretch of the Ouse once again.

Viewing Gravel Dip from the north side, from over 'Front Brook' a gradual build up of Pied Wagtails, over 20 birds, were noted, favouring the sun facing gravel hills to burrow in to make use of the warm sand. Given this was the area where White Wagtails were viewed most often earlier in the year a place to be watched.

Returning to the southside of the Dip along the canal both Green and Greater Spotted Woodpecker were noted and unfortunately in the top SW corner of the ridge several rabbits with progressive myxomatosis.

During the afternoon a steady progression of small to medium size parties of Swallow, Housemartin and Sandmartin passed through.

As the sun started to set gulls numbers increased, mostly again BHG's but in the last fall around 30 Lesser Black Backed Gulls including a handful of juveniles and a couple of Herring Gulls.

As the light faded a Hobby flew over the valley while the last bird of the day was another lone Green Sandpiper on the High Pool south of the farm buildings alongside half a dozen Mallard and the Moorhen family.

On the insect front Dragonflies abound but they are on next years list for deciphering. Several Butterflies still about enjoying the September sun, more Commas than usual an odd Peacock and a smattering of both Large and Small White but for the first time in a while in appropriate weather not a single Painted Lady.

Pics, click to enlarge.

Little Egret - Gravel Dip, Manor Farm - Sept 09Dragonfly - Manor Farm - Sept 09
Common Snipe - Gravel Dip, Manor Farm - Sept 09
Grey Wagtail - River Ouse, Manor Farm - Sept 09
Grey Wagtail - River Ouse, Manor Farm - Sept 09
Grey Wagtail - River Ouse, Manor Farm - Sept 09
Grey Wagtail - River Ouse, Manor Farm - Sept 09

Grey Wagtail - Birdguides
Grey Wagtail - BTO
Grey Wagtail - Avibirds
Grey Wagtail - Wiki
Grey Wagtail - RSPB

Small White - UK Butterflies
Small White - Butterfly Conservation

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Weds 16th Sept - Evening - Snipe still...

17:00 > 17:30
Cloud clearing to sunny spells strong blustery E wind. 16C

A brief visit. As yesterday still quite a flock of Housemartins around the approach road while around a dozen Swallows hunted over the top field.

On the solitary pool south of the farm buildings a lone Green Sandpiper.

On the newly cleared area a Common Snipe took to flight, quite probly yesterdays bird while a second Green Sandpiper was in the backwaters.

On the old wader pit to the west eight Teal remain while Little Egret count was up to four, a group of three and a single by the smaller pools.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Tues 15th Sept - Afternoon - Common Snipe

Snipe - Manor Farm - November 08
16:50 > 17:30
Cloudy, dull, E/NE wind, strong gusts. 15C

A blustery dull afternoon at the Farm.
Along the entrance road a flock of thirty or so Housemartins and a couple of Swallows hunted insects low through the trees.

Down on the workings itself it was hard to get a tag on anything much at all from the hill with wind fully in your face but gulls were gradually arriving in numbers whilst in the hillocks n hollows Pied Wagtails and Goldfinches flitting about while Jackdaws, Magpies and Common Crows along with a couple of Stock Doves tried to find the best shelter from the wind.

Along at the fastly drying out wader pool around a dozen Teal and a single Wigeon kept themselves to themselves while two Little Egrets held close into the banking.

Along the ridge, while Rooks and Jackdaws and the odd gull wheeled overhead absolutely nothing at all could be found on the ground or in the bushes and trees but then at this point the wind is probably the strongest.

The highlight of the day though was as I was I leaving, a Common Snipe, my first of the autumn dropping into the boggy area in the bottom of south central field then over the fence into the workings.

At the pool to the south of the farm building a juvenile Green Woodpecker rounded off the visit.

Common Snipe - Birdguides
Common Snipe - BTO
Common Snipe - RSPB
Common Snipe - RSPB
Common Snipe - Wiki

Friday, 11 September 2009

Fri Sept 11th 09 - Afternoon - Mini Migrantfest!

14:00 > 16:30
Sunny, broken cloud, brisk E breeze at times, 17C.

An intersting day at the site. When I arrived gravel extraction was still taking place in the new area so I took the canal route to the riverside walk.

The reedbeds and bushes along the river were alive with the more common warblers both adult and juvenile and Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat and a confused Wren or two and a flock of Long Tailed Tits. There are a few breeding pairs of Sedge and Reed along this strtch but nothing like the numbers encountered today, so assuming passage birds mostly. (See pics below taken today)

By the time I arrived at the northern side of the new area work had finished for the day and the promise the area has shown was already reaping the benefits. A slightly washed out Northern Wheatear was already prominent on one of the gravel piles, quickly to be joined by five Yellow Wagtails including a very pale almost white individual. Minutes later three Meadow Pipits landed on the flatter area to the south. By the time I left this area was littered with, mostly more common, smaller birds, well worth a look for anyone passing though.

On the water in this area there was a gradual influx of gulls mostly BHG's but several juvenile Herring/LBBs also. A single Green Sandpiper pottered about.

Out on the mud to the west around 300 Lapwing mixed with around the same number of gulls, again mostly Black Headed Gulls while three Little Egrets in their usual corner completed the day.

Meadow Pipit - Birdguides
Meadow Pipit - BTO
Meadow Pipit - Avibirds
Meadow Pipit - RSPB
Meadow Pipit - Wiki

Pics, click to enlarge.
Sedge Warbler - Manor Farm - 11th Sept 09

Reed Warbler - Manor Farm - 11th Sept 09

Chiffchaff - Manor Farm - 11th Sept 09

Juvenile Reed Warbler (?) - Manor Farm - 11th Sept 09

Manor Farm Sunrise - 11th Sept 09

Pictures taken this morning. Click to enlarge.

Friday 11th Sept - Early AM - Teal

6:00 > 6:30am
Still, mist in the valley, sunrise. Temp 7C

Beautiful morning in the valley, sunrise over low mist (photos later).
Due to that mist nothing to be seen on valley floor but on the Back Pool (south of the farm buildings were three Teal, 22 'wild' Mallard and a lone Green Sandpiper.

Teal - Birdguides
Teal - BTO
Teal - Avibirds
Teal - RSPB
Common Teal - Wiki

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Thurs 10th Sept - Evening - Common Sandpiper

17:45 > 18:00
Sunny, brisk E breeze. 18C

Brief visit.
Water levels now increased in new area, looking very good.
Common Sandpiper along with two Green Sandpipers in the pools and channels here.
Nothing at all on the old wader pool to the west of site which is now gradually drying out, seems the new area 'arrived' just in time, now all it needs is a name.
Hobby over was only other bird of note.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Weds 8th Sept 09 - Evening - Common Redstarts

16:30 > 17:30
Sunny, warm, fresh NE breeze. 20C

The water level was lowered slightly by an inch or two in the new area to aid working but the area was still filling up with birds, mostly gulls, almost exclusively BHG's, after work for the day had finished. The Green Sandpiper pair were also back in the pools here. Parties of Pied Wagtails and Goldfinches also flitted about the gravel attracting the attention of a passing Sparrowhawk and not to be outdone a Kestrel soon followed in, both failed to catch anything.

Out on the mud a lone Little Egret rested, whilst on the water itself yesterdays Shoveler pair remained.

Along Back Brook a juvenile Kingfisher was a pleasant suprise. Kingfishers were numerous in this area not so long ago, a daily tick, but this is the first i've seen in a while.

And just when i'm thinking all the action is confined to the waterside areas the highlight is on top of the hill. A pair of Common Redstarts, a male and female, along the ridge path leading from the farm buildings to the canal. The male was still in pristine plumage and quite active while the female just took and odd dart between path, fencing and bushes. A first for the site for me.

Common Redstart - Birdguides
Common Redstart - BTO
Common Redstart - Avibirds
Common Redstart - RSPB
Common Redstart - Wiki

Manor Farm to hit jackpot again?

How the same area looked one year ago.
Per Chris G to NBBR

Nothing that important to report birdwise at Manor Farm (Old Wolverton) but big changes afoot re the landscape and the possibility of a new hotspot in this ever changing valley.

Over the last week or so the deep pit at the north end of what was the original wader area ( for the locals that’s the flats due east of Godwit Corner) has gradually had its gravel top drawn back towards Back Brook.

This has left a series of low pools, scrapes and shallows. Initially they were pumping water out of this area to work but yesterday afternoon water was allowed back in and it really looks like it could be the most interesting area yet.

The good thing for some of you about this area is that its totally viewable/scopable from the path behind the farm buildings, so not so much of a trek, and near a parking area (provided main gate is open).

Whilst work is still carried out, and at a guess I’d say maybe only a week at most left in this area, birds are staying clear though the Green Sandpipers amongst others are straight in, in the evenings.

If anyone else happens to be passing I’d be interested to hear their views.

Tues 8th Sept 09 - Afternoon - Shoveler

Shoveler - Manor Farm - Spring 09
17:00 > 17:30
Warm, humid, sun, broken cloud, strong SW wind at times.

Good news, the newly cleared area has had water pumped back in to leave many pools and channels, lots a hotspot in the making.
Two Green Sandpipers already in the area but as work just finished many other birds avoiding, probably best last thing at night or early morning although there looks to be only a few days work left before the earth movers move on.
Out on the mud a handful of Black Headed Gulls were joined by three Lesser Black Backed Gulls and a Herring Gull while on the clay islands a single Common Gull roosted.
Out on the water a pair of Shoveler were a new addition.
Thirty Lapwing and a single Little Egret completed the visit.

On the butterfly front, in the warm sunshine a last few Painted Ladies flitted about.

Shoveler - Birdguides
Shoveler - BTO
Northern Shoveler - Avibirds
Northern Shoveler - Wiki
Shoveler - RSPB

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Mon 7th Sept 09 - Afternoon - Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail - Manor Farm - Spring 09
3:30 > 4:30
Sunny periods, warm.

Still quiet on the whole at Manor Farm, hopefully the calm before the storm.
Work continues on the new area east of Godwit Corner (see post below) but the heavy plant deters any bird from entering this area during the day.
Out on the mud the most noticable bird was the 200+ Lapwing sleeping the afternoon away. These were joined by around thirty Black Headed Gulls and a single Lesser Black Backed Gull. A single Little Egret was also present.
On the bird of prey front a Common Buzzard was high over while the Kestrel still tries in vain to catch the increasing Goldfinch 'charms'.
Migration wise a sizable flock of seventy or more Housemartin passed through and an odd Sandmartin was still about.
The highlight of the day though was a party of three Yellow Wagtails passing through heading due south, hopefully the vanguard of better to come.

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

Friday, 4 September 2009

Fri 4th Sept - Afternoon - Hobby

2:00 > 3:00pm
Cloudy, brisk cool westerly wind.

First visit in over a week and things are changing once more re the landscape. In the area that was once the original 'wader pit', the area to right of Godwit Corner is having the gravel gradually drawn back southwards from what was the deep pit at the rear. This is leaving a series of flooded channels and pools that could be attrative to migrants once migrations get in full swing. Watch this space.

On the bird front, apart from a handful of Lapwing dotted about the only wader seen was a Green Sandpiper on the solitary pool south of farm buildings.
Down in the workings themselves the usual collections of gulls, almost all BHG's were sent skywards after the low fast swoop of a passing Hobby leaving three Little Egrets unflustered on the mud.

Hobby - Birdguides
Hobby - BTO
Hobby - RSPB
Eurasian Hobby - Wiki
Hobby - Avibirds