Thursday, 30 September 2010

Thursday 30th September 2010 - Evening

17:30 > 18:30
14C Sun then thickening cloud, calm.

A perimeter walk and the notable bird once again was Little Egret with numbers up to 14 birds at least on arrival with small groups heading off East over the next hour or so i'm wondering if there is an even higher peak number earlier. Weather permitting i'll take a look mid-afternoon tomorrow.

The usual two Greens and one Common Sandpiper were still on site as was a single juvenile Kingfisher battering the life out of a tiddler on one of the fishing platforms along the Ouse.

Migrants still head south with a group of 20 or so House Martins tracking the canal to sunnier climes (no not Brentford) while the first winter thrushes were seen with two Redwing, eight days earlier than last years first birds, and a rather shabby Fieldfare over.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wednesday 29th September 2010 - Evening

18:00 > 18:30
11c Rain and lots of it.

Walking home from work I was already soaked before I passed the entrance to the Farm so thought I'd take a short detour across the Ridge and back up the canal towpath, after all I couldn't get any wetter. Gulls were the order of the day on arrival with around 300, on the whole Black Headed Gulls, out at the waters edge. However something spooked them skywards and off to roost leaving an incredible 11, yes eleven, Little Egrets feeding in the margins. That number was probably higher as there are usually a couple at least in the inlet too at the moment. Certainly a record for the site.

There was me pontificating on Saturday (see below) about it being a little bit of southern France in North Bucks well today was more like a wet January weekend in Morecombe but all the same one impressive sight. I'm guessing this is some kind of pre-roost of birds before they head off to Linford for the night.

A big influx of wildfowl too, though how wild the 50 strong Mallard flock is debatable but nine Teal added a bit of spice. Apart from that the only other birds of note were two Green Sandpipers and a very lonesome Lapwing.

The heavy rain was refilling some of the higher pools so the site may be worth a look or two in the coming days.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Saturday 25th September 2010 - Evening

18:00 > 10:30
12c sunny, odd cloud NE breeze.

Out on Gannet watch (its a long story) I decided an hour or so at the height of the Ridge given its vista might be as good a place as any locally. Entering the site by the Haversham end I was greeted by a family playing P├ętanque near the car park. It was almost an omen as out on the water a party of seven Little Egrets fed together bar the odd squabble in the evening sun giving the area a hint of the Carmargue (i'm not convincing you am I?) rather than North Bucks. The wafting smell of BBQ's at Cosgrove Park dispelled the myth but I can dream. Alongside the record number of Egrets ten Grey Heron were also dotted about. The attraction i'm not sure but all the same an impressive site. Would I swap all that for a single flyover Gannet, probably not.

Also on site in the pool on the newly worked area was a single Yellow Legged Gull alongside a dozen or so Black Headers. A lone Cormorant sat at the waters edge while a pair of Green Sandpipers and a single Common Sandpiper could be found in the shallows along with around 30 Lapwing dozing here and there.

Still a few passage Swallow and House Martin drifting through especially along the Ouse whilst up on the hill a flighty group of 13 Meadow Pipits could be found.

But still no Gannets...

Friday, 24 September 2010

Friday 24th September 2010

14:00 > 16:00

Cool cloudy day with a strong NW wind at times. 9c

A lingering walk around the perimeter of the site saw th following: Parties of migrating Swallows, House Martins and the odd Sand Martin passing through. Two Common Buzzards. Three Green Sandpipers. Two Little Egrets. Four Cormorant. One Common Sandpiper. Two Meadow Pipits. Twelve Lapwing. Two Sparrowhawks. One Grey Wagtail. One Kingfisher. Two Green Woodpecker. One Greater Spotted Woodpecker. Two Reed Buntings and flocks of around 250 Starling and 80 Goldfinch.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Thursday 23rd September

17:30 > 18:00

17c, broken cloud, humid.

This is starting to sound very monotonous but singles of Common Sandpiper, Little Egret and Green Sandpiper were the only birds of note.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tuesday 21st September 2010

17:15 > 17:45

14c, cloud, calm

A slight rise in temperature sees an odd Dragonfly still flitting about whilst a handful of Pied Wagtails dotted about always signifies (to me anyway) that better things might soon be on their way. At the moment though just a smatter of Lapwing, Little Egret and Common Sandpiper of note. Down along the Ouse still good numbers of Swallow and House Martin passing through.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Monday 20th September 2010

17:30 > 18:00

14c, cloud, calm

The site is still on whole quiet (and doesn't look like changing much soon) with just singles of Common Sandpiper, Little Egret and Green Sandpiper of note.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Friday 17th September 2010

12:00 > 12:30

Cloud, breezy, 13c

A brief visit but alas no signs of the 'Wags & Pips' of earlier (see below). In fact not a lot at all, just a lone Common Sandpiper of note. On the ploughed field over the Ouse at the western end it looks like the Common Pheasants have had a good summer with at least three different family groups along the edges.

Friday 17th September 2010

6:30 > 7:00

Cloud, calm and a cool 6C

An early morning visit and certainly a feeling that Autumn is around the corner. An early morning fall of around 30 or Pipits and Wagtails had in amongst the Pieds a handful of Meadow Pipits and two Yellow Wagtails. In the margins the usual Common and Green Sandpipers whislst flying low through a party of five Little Egrets together was an impressive site. Other flyovers of note was a flock of circa 150 Lapwing.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Thursday 16th September 2010

16:00 > 17:00

15c Sunny, odd cloud NW wind

Pretty much the usual suspects in two Green Sandpipers a Common Sandpiper and around 30 Lapwing along the waters edge. Away from the water two Cormorants and a Sparrowhawk over were the other birds of note, and perhaps not a rarity but a couple of Jays brightened the evening on leaving.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Wednesday 15th September 2010

17:15 > 17:30

14c, spitting rain, cloud.

After getting soaked in yesterdays deluge (see below) I thought discretion the better part of valour so headed off when the rain started but the site appeared quiet with just a quick glance of a single Common Sandpiper.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tuesday 14th September 2010

17:15 > 17:45

15C Cloud, rain then heavy rain, westerly wind.

A visit during heavy rain to get more evidence on the identity of the 'mystery bat' (see below) also netted a single juvenile Kingfisher, 50 Lapwing and singles of Green and Common Sandpiper.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday 10th September 2010

14:00 > 15:30

22c Cloud, humid, SW wind.

In amongst the Canadian flock is a Greylag Goose family group, a single adult and three juveniles, two pale but one almost completely white in plumage bar some dark neck flecking, a strange looking bird. Briefly out on the mud was a party of three Meadow Pipits while out on the water the resident Common and Green Sandpipers can still be found. Along the Ouse two Kingfishers were seen together towards the western end. Also found hanging from a tree a 'dead bat' near the what was in our youth 'Pebble Beach'. More of the bat saga later.

Friday 10th September 2010

6:45 > 7:15

An early morning bright sunny visit and changes taking place. New birds in a pair of Common Snipe and briefly a Greenshank before it was mobbed off by a handful of Black Headed Gulls of which there are around 500 on site. Other birds of note, around 80 Lapwing and a lone Common Sandpiper.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Thursday 9th September 2010

17:30 > 18:00

18c cloud, building NNW breeze.

A quick walk along the Ouse garnered the usuals of Common and Green Sandpiper whilst a Kingfisher along the river itself makes in my estimation at least four birds now along this stretch.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Wednesday 8th September 2010

17:30 > 18:00

17c Cloud, calm.

No Redstart sighted but apart from that not much change from yesterday with singles of Common Sandpiper and Little Egret out on the water and a Green Sandpiper in one of the pools of Back Brook. Noticable was the number of Canada Geese crammed into the Inlet, around 200 birds making it a little enclave of Canadia itself.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Tuesday 7th September 2010

17:00 > 17:3
18c Cloud, calm.

A brief visit and the female Common Redstart can still be found in its usual clump of bushes for its 12th day at least. Others of note were all wading birds, singles of Little Egret, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and circa 70 Lapwing.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sunday 5th September 2010

A quick morning call to work left me with an hour of so to kill before I headed off for rugby, so I took a binless walk along the Ridge, canal towpath then riverside walk to the station a a nice warm sunny morning. Without having to try and see everything that moves as per usual it was a relaxing way to kill an time and appreicate what a gem the area is, tending to not see the wood for the trees most of the time. From the industrail landscape of the Grand Union Canal to the sound and sights of the Ouse to the panorama view from the Ridge with (on a clear day) Buckingham far off in the distance to your left though the woods around Whittlebury, Cosgrove Church, Hanslope Spire and Park then the outskirts of Salcey Forest to your right and all in between. A real English country vista I'm sure most of us overlook.
**One thing I did note was the Ouse is being kept low by pumping up of water at the Iron Trunk into the canal. Little danger of flooding at present and it seems somewhat of a waste in power as the water rejoins the river system at the overflow into Bradwell Brook a mile or so, as the crow flies, to the east by the new Aquaduct.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Saturday 4th September 2010

17C Odd cloud but otherwise sunny calm day, warm, SE wind building later.
10:00 > 14:00

Second visit of the day and a pleasant few hours spent covering all areas in the valey.

The highlight was a first for the site and a lifer for me in a Hawfinch.
Scanning the water for waders something 'not quite right' came into my view on my left flying along Back Brook at willow height. Flying quite direct and fast it finally came into the open for the last fifty yards or so before hitting the bank of older taller trees above Godwit Corner. Stocky, and large for a finch, burnt orange in colour and with a gleaming platinum beak it could only be one thing even though i'd never seem one before in my life. Luckily I refound it seconds later up high in the canopy for another few glimpses at rest to confirm ID of Hawfinch. It may still be there but I spent a fruitless three quarters of an hour trying to relocate.

Also on site the Common Redstart still remains up on the Ridge a week since it was first sighted. Down on the water a single Green Sandpiper and a dozen Lapwing represented the waders whilst a single female Shoveler and a pair of Teal were of note. The odd behaviour of the day came from the flock of 30 or so Canada Geese doing an odd mock chase then completely submerging themselves under the water for a few seconds. Never noticed anything of the kind before but then 'Cango's' are not birds I've taken too much interest in.

Along the Ouse two family groups of Mute Swans with two and five signets respectively and over the bridge amongst the Hops growing wild more Speckled Wood butterflies than you could shake a stick at alongside a passing Red Admiral or two.

As for birds of prey a lone high Hobby and a Sparrowhawk in vain trying to disrupt the House Martins over the river were sighted, unfortunately though death stalks the valley as one of the Common Buzzards was lying dead under a hedgerow.

Saturday 4th September 2010

6:00 > 6:15

A cool 6C and thick fog.

A quick look in but the fog beat me to it. However someone could be heard shooting in the area. Given the fog the sound could be carrying in any direction but with an echo bouncing back off the farm buildings it could not have been too far away. The sporadic shots suggested it was not coming from the clay pigeon shoot, where indeed they too would not be able to see. Its a bit disconcerting though knowing theres someone out there with a gun when you cannot see more than 20 yards. I decided on safety and a return when the sun had burnt the mist off later in the morning.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday 3rd September 2010 - Evening

17:45 > 19:0
21C Sun, calm.
A longer linger around the site. The Common Redstart still remain, now on its 7th day at least.

Highlights though were groups of Arctic Terns and Northern Wheatears. Looking from the riverside back over the site towards the gravel banking at the end of central field a flash of white caught the eye. Homing in it was a Northern Wheatear and on closer look one of a pair. Close by a third bird was found. Thinking back its the first time theres been this number on site since the 'golden era' of spring last year.
Better was to follow. A group of six Terns were spotted drifting in from the west. At first I thought they must be Commons but when five of the group landed it was clear that (some at least) were not. Three were juveniles and the two on the nearside of the group that landed clearly had black descending much lower than the eyeline. The viewable older bird was a more uniformly grey and than a Common at this time of year and as far as I could see no discernable black top to the bill. The two farside birds, a further juvenile and an adult, could not be 100% ID'd but given the arrival and continued proximity to the three other birds I toook them too to be Arctic Terns. The sixth bird remained airborne for the five minutes or so that the birds were on site. It made a couple attempts at fishing and just as I was getting the news out via text, after been mobbed by a handful of Gulls (the Terns not me) it was joined by the other five all heading off easterly towards Linford along the valley.

Also on site pairs of both Little Egret and Green Sandpiper and a single lingering Sand Martin.
On leaving the Bats were already out around the farm buildings.
**I was to see Bats in three further places on my way home round the Galleon and along Trinity Road in Old Wolverton then at the top of Jersey Road in the centre of Wolverton itself. Its been a few years since I can remember seeing them in so many places.**

Friday 3rd September 2010 - Afternoon

14:15 > 14:45

23C Sun with an odd cloud drifting through, calm.

Brief visit and not a lot about. Just a single Green Sandpiper and 14 Lapwing out on the water.
Meanwhile the Common Redstart remains in the same clump of bushes up on the Ridge.

Friday 3rd September 2010 - Early Morning

6:45 > 7:00
7c Thickening fog, calm.

A hope rather than expectation visit this morning as visibility was down to 20 yards and even thicker above the water in the valley bottom. Lots of hazy white dots across the top field suggest a multitude of gulls about but not much else visible. Will look again later today.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Thursday 2nd September 2010 - Evening

Tonight along the Ridge
18:00 >19:30
Warm sun, 20c at start.

A Common Redstart yet again along the Ridge at Manor Farm this evening, again a female and for a time in exactly the same bush as last weekends bird, coincidence? This however looked a much smarter clean cut individual but could be Paul M and Rob N's 'second' bird. (See Saturday below) If so now on site for the sixth day.

Also as I was leaving as darkness fell a rather scruffy female Whinchat on the barbed wire fence running south to north down the hill from the farm building.

A lone Green Sandpiper and a pair of Common Terns getting what for from a pack of Jackdaws and a Little Egret over were the only other real birds of interest. Compared with recent days there has also been quite an influx of Lesser Black Backed Gulls on site probably now making up around 40% of the hundred or so gulls on site. Three Lapwing also put in an appearance as did a loud Green Woodpecker, maybe common birds but looking all the better in the evening sun.

And on the butterfly front a single Common Blue and a couple of Small Whites were seen along the approach road while an odd dragonfly still darted about. Plenty of life in this summer yet yet a combine harvester cutting the wheat to the far east of the site shows that a change is not that far off.

Thursday 2nd September 2010 - Early Morning

This morning - Top Field
6:45 > 7:00
Sun, pockets of mist burning off in the valley, calm. 6c

A brief walkthrough on a bright sunny morning. A couple of hundred gulls (on the whole Black headers) dotted about and the first time the 'winter' flock was noted in the top field. Nothing else really of note but a single Green Sandpiper. Overhead a flock of around 70 Lapwing headed west. And thats your lot!