Monday, 5 December 2011

Monday 5th December 2011 - Afternoon

Green Sandpiper

14:00 > 15:00
Overcast, cool NW wind.

A first visit for a few weeks, well with anything of note to report here. On the whole quiet and the major change in the landscaping sees the main area now extended as one with the area to the east that has been worked over the last year. The valley still needs a flood though to make it of any interest it seems.

Not too much to report, a group of three Green Sandpipers and a couple of Common Snipe being the highlight. Passage Common Buzzard and Little Egret the only other birds of note.

Plenty of winter thrushes along the hedgrerows whilst a charm of Goldfinches probably a couple of hundred birds strong flits about. Out on the stubble of what were the extensive thistle and scrub area around 70 Lapwing pick about.

And yes I know this was last updated in July but watch this space, i've four months of records to upload in the coming days.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Thursday 29th September 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:00
Sunny, very warm, calm, 26c

The heatwave continues and whilst birdwise it was once again very quiet, yes yet again just a Little Egret to report, but it looked once more like an ideal evening for ballooning. 

No drama tonight (see post a couple of weeks back) but the action was left to those flying radio controlled planes over at Cosgrove. Whether the ‘pilot’ was trying to be clever in buzzing birds over the site or he lost control I must say I let out a little cheer when the plane nosenived head first at speed down into the mud. He wont get much change out of that!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Wednesday 28th September 2011 – Evening


17:15 > 18:00
Sunny, very warm, SW breeze, 25c

A mini heatwave and noticeable were a late dragonflies making the most of this last flourish of summer.

Birdwise not too much to report bar two families, the first a group of Jays squabbling with a couple of Magpies the second and eight strong brood of Common Pheasant in varying plumage strutting about in the scrub till a Common Buzzard in a low sortie over send them all to ground.
Bar that just a Little Egret worth recording.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tuesday 27th September 2011 – Evening


17:00 > 18:30
Sunny, warm, 22c

At last something to report in a female Whinchat observed for 20 minutes or so along the scrubby vegetation along the south bank. Only the second record for me on site.

Also observed the usual Little Egret and the semi usual Little Owl.

Also of note up on the top field on leaving a falconer with a largish bird of prey, buzzardish in size but I couldn’t ID.

And a mystery, in my notes I’ve written ‘Chin x 2’ and I’ve not a clue what I meant. I’ll give it some thought but I’m pretty sure its not about anyone putting on weight…

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wednesday 21st September 2011 – Evening


17:00 > 17:30
Broken cloud, strong westerly wind, 16c

Strong wind hampering everything it seems, just a female Sparrowhawk breezing through of note.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday 19th September 2011 – Evening


18:00 > 19:30
Broken cloud, westerly breeze, 16c

An evening perimeter walk and for once something to report in five Northern Wheatear out on the new workings at dusk.

Elsewhere a swooping Hobby acoss the the thistle and teasles put the spooks up an increasingly large Goldfinch charm.

Only other birds of note, two Little Egrets.

On leaving, after totally misjudging the light, bats seen around the farm cottages area including at least one larger individual which may have been a Noctule (though don’t quote me on that).

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Thursday 15th September 2011 – Evening


17:15 > 18:00
Sun, warm, calm 19c

The site as quiet as it’s ever been with just a lone Little Egret of note.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Wednesday 14th September 2011 – Evening


17:15 > 18:00
Dull, calm, 17c

Not too much to report (as seems per usual lately), indeed I spent a good ten minutes watching a Common Pheasant family picking its way along the hedgerows such was the excitement. A Cormorant is on the spit for a second day as is a lone Little Egret. The resident Tufty Club has increased in size and is now in double figures with four new birds joining the local six.

And another change to the site in the stone wall being gradually rebuilt that runs down to Godwit Corner from the farm buildings. Seems things are happening apace, all we need now are the birds.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Tuesday 13th September 2011 – Evening


17:45 > 18:30
Sunny, W wind, 16c

Still a stiff breeze but nowhere near as bad as yesterday. Noticeable today the number of House and Sand Martins heading through. 

Not too much else to report bar a lone Little Egret and the first Cormorant on the spit in a while but a thousand or so Gulls following the plough on the hill slope that leads up to Castlethorpe gave it a real Autumnal feel to the evening.  

As for the site itself it’s good to see all the vegetation cut back along the banking along the south shore leaving patches of shingle and bare earth. Birds such as Ring Ouzel, Wheatear and the various Wagtails and Pipits have favoured this area in the last few years, here’s hoping.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Monday 12th September 2011 – Evening


17:45 > Not long!
Windy, very, very windy! Cloud. 17c

With the tail end of Hurricane Katia (or whoever) battering the UK the alert was on for North American strays but nothing at Manor Farm, or indeed in the area as a whole. Given the strength of the wind though I’d be lying low once I hit landfall. A ten minute battering on a hill was enough for me before I headed home never mind just having flown the Atlantic.

Cowering on the shoreline a lone Green Sandpiper and two Little Egret.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Friday 9th September 2011 – Afternoon


13:45 > 15:00
Broken cloud, humid, S breeze, 21c

A perimeter walk on a humid sticky afternoon but after finding a White Wagtail in the Wagtail flock on Top Field not much else to report a single Little Egret and five Lapwing.

Friday 9th September 2011 – Morning


07:15 > 07:45
Dull, damp SW breeze, 14c

First morning visit in a long, long while and nothing too much to report, circa 350 Lapwing over on arrival promised much but just singles of Green Sandpiper, Little Egret and Common Buzzard of note

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Thursday 8th September 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:00
Cloud, sunny break, W breeze, 18c

A very quiet site bar around 70 Canada Geese in residence, a lone Little Egret looked on.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tuesday 6th September 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:30
Cloud,  strong W wind, 14c

Still a good gathering of Wagtails on the Top Field but just Pieds seen this evening. 

Down in the valley four Little Egret in the margins. 

Most noticeable thing this evening though is an increasing bank of Puffball Mushrooms by the farmhouse. Foragers of the human variety may be a dying breed nowadays  given the amount of free fruit still hanging on trees, I wonder how long before someone else notices and harvests these.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Monday 5th September 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:30
Cloudy, W wind, 14c

Whilst the hunt is on elsewhere for the North Bucks Great White Egret just four of its smaller cousin (Little Egret) at Manor Farm this evening  along with two Green Sandpiper a Kingfisher down the Ouse and a Buzzard and Kestrel over.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Friday 2nd September 2011 – Afternoon


14:00 > 14:15
Sunny, warm, W breeze, 25c

A glorious day but no time to stop, just 4 Little Egret, 8 Lapwing and a Common Buzzard over seen.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wednesday 31st August 2011 – Evening


18;00 > 19:00
Broken cloud, calm, 17c.

As August disappears at last something to report in a pair of Common Redstart along the Ridge Path heading for the canal. One a definite female the other possibly but could have been a juvenile. Again the same area of the site that’s seen birds for three, possibly four, years now.

Down on the water and its surrounds a pair of Pochard has joined the handful of Mallard and the remaining six of the Tufted Duck family that bred on site this year. In the margins a lone Green Sandpiper and four Little Egret.

The drama tonight was manmade though. A good calm night for ballooning obviously with three in the air but the one over Manor Farm that was rapidly losing height at a rate of knots almost came a cropper in the trees around Broadwater just over the Ouse, instead it had to ditch with all hands just short of the riverbank. With all the gates locked till morning for traffic, he might well still be there.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Saturday 27th August 2011 – Afternoon


14:30 > 15:30
Heavy rain, cloud, then hale and a cold 12c.

Fooled by the initial sun, I took the wrong option in taking a detour home through the Ouse Valley as the heavens opened on a couple of occasions on a wet blustery day.

A handful of Yellow Wagtail still remain in Top Field whilst on the farmhouse wall a Little Owl looked on. 

Down in and around the water around 50 Lapwing a Green Sandpiper and two Little Egrets got some respite while a Kingfisher darted along the Ouse.

To the eastern end of the site and adult Common Buzzard was seen with a juvenile so possibly another breeding success at Manor Farm as birds are always seen in this area.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thursday 25th August 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 17:45
Sun, broken cloud, W breeze, 17c.

Another quickie.  Still at least six Yellow Wagtails in the Top Field amongst the sheep. 

Down below just four Little Egret and three Green Sandpipers.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday 24th August 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:00
Sun, broken cloud, W wind, 20c.

Again the Top Field comes up trumps with around a dozen Yellow Wagtails in amongst the same number of Pieds. These appear to be newly arrived birds as the breeders from the valley below have not been seen for a week or two now.

Down in the valley just two Lapwing and a pair of Little Egret of note.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tuesday 23rd August 2011 – Evening


18:30 > 19:00
Dull, damp, calm and a very cool 14c.

Two Little Egrets down on the main part of the site but the highlights were on Top Field where a pristine male almost Greenland type Northern Wheatear could be found amongst the wagtail flock.

On Top Pool two Green Sandpipers picked around in what is now no more than a glorified puddle.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Monday 22nd August 2011 – Evening


17:15 > 17:30
Sun, broken cloud, calm, 22c

Another quick visit which there seems to be all to many of late noted just triples of Green Sandpiper and Little Egret.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Friday 19th August 2011 – Afternoon


13:45 > 15:00
Sun, broken cloud, SW breeze, 20c

A walk around the perimeter and the first pair of real returnees on their journey south in two separate Northern Wheatears, a male and a washed out female or juvenile, out on the hills and hollows of the new workings.

Apart from that the usual fare in four Common Tern, three Little Egret and singles of Green Sandpiper and Little Owl.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tuesday 16th August 2011 – Evening


19:00 > 19:15
Broken cloud, W breeze 18c.

Just four Little Egret of note in a quick walkthrough.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Monday 15th August 2011 – Evening


17:15 > 17:30
Overcast with a W breeze, 20c.

Eight Little Egret the highlight of a quick and rather unproductive visit. Just a lone Green Sandpiper and two Common Buzzards of note elsewhere.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Thursday 11th August 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:00
Cloudy, odd flash of sun, SW wind and a muggy 22c.

Not too much around the water today just four Little Egret and a single Green Sandpiper of note. 

The birds of prey were the point of interest today though. As well as three circling Common Buzzards for the part of Bucks not awash with them a Red Kite was a notable tick. The drama though was left to a divebombing Hobby pestering a hovering Kestrel over his usual patch by the inlet.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Wednesday 10th August 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 17:45
Strong SW wind, broken cloud, 19c

A strong wind seems to have everything in hiding and a quick look in only gained singles of Green Sandpiper and Little Egret whilst nine Common Tern were settled in on the shore.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Tuesday 9th August 2011 – Evening


18:15 > 18:30
Sunny, odd cloud, W wind, 19c

A quickish visit and greeted by a Little Owl sitting on the farmhouse roof. 

Birds of the day though were three Little Ringed Plover that I thought had all but gone. This trio stuck together and were very flighty so I’d hazard a guess at them joining their migrated brethren very soon

Elsewhere singles of Green Sandpiper, Common Tern and Little Egret were the only other birds of note.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Monday 8th August 2011 – Evening


17:00 > 17:30
Cloud, cooler  than of late 16c, NW wind.

Again fairly quiet but a single Common Sandpiper was the first in a while. Two Green Sandpipers also on site. 

A lone Common Tern on one of the spits was kept company by two Little Egret till a Common Buzzard did its usual evening swoop through and sent everything skywards.

A large flock of circa 200 Lapwing descended for a while but then went as quickly as they came leaving just a handful of individuals.

Noticeable on leaving the rising number of Pied Wagtails on the top field south of the farm buildings, especially in the mud of the rapidly decreasing Top Pool.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Friday 5th August 2011 – Afternoon


14:00 > 15:00
Sunny, warm, broken cloud. 24c

Again fairly quiet but a Yellow Wagtail family, parents and four young, were relocated (or it’s a fifth brood) amongst the newly planted trees along the Ouse side banking.

Elsewhere nothing too much of note.  A few more Lapwing have returned as have a round dozen Common Tern and amongst the gulls a first Common Gull of the ‘winter’ put in an appearance. Three Little Egret flitted here and there.

Along Front Brook breeding pairs of Sedge and Reed Warbler still about as was a male Reed Bunting.

Highlight of the day though out in the scrub was a tussle between two Magpies and a Kestrel over lunch. Give the Kes its due, it may have been outnumbered but it stood its ground and won.

Not been a great summer for butterflies but an abundance of Gatekeeper today might be an upturn in fortunes, we hope…

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Thursday 4th August 2011 – Evening


After rain, cloud, sunny spell, 20c.
18:15 > Not very long

A brief visit as on arrival I discovered I’d left my bins in my office again so headed home before the threatening rains returned but not before a single Little Owl was seen gliding down from the small copse at the start of the Ridge to the treeline above Godwit Corner. I’ll try and do better tomorrow…

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Wednesday 3rd August 2011 – Evening


17:30 > 18:00
Hot, sunny, south west breeze, 27c.

A small return to normality after yesterdays disturbance (see post below) though a military helicopter very low over on arrival didn’t help things.

Around 20 or so Lapwings have returned to the margins where they were joined by half a dozen Common Terns. Singles of Oystercatcher and Green Sandpiper were noted but no sign at all of any Little Ringed Plovers, the first blank in a few months.

A single Little Egret was out on the new workings whilst a increasing number of gulls are starting to collect in this area. Around 200 strong mostly Black headed Gulls but a handful of Lesser Black Backed are also present.

Sand Martins are still numerous a sign of a good breeding season in the shingle walls in the inaccessible part of the site.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tuesday 2nd August 2011 – Evening

18:30 > 19:00
Sun, hot, humid, 25c.
The first word in my notes tonight ‘DECIMATION!’ Whilst the extensive mostly thistle beds were a pain for any observer looking over the site they obviously provided good habitat for some species that would otherwise not breed in the area, tonight it one fell swoop it has all but gone.

The lack of cover and probably the disturbance more than anything has had an effect on the birds too with hardly anything around the shorelines just an Oystercatcher, a single Green Sandpiper, nine Common Tern and a group of four flighty Little Ringed Plovers. No sign at all of yesterdays Yellow Wagtails.

Up on the slope the 100 strong, and again very flighty, Lapwing flock looked as if they might be confused as what to do next and with many young amongst them probably not aware what the big wide world held for them outside of the confines of the site. A loose dog made the decision for them and they headed off en bloc north over Cosgrove Park.

Also over four Little Egret to roost.

Time will tell what the clearance of the scrub will do to the site but a big plus is with migration now just a trickle the site does look good for waders again and once things settle down and movement south starts in earnest in the coming weeks things could become interesting once more.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Monday 1st August 2011 – Evening

17:00 > 18:30
Sunny, hot, humid, 27c

A leisurely perimeter walk on a muggy summer evening made somewhat better by the removal of some of the thistle beds along the north shore giving better views along the riverside walk.

Waders represented by a handful of Little Ringed Plovers, a single Common Sandpiper and at least seven Green Sandpipers. The Lapwing flock is now around 100 strong.

A high of 16 Common Tern including three family groups whilst a ‘new’ Yellow Wagtail pair had young along the banks of the Inlet, the fourth brood to my knowledge to breed on site this summer.

Other birds of note, three Little Egret and a hawking Hobby over.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tuesday 26th July 2011 – Evening

17:00 > 17:30
Cloud, calm, 18c.

After two weeks sunning it in around the Etangs of the South of France it was a return to a ‘cool’ cloudy Manor Farm. 

Not too much to report, two Green Sandpipers, including one on the Top Pool being the highlight.

A second Common Tern family has appeared with two young, making nine birds in total on site with five juveniles. Another pair continue to pass with fish so I suspect a third nest with young in the vicinity.

Also with a family in tow a pair of Mistle Thrush south of the Farmhouse.

Elsewhere a growing flock of Lapwing, now up to 35 including many first year birds, a few Little Ringed Plovers still dotted about but clearly declining in number and two Little Egret.

The Canada Geese flock has already started to build in number with around 50 birds up on the slope.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Tues 12th July 2011 - Evening

Back Brook

17:00 > 18:00
18c, sun but cool NW wind at times.

Not so much a bird of the day today but interloper of the week in a rather healthly looking Red Fox ambling along the shoreline on the easterly spit where just a couple of weeks back several Little Ringed Plover young were running about. Luckily they, and the Yellow Wagtails that also nested in the area, are all well capable of flying from danger now but you do have to wonder what else has been on Mr Reynard's menu. The Lapwing were divebombing him (or her) in earnest but the Fox got most grief from a group of five Little Egrets who harassed it off site.

Birdwise still plenty to see a family of five Oystercatcher being the highlight. The young are a fair size and already flying well so its debatle whether they bred at the Farm or not (possibly Stony birds?) though some individuals could be viewed on most days recently at Manor Farm so who knows. Still several Little Ringed Plovers on site and they must still be well into double figures now as I suspect up to four pairs successfully fledged chicks. The only other wader seen was the pristine Green Sandpiper back up on Top Pool.

Seven Common Tern on site including the family of five whose young are getting more adventurous flightwise yet are still kept safe by their over protective parents when anything else gets too close as one of the young Oystercatchers found out to their cost.

Little Owls were seen in two locations, along Back Brook roosting a pollarded willow and on the usual wall at the farm buildings.

And finally the Great Crested Grebe pair who i've seen do nothing but sleep for the last month have finally decided to play their part in the advancement of their race and have built their own little home bang slap in the middle of the main body of water.

Now heading south to the Langudoc so no new posts for a week or so.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Friday 8th July 2011 - Afternoon

The Ouse

14:00 > 15:30
Cloud, odd break of sun, stromg SW wind.

A walk around the site from the farm buildings along the Ouse and out at the Haversham end was again more a visit of hope rather than expectation but a couple of notable sightings were made.

Star of the day was a juvenile Common Cuckoo along Back Brook and given how ungainly it and taking into account the conditions it looked like it was making its first few flights. Heading up from the rough vegatation opposite the 'two spits' at first I thought a bird of prey, possibly a Hobby but as it hung on for dear life in the strong wind in one of the willows there was time to get the bins on it to confirm the ID, the white nape giving the clear sign it was a youngster. In the end it settled on a fence post for a while before dropping back down to where it came. Its an area where there have been a few Common Whitethroat and a couple of Reed Warbler nesting so take your choice at parentage, probably the latter.

The other notable was suprisingly early single Common Snipe up and over and away. Other waders included the ever adventurous Little Ringed Plover youngsters and a smattering of adults and the same could be said of Lapwing. A single Green Sandpiper was also darting about as were three unsettled Little Egrets.

Yellow Wagtails were seen along the shoreline as were the three juvenile Common Terns, not attempting too much given the conditions today. Four adults fished (with little success) as if educating.

Gull numbers are building with over 100 Black Headed Gulls split into two groups on the site. 30 were found clustered together on the shoreling while a further 80 were found on the newly dug areas. A single Lesser Black-backed Gull was the first in a while.

On leaving a Hobby (a real one this time) swooped through the site putting the wind up a Kestrel hovering over the site eyeing up the ever increasing charm of Goldfinches attracted by the multitude of thistle heads blanketing large chunks of the site.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Tuesday 5th July 2011 - Evening

Top Pool

18:00 > 18:30
18c, muggy, then freshening wind and rain, heavy rain!

A quick look in on my way home and before the rains came and ironic that first bird seen was one of last nights dips, a Little Owl heading down the slope to the trees along Back Brook.

The Common Tern family still in situ with the youngters trying an odd flight here and there as were several Little Ringed Plover young. The juvenile Lapwing, and i'd guess they are in double figures dotted about the site, have the flying lessons yet to come and looking at the continued acrobatics of some of the adults perhaps they are thinking of leaving it as late as possible.

Noticable tonight were a couple of dozen Black Headed Gulls, mostly in 'sunplum' plumage but including a small handful of juveniles though certainly they did not breed here.

Other waders present were a single Oystercatcher and two Green Sandpipers, the washed out individual thats been around for a few days now and a much more clean cut summer plumaged bird up on Top Pool.
Two Little Egret were also flitting about the site.

And finally three Yellow Wagtail were seen out in the (initial) evening sun so happily they've not upped and moved on.

Iron Trunk wins the Lottery (well sort of)



Overlooking the site from its lofty perch over the Ouse at the far west end of the site the aqueduct has a planned makover in the offing and last Monday (27th June) won a televised vote for £60,000 of Lottery funding to help it along.

The Bid

And it wins!

And a bit from the Beeb about the planned work...

Monday 4th July 2011 - Evening


18:00 > 1930
Warm, broken cloud, sun.

A leisurely evening walk around the perimeter with my sister (Aloha!) intending to see Kingfishers and Little Owls and dipping on both, a bit of a let down especially on the latter given how confiding they've been lately.

News of the day though is that Common Terns have bred on the site for the first time, a pair of adults with three fledged youngsters in tow.

Also seen tonight, five Little Egret, a couple of Little Ringed Plovers and a single Oystercatcher. The Lapwing families continue to do well also. Still no sign of Yellow Wagtail.

Thursday 30th June 2011


20:45 21:15
Dusk, broken cloud, 16c

After a few days away a late a last chance to see out the month and a late, late look in to see if any of the recent small wader movement had landed at the Farm.

A first returnee of the ever reliable Green Sandpipers din't let me down picking about on the mud on the Top Pool, south of the farm buildings. No sign of Yellow Wagtails tonight so they've ever bred and moved on or it was too late in the evening.

Also a few Little Ringed Plovers along the shoreline making the most of the last light along with the Common Tern pair a lone Little Egret and the various Lapwing families.

On leaving one of the Little Owls was perched on it favourite roost atop the 'roofed' wall.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Friday 24th June 2011 - Afternoon

Leftovers...
14:00 > 16:00
Broken cloud, westerly wind, 20c.

Having not walked the complete perimeter for a few weeks now I took a couple of hours out to do the complete circuit from aquaduct to viaduct and back.

First been seen, or rather heard was a Little Owl, no doubt one of yesterdays pair, in the hedgerow leading down to the water behind the farm.

Waterside I counted nine Little Ringed Plovers of various ages whilst Yellow Wagtials continue to expand their range post breeding with birds seen feeding on the cut grass areas alongside the River Ouse.

Also along the Ouse a pair of Common Tern continue to fish and for any of you photographers wanting close up shots they are hovering aboves pools just a matter of feet away from the path.

And talking of fishing also along the river the first Kingfisher I've seen in a while since the bank and tree clearance in the Kingfisher 'hot spot' of the last few summers. The bird came off the closed off area of the river so maybe one of the pairs nearer the railway is heading west for a bit more peace and quiet.

And in reverse a Treecreeper, a bird that numerous at the western end but all but missing in the east was seen just by the viaduct itself. Also in this area the multitude of Sand Martin coming off the gravel working to hunt and drink along the river.

Others birds of note, a pair of Common Buzzard, the Great Crested Grebe and three Little Egret including one in the river.

Given the weather insect activity has been slow on the uptake this year but a noticable increase in numbers of the commoner butterfly species and dragon and damselfly was noted today.

Last word though goes to a crustacean and a dead one at that. The American Crawdaddy or Signal Crayfish to you and me. I've seen live 'crawdads' further upstream around Stratford and have viewed people trying to catch them to the eastern end of the site, with little success, but the first definite proof i've encountered were the remains found along Back Brook, see pic above.

Whatever had it for lunch seemed to know its business, leaving the sharps bits on the bank while the fleshy body was nowhere to be seen (you'd like to think Otter but who knows). The claws were around an inch or so long on their own so it gives you an idea of the size these pests are getting up to. One down, a few hundred thousand countrywide to go but at least at Manor Farm they seem to have a predator.

And a tip for you. Having left my camera at home on Friday I wrapped the claws in a bag and put them in my rucksack to photograph at home. Not advisable on a warm day. The stink on opening was rich to say the least. Dead shellfish and sun, don't mix...

Wednesday 22nd June 2011 - Evening

An increasing prickly problem...


17:30 > 18:30
Sun after showers, SW wind, 20c.

An evening stroll around the site and still much to see. A third pair of Little Ringed Plover now have young whilst a fourth Lapwing family can also be seen. All viewed from the riverside walk along the Ouse but views from this path are few and far between now as the thistles are growing like wildfire along the area between the river and the main body of water, some up over seven feet already. Whilst no doubt they will atrract butterflies a plenty as they did last year, the views could all but disappear before summer is out on this side.

Still plenty to see from the southern banks though. A pair of Oystercatcher still remain as do the Common Terns but its was herons who stole the show today, alongside what looked like a family party of five Little Egret were nine Grey Heron including a handful of gawky gangly juveniles.

Out on the water Tufted Ducks with chicks and the Great Crested Grebe pair continue to doze with little or no effort to do much else it seems.

Away from the water a Hobby put a late sortee through the site, sending the numerous Sand and House Martins in all directions while up on the slopes a few Yellow Wagtails have started to appear in evenings again.

And finally around the farm building a pair of lively Little Owl could be seen as I headed off home.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Tuesday 14th June 2011 - Evening


17:30 > 18:30
Sunny, warm, SW breeze, 22c.

A midweek visit in hope rather than expectation but suprisingly quite a lot going on at the site.

A pair of Common Redshank are new arrivals but its the 'long stayers' that are the main attraction still. Two Little Ringed Plover families can now be found along the shoreline. One pair with every growing young catching up with their parents while a second have a couple of the 'fluffy golf balls' running about.

Not to be outdone a second Yellow Wagtail family with young looks like being joined by a third as adults were seen taking food into into the vegatation. A combination of the right habitat arriving just as the multitude of Yellowags arrived this year has tempted a few to stay with the desired result.

The two Lapwing broods continue to do well and given the aerial bombardment any visiting crows get I suspect there are other unseen families about the site.

The crows were not the only predators looking for an easy lunch as a female Sparrowhawk flew over an unaccesible part of the site finding itself being mobbed by around one eighty Sand Martins, suggesting there is quite a colony building up following on from the small first time community last year.

Elswhere the Great Crested Grebe pair remain while four Little Egret and three squabbling Oystercatcher were later arrivals. The pair of Common Tern dozed on the end of the spit and look unlikely to be bringing any new life into the world this year.

Common Whitethroat were seen along the thistle banking with food which suggests another breeding success capped a good evenings birding.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Thursday 9th June 2011 - Evening

18:00 > 18:30
Cloud, odd sun break, west breeze and a coolish 16c.

A quick visit and not too much to report re visitors but another breeding success in Little Ringed Plover with two young, the third year in a row the species has bred on site. Not only that but second broods of Lapwing and Yellow Wagtail were also seen whilst our on the water a pair of Canada Geese has six goslings in tow.

Apart from the little breeders though nothing else reallof not bar a lone Little Egret.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Thursday 2nd June 2011 - Evening

17:30 to 18:00
Sunny, warm but with light NE breeze, 22c.

June is definitely here and not just temperature wise as the site slows down for its summer slumber. Not too much to report. The Yellow Wagtail family dip in and out of the vegatation at times whilst a second pair appear more active now (watch this space). The first Lapwing brood appear to have got over the attention of the corvids and all three are now a fair size.

Little Ringed Plovers can still be found on site and a pair of Common Terns continue to hang about as do the displaying pair of Great Created Grebe and a couple of Little Egret.

With water levels going down House Martins are making good use of the wet mud for nesting (the colony in the middle of Wolverton is building up well) with numerous birds dropping in and out, their cousins the Sand Martins continue to mass over the gravel workings and are no doubt busy procreating at an unseen and unaccessible part of the site as they did last year. An odd Swallow or two continue to hunt low over what is left of the meadow while numerous Swift continue north overhead.

A single drake Teal is a new arrival (or very good at hiding) while a pair of Gadwall and half a dozen Tufted Duck can still be found. At least three Mallard broods have been successful with quite a few ducklings already catching up with their parents in size, what a difference from last year when due to a lack of water it was a real struggle.

On leaving one of the Little Owls was flitting about along the Ridge.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Tuesday 31st May 2011 - Evening

Still around...


17:45 > 18:30
Sunny, NW breeze, 17c.

As we say goodbye to May the summer slumber seems to have somewhat already sneaked in given activity today.

Breeding success is again the order of the day with young Pied Wagtail as well as Yellow Wagtail initially seen last week now picking about in the mud along the shorelines. A rather scruffy White Wagtail was seen too, the first in a while but then given what else has been happening it has probably been overlooked.

Elsewhere one of the Lapwing pairs now has three sizable chicks in tow.

Two Great Crested Grebe doing their mating ritual suggests more new life is to come.

The usual Little Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers were present as were three Little Egret and up to six Grey Heron together in a group on 'Knot Pool'. In the small corner copse by the farm itself a Little Owl flitted about and on leaving a single Common Tern flew in.

And that, as they say, is your lot!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Friday 27th May 2011 - Afternoon


14:00 > 15:00
Cloud, sunny spells, cool westerly, 13c.

First visit for a couple of weeks and although not anything too exciting a couple of breeding sucesses new to the site in both Lapwing and Yellow Wagtail with young.

Elswhere the usual Little Ringed Plovers were the only other waders present. The Common Tern pair still remain while half a dozen summer plumaged Black Headed Gulls were in the inlet. Three Little Egret were dotted about the site.

Along the Ouse one of the Mute Swan pairs has half a dozen signets (see pic) in tow while Sedge and Reed Warbler numbers have increased. Reed Buntings were seen taking food into the reedbed at the entrance to Back Brook suggesting successful breeding also.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sun 22nd May 2011 - Little Stint confirmation...

Per NBBR

The LITTLE STINT is still at Manor Farm this evening , thanks to Rob H for finally checking it out.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sat 21st May - Poss Litte Stint per NBBR

From SiNich

Probable LITTLE STINT this evening at Manor Farm this evening - Andy M has emailed me the below, seems pretty good description :-


"I don't know if anyone can help but I have just returned from Manor Farm, Old Wolverton and am pretty sure I've seen a Little Stint on the main island working along the 'shoreline'.

I am a fairly inexperienced birder so any confirmation of this sighting would be much appreciated. I've checked through my Collins guide and it seems consistent on the basis of size (it stood next to a pied wagtail for a bit and the body size was about the same, minus the wagtails tail obviously) and plumage (distinct cream lines down the back form the nape, upper mottled with dark spots and lower clean white - no dark markings as with 'sumplum' Dunlin) also a dark straight bill and dark legs."

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Friday 13th May 2011 - Afternoon



14:00 > 15:30
Cloudy, west breeze, 15c.

Cooler than of late but still something of interest this afternoon at the Farm. The usual Little Ringed Plovers, Lapwings and Oystercatchers while an odd Yellow Wagtail could be seen popping in and out of the vegatation waterside. Elsewhere a single Common Redshank picked about in the shallows.

A lone drake Pochard was a new addition whilst an odd duck family is there in the making. A female Mallard already with ducklings has a drake Tufted Duck in tow. Indeed so enamoured is she of him that when a drake Mallard appeared (and i'm presuming its the father) she gave him what for before returning to her new beau who seems quite settled in his adoptive role.

Bird of the day though was undoubtedly a Hobby, strafing backwards and forwards along the Inlet picking insects off the water, which given they were virtually impossible to see i'm presuming were Mayfly. Ideal position for photography if only the light would play ball, it didn't but still got some record shots, see above and below. (more to follow)



Thursday, 12 May 2011

Thursday 12th May 2011 - Evening


17:30 > 18:30
Sunny, west wind 17c.

For a change a walk along the canal stretch before joining the path along the Ouse.

Pretty much the usual suspects in Little Ringed Plovers, Lapwings, Oystercatchers and Yellow Wagtails along with a couple of Little Egret and the resident Common Terns. A fairly large Swift passage this evening also.

A Lesser Whitethroat along the river was a nice addition, whilst a lone Hobby put in its usual aerial display.

Star of the night though a group of Chaffich who have learnt the art of hanging off a pollarded Willow to pick of Mayfly as they rise off the water, see pic above.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wednesday 11th May 2011 - Evening

17:15 > 17:45
Cloud, SW breeze, 16c.

A quickish evening visit along the South Shore and Slope (try saying that after ten pints!) and apart from a fine 'sumplum' Dunlin not too much to report. The usual suspects in Lapwings, Little Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers still on site as were the resident Common Terns.

Some Yellow Wagtails still remain around the shorelines and a pair feeding together up on the Top Field south of the Farmhouse, where incidentally the Gadwalls could also be found tonight on the pond.On leaving a single Little Owl was seen flying along Back Brook.

As for the site itself groundwork has already started on the last large part of flood meadow to the north east of the site, the riverside field is bordered by the Ouse and Front Brook that contains the bridge over to Castlethorpe. Yet another area to watch...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tuesday 10th May 2011 - Evening

18:00 > 19:00
Cloud, westerly breeze, 16c

Mayfly were rising along the Ouse but not in the numbers seen last year whilst overall another quiet day at the site. A lone Common Redshank along the south shores was a newcomer and along a Common Sandpiper and the usual Little Ringed Plovers, Oystercathers & Lapwings made up the wader contingent. Two Little Egrets were on site and as happened last summer there has been a gradual build up of Grey Heron in the area with at least six present tonight. A record number of nine Mute Swans were also in the inlet.

Two Common Tern, and i'm guessing now its the same pair, were again resting on the spit inbetween hunting forays along the Ouse. Along the Ouse itself both Reed and Sedge Warbler could be heard.

Back on the main body of water the first Great Crested Grebe in a while while the odd Yellow Wagtail was still noted around the islands as were a handful of Linnets, the remainder of the large flocks of a month or so ago.

And finally on leaving I got to hear a few short bursts from the male Tree Sparrow in lower Central Field. I'm not a lister by any means but another nice 'tick' for me at the site.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Monday 9th May per NBBR

From SiNich

A lovely evening at Manor Farm once again produced a quality wader , unfortunately its stay was brief ! As I never managed to relocate the GREY PLOVER after initially seeing it on the Southern Shore (viewed from the river footpath )


Also present were a Common Sandpiper , 3 LRP , 15+ Yellow Wagtails , 4 Sedge Warblers , 10 Swift , 100+ Sand Martin , 2 Common Tern , 3 Whitethroat , 1 Reed Warbler , 4 Lapwing, 1 CUCKOO and 1 Willow Warbler

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Thurday 5th May 2011 per Bucksbirders

From Simon G

Got to the site at about 6:20 and had a good wander round. Still didn't

catch up with the Wood Sandpiper, but saw:

Good numbers of Lapwing and LRP
2 Oystercatchers
1 Greenshank
6 Common Tern (2 on reserve, others fishing over canal and campsite lake)
1 Yellow Wagtail
2 Cuckoo (heard)
Also a bonus pair of Greenfinch and pair of Bullfinch seen by the canal

All in all a good morning, if not quite the wader-fest I was hoping for!

Thursday 5th May 2011 - Evening

Broken cloud, sunny spells, west breeze, 17c.
17:30 > 18:30
A case of after the Lord Mayors show after yesterdays waderfest (see below) but still the odd bird of note.

A lone Greenshank, possibly yesterdays bird, was the highlight waderwise with a Common Sandpiper, the usual Lapwings and Little Ringed Plovers and four Oystercatchers making up the numbers.

A handful of Yellow Wagtails can still be found popping out of the vegatation along the shoreline whilst two Common Tern, the Herring Gull pair and a group of five Lesser Black Backed Gulls over were also of note. Out on the water the ten strong Tufted Duck flock look like they might be settled in for the summer while restless Gadwall pair still remain.

Along the riverside, both Greater Spotted and Green Woodpecker were noted as were Treecreepers. The stars of the day though were two male Common Pheasant going hell for leather at each other at the waters edge in the inlets, even at times ending up in the drink. She must have worth it!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Wednesday 4th May 2011 - Evening


17:30 > 19:00
Sun, warm, 16c

I've been walking this site for a few years now, way before the digging even started but tonight for an hour and a half it was as good as its ever been or indeed ever likely too.

Alerted earlier in the day that two Bar Tailed Godwits were on site, and later a lone Greenshank, I headed down to the Farm after work. In the first bay at the end of Central Field was the Wood Sandpiper that has been on site since the weekend and nearby the Greenshank picked about in the shallows.

A call from Simon N that the Barwits were in the inlet and I headed off noting two Common Sandpiper and a single Green Sandpiper in the bay to the south west end. The Barwits were as Simon described, stunning and well viewable from the Riverside Walk (alas they flew east at 7:00pm). Also along the inlet four Oystercatcher, increasing to five by the time I left.

Little Ringed Plovers were everywhere, one very probable (and there may be more) Ringed Plover was amongst them. Just as I was leaving 'sumplum' Dunlin was found in the south west bay.

Including the usual Lapwings that makes ten species of wader at the Farm tonight and at a sight where not so long ago your heart would skip a beat if you saw a lone Lapwing fly over.

Away from the waders, five Little Egret were seen, including two over heading to roost whilst a handful of Yellow Wagtail can still be found dotted about the islands.

And finally to cap it all the first Swifts i've seen at the site this year darted across the fields as I wandered off after a somewhat surreal hour or so.

Wednesday 4th May 2011 per Bucksbirders

From Simon G

Didn't connect with the Wood Sand, but saw:

at least 4 LRP and 3 Little Egret
2 Oystercatcher
2 Bar-Tailed Godwit

Lots of swallows, House and Sand Martins (my first sand of the year!)

Lots of House Martins coming down to the ground to collect mud for nesting.

Will aim for an early morning visit next time to avoid the heat haze on the
scope!

Wednesday 4th May 2011 per NBBR

From Chris G

And the Wood Sandpiper still at Manor Farm, Old Wolverton this morning at 6:30

Monday, 2 May 2011

Monday 2nd May 2011 per Si Nich

After a disappointing morning , we decided to head to Manor Farm , a Male Bullfinch greeted us at the car park and a Little Owl was calling from the pollarded willows. After scanning the first areas of open water and turning up a few LRP's , we mov through to the 2nd field along and scanned the spit - WOOD SANDPIPER ! all the previous 2 hours agony was washed away ! Cracking bird in full summer plumage. Also on the pits were a further 4 LRP's ( must be up to 6 on the site ) 1 Common Sandpiper , 5+ Lapwings and 2 Common Terns


Whilst walking back we came across a fantastic singing TREE SPARROW , which is probably rarer in North Bucks then Wood Sand !

Monday 2nd May 2011 per NBBR

From Bob F

Wood Sandpiper still at manor farm along with 2 common sand and lrp

And from Peter A

The Wood Sandpiper & Greenshank were still at Manor Farm just after 5.00pm

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Saturday 30th April 2011 - Evening per NBBR

Still on site...


From Chris C
MF a tranquil evening spot among the lambs in contrast with bank holiday
mayhem just across the river.

The Blue-headed wagtail (Channel Wagtail - Chris G) still present with at least 6 'flavissima'. Also
2 - 3 LRP (one poss Ringed), 3 Green sand which flew off N, 1 Common sand,
1 sumplum Dunlin, 3 Lapwing. Plenty of Swallows and distant martins, prob Sand.

Saturday 30th April 2011 - Afternoon

Still about...

13:00 > 16:30
Warm, sunny, strong NNE wind, 18c.

Not intending to visit the Farm today but the of a 'sumplum' Dunlin found by Simon N earlier in the day tempted me down and a most enjoyable afternoon was spent on a warm but very windy spring afternoon that had more than a feel of true summer about it and so much to rport, where do I start?
Well the Dunlin was still on site in the south bay at the eastern end of the main body of water but a further pair one in summer and one in transitional plumage werte also found in the inlet as was a Common Sandpiper.

Little Ringed Plover numbers appear to has risen again given how easy they were to find especially viewed from the River Ouse side amongst them was also a single bright and lively  Ringed Plover. A pair of Oystercatcher were also about as were three Little Egrets. The usual Lapwings were also dotted about.

Alongside five Common Tern two Arctic Terns dropped in late afternoon. A White Wagtail and a handful of Yellow Wagtails can still be found on site. Out on the water was the loser in love drake Common Shelduck which left the small flock of Tufted Duck that remain well alone. Five Mute Swans was a high for the main body and half a dozen Canada Geeese look like they've finally settled in for the duration.

A pair of Common Buzzards made the most of the wind and thermals and a Little Owl could be found in the small copse at the eastern end of the Ridge.

Bird of the day though a Hobby, who not only hunted at close quarters along Back Brook but put in several strafing runs along the channels between the islands out on the water at breakneck speed.

Butterflies were out in force battling the gale, Common Blues along the approach road, Red Admirals, Peacocks and various 'Whites' along Back Brook whilst Speckled Wood and Brimstone could be found along the Ouse.

All in all a good day...

30th April via Text from SiNich (9:30am)

Sum Plum DUNLIN at Manor Farm.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Friday 29th April 2011 - Early Afternoon

13:00 > 13:30
Overcast, humid, 15c but coll NE wind at times.

Another quickish visit. Apart from the usual suspects at least three probably more Yellow Wagtails still found on site, popping out from the island vegatation. Apart from that a Little Owl making alarm calls (for whatever reason) was the only other thing of interest.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Thursday 28th April 2011 - Morning

9:30 > 10:00
Sun, NE wind, 14c

A quick 'ten minute birder' visit.

Not too much to report. The pair of Herring Gull that shouldn't be there, are. A pair of Common Terns rest on the spit. A single Little Egret in the shallows while out on the water the loser in love (see yesterday) drake Common Shelduck remains.

As for waders the usual Lapwings & Little Ringed Plovers whilst the only other bird of note was a female Sparrowhawk over.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wednesday 27th April 2011 - Afternoon


14:30 > 16:00
Sun, broken cloud, NE breeze, 15c.

Or what a difference a day makes part two as temperatures pick up again but still a cool easterly keep them down a notch or two.

Just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water the horror returns and threefold. Yes three Common Shelduck on site today, a female and two males, that spent most of the afternoon chasing each other rather than worrying off the other wildfowl but on todays showing the remaining Tufted Duck and Gadwall have given up the ghost for yet another year.



Also on site in no particulae order. Two 'Commic' Terns, the usuals of Lapwing & Little Ringed Plover, a single Little Egret a pair of Herring Gull (and yes I know they shouldn't) and not as many Martins as yesterday but a handful of Sand Martins are endeavouring to nest where thirty or so pairs were successful last year.

Oddly today no sign of Yellow Wagtails.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Tuesday 26th April 2011 - Afternoon


13: 00 > 15:00
Cloudy, NE wind and a cool 12c.

What a difference a day makes! Shorts yesterday, today a shirt, fleece and windcheater and still feeling the cold.

The birds didn't look much like performing either. Plenty of Yellow Wagtails still about but with no sun and me being a bit early there was no sign of the Channel Wagtail. Thats not to say its not there just hard to track as they, the Yellow Wags, flitted around the shoreline and islands.

Around the margins the usual Lapwings and Little Ringed Plovers but Oystercatcher numbers up to four in the inlet. Down in the new workings a lone Shelduck has returned but left the eight Tufted Ducks and a handful of Mallards alone on the main water.

A walk along the Ouse to see if any Reed or Sedge Warblers had returned yet proved fruitless but a couple of pair of Reed Bunting were seen. In the water of the river itself noticable was the number of large Chub in the shallow gravel beds supposedly spawning. Over the Castlethorpe Path bridge, a good area usually for warblers the first Common Whitethroat was seen as were Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, as also an area to keep an eye on in the next few weeks.

Sand Martins and House Martins dominated the skies with circa 120 combined including a times sizable groups landing to hug the shoreline for a rest, A handful of Swallows, mostly over the river and the last remaining section of Flood Meadow were also on site. Two Common Terns also dropped in.

And the first breeding success, a female Mallard led eight sizable ducklings on a foray round the water before off to hide once more in the ever growing vegatation.

And finally on leaving a single Little Egret flew in while a pair of returning Mistle Thrush could be found in the usual area on the top field.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Saturday 23rd April 2011 - Roundup per NBBR

From SiNich
2 LRP's , 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Swallows , 4 Sand Martins, 2 Common Terns

From Chri C
At least 20 yellow wags at Manor Fm tonight. Feeding on improved grass

where they are not supposed to be--possibly an emergence of winged ants.
The blue-headed individual was showing well. Can anyone please confirm it
is indeed M. flava "flava" summer male?

Friday, 22 April 2011

Friday 22nd April 2011 - Rob N tunes in...

Rob paid a visit to MF to catch up with the 'Channel' today.

Report here!

Thursday 21st April 2011 - Evening



18:00 > 19:30
Sun, warm, 23c, East breeze.

The big news is that on taking and studying pictures of the Blue Headed Wagtail that has been on site since Saturday its not a Blue Head at all but a hybrid Channel Wagtail (Yellow & Blue Head cross). See pics in post below. Again feeding with circa 40 Yellow Wagtails and a handful of Pieds on the Western Slope.

Also on site the odd sight of two half submeged Common Terns off Western Spit, it must have been a long hot journey. The usual Lapwings and Little Ringed Plovers were also in attendance as was a pair of intense squabbling Oystercatcher. A lone Common Sandpiper picked about on the South Shore.

A few Gadwall and Tufted Duck continue to hang about while three late Little Egrets flew over to roost. A Little Owl continued to call from the trees along Back Brook till disturbed by cattle whilst the first Hobby of the summer hawked over water for a time.

And as I was leaving a passage of half a dozen Lesser Black Backed Gulls headed east.

**Re the Channel Wagtail, looking back to last years records it (or one) may well have been here twelve months ago. See the posting from 23rd April 2010. **

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Channel Wagtail Pics

Hot off the press, taken this evening, probably have better versions when I scan through all tomorrow. Click for larger version.











Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Wednesday 20th April 2011 - Early Evening

17:15 > 17:45

Warm, sunny 23c.

Before heading off on the 'Great Little Heron Hunt' (it's a long story) I took a quick look in at the Farm before heading east. The Blue Headed Wagtail continues to show well on the western slope alongside around 40 other Yellow Wagtails, quite a sight in the bright sunshine. Hopefully the weather, and the BHW, will hold for some pictures tomorrow.

Out on the water as per usual, two Little Egrets in the shallows plus the usual Little Ringed Plovers and Lapwings. Oystercatchers were notable for the number, one in the margins whilst a piping flock of four flew over. A pair of Common Tern continue to prospect the islands.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Tuesday 19th April 2011 - Late Afternoon

16:30 > 17:30
Sunny, warm, 19c

A quiet day at the Farm. Yellow Wagtails still dominate but failed to locate the Blue Head though best of luck to the two birders hunting it out when I left. Being slightly earlier today its clear that early evening when the YW's tend to bunch more to 'graze' is the best time to view.

Out around the water the usual Little Ringed Plovers and Lapwings but no other waders seen. Two Little Egrets fed around the margins and a pair of Common Terns rested on one of the islands before hunting along the river but otherwise not a lot!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Monday 18th April 2011 - Evening

18:15 > 19:00
Sun, odd hazy cloud, SE breeze, 15c.

The striking Blue Headed Wagtail continues at the site, feeding this evening on the slopes of the far west field, just past the farm buildings, with an amazing 34 other Yellow Wagtials. When you consider the ones on the island too a conservative estimate must be around 50 YW's in the vicinity.

Nothing much else of note this evening, the usual Little Ringed Plovers and four resident Lapwing but the only other wader seen was the lone Oystercatcher. A pair of Little Egret flew over on the way to the Linford Roost.

A pair of Greylag Geese have joined the two papirs of Canadians on site.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday 17th April 2011 - Northern Wheatear

Via text from Cliff on site at 17:15

Northern Wheatear up on Ridge, circa 20 Yellow Wagtails in Central Field.

Saturday 16th April 2011 - Evening

18:30 > 19:30
Sunny, warm, calm, 14c

Not intending to call in today but news of a Greenshank on site via a text from SiNich (see posting below) I called in on the off chance. No sign of the wader but the trip was worth the effort for a cracking Blue Headed Wagtail.

As with last year as things start to warm up the Wagtails leave the workings to

feed up on the slopes amongst the sheet in the afternoon and early evening.

In a flock of circa 20 Yellow Wagtails and 30 Pieds was not only the White
Wagtail seen recently but a very distinctive Blue Head. Much more clear cut than
last years birds the head is a striking one shade, but not much, darker than sky
blue and i'll leave it to the experts if its a 'channel'. It was giving views down to 20 or so feet.

For those intending to view you could spend an age trying to pick it out of the
numerous YW's out on the islands so i'd suggest waiting till mid/late afternoon
and looking on the slope in the far western field (between Ridge path and main body of water.)
This evening I just stood at the five bar gate to the western side of the central field and the birds obliged.

Also on site the uniform grey Black Tailed Godwit lingers as do numerous Little Ringed Plovers's, an Oystercatcher, a Common Redshank and a lone Little Egret. One of the Little Owls has taken up residence above Godwit Corner, talking of which none of the four Godwits this week have been anywhere near.

Saturday 16th April 2011 - Per NBBR

From Roy C

A lovely afternoon at Manor Farm saw my 1st Swallows of the year. A single

Oystercatcher with Lapwing and a solitary Greenshank. Down by the sand mountain
were approx 50 Sand Martins, & a single male Pheasant. 2 Common Terns dropped
in, & my 1st ever Yellow Wagtails rounded off a good day. 1 Peacock butterfly
too.

Friday 15th April 2011 - Afternoon/Evening

15:00 > 20:00 (on and off)
Broken cloud, some sun, west breeze, humid, 15c.

An afternoon and evening broken up by visits back to work garnered the following.

The uniform grey Black Tailed Godwit is still on site as is a new arrival in a single Ringed Plover which a couple of the numerous Little Ringed Plovers were doing the best to drive off the site. Four Lapwing still holding fast while three Little Egrets fished in the shallows.

Two Common Sandpiper and a pair of Green Sandpiper and a lone Oystercatcher were also present whilst Yellow Wagtail numbers continue to increase with 20+ birds now on site along the shorelines and hopping up from the vegation on the islands and large spit.

Overhead at least four Common Buzzards were about but the noticable passage above was of Terns, a dozen or so seen heading north during the afternoon with briefly a pair of Common Terns dropping in to prospect.

On the duck from pairs of Gadwall and Tufted Duck remain whilst one of the Little Owls was as active as I've seen one in daylight hours around the farm buildings.

And finally an odd Small White butterfly with what appeared to be perfectly cut small black crescents on its wings.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Thursday 14th April 2011 - Evening

17:30 > 19:00 Cloudy, calm, 12c

No sign of the Godwits that have been present the last couple of days but with a bit of patience and a long walk the following was seen.

Waders in abundance, at least six Little Ringed Plovers now on site, one, probably two, Common Sandpiper, two Green Sandpiper, six Lapwing and two Oystercatcher down on the site while three others flew over 'piping'. Just a single Little Egret this evening and ducks down to a handful of Mallards and just one Gadwall pair. Two pair of Canada Geese have taken up residence though.

Yellow Wagtail numbers continue to build and you can get a real idea of how many there are by walking along the River Ouse as most frequent the area between the path and the main body of water at any given time. At a conservative guess around 20 along with double that number of Pied Wagtail including a pristine White Wagtail which may not be alone.

The Linnet flock continues to entertain flitting about in the newly planted area on the North Shore whilst out over the water more Sand Martins than you could shake a stick at, a few House Martins and the odd Swallow or two.

The Little Owl could again be heard calling from the trees along Back Brook.

Also airborne this evening, three hot air balloons, summer must be on the horizon...

Weds 13th April 2011 Evening - Godwits remain per NBBR

From Rob H

Indeed, they (the three Islandica BLACK TAILED GODWITS) just popped out from behind the eastern spit (where the vegetation is getting tall), and then moved to the northern shore.


Also 2 Common Sand, 1 Green Sand, 5 LRP, 1 Oyc, and 4 Lapwing (looks like at least one territory on site).

Plenty of wagtails too - c50 Pied, 1m White Wag, and c10 Yellow Wag. 100+ Sand Martins were over the caravan site.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tuesday 12th April 2011 - Evening

17:30 > 19:00
Sun with broken cloud, NW breeze, 14c.

Three Black Tailed Godwits were the highlight of the evening, indeed the highlight of migration so far. Found curled up dozing in the shallows just off the West Spit initially it was hard to get an ID but eventually a side on view showed one moving into summer plumage to confirm. Eventually they woke and did a couple of circuits of the site but then settled to feed along the North Shore where they still were when I left at seven.

Also on site an increasing number of Little Ringed Plover as Rob mentioned at weekend. I saw at least five at one time but suspect the number is more given the ease which they were found. Other waders present were four Lapwing, and singles of Common Redshank, Oystercatcher and Green Sandpiper. Little Egret numbers were up to five.

Yellow Wagtails still well represented with around a dozen frequenting the scrub on the islands and the shoreline alongside probably at least double that number of Pied Wagtails. Also out on the island the increasing Linnet flock now around circa 20 which along with a building Goldfinch 'charm' attacted a female Sparrowhawk on a sharp fly by.

As for the ducks just single pairs of Gadwall and Tufted Duck remain.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Saturday 9th April 2011 - Lunchtime

13:00 > 14:00
Sunny, warm though cool easterly breeze at times. 19c

A chance to make the most of sun for an hour, eat my lunch and watch the world go by.
Still a few Yellow Wagtails dotted about though not as active or it appears as numerous as yesterday.
Sand Martins continue to prospect the new workings. Out on the water at least three Little Ringed Plovers remain as do a pair of Green Sandpiper, a Common Redshank, an Oystercatcher and a couple of Lapwing.

Four Little Egrets also in the area. Gadwall now down to two pairs but a flock of 11 Tufted Duck dropped in on leaving. Bar a pair of Mallard these are the only ducks now on site.

A pair of Herring Gull were in situ for the duration giving the resident crows what for whilst overhead a couple of Sparrowhawk and three Common Buzzards were making the most of the thermals.

Still a good showing of butterflies including my first 'Blues' of the summer along the approach road.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Friday 8th April 2011 - Afternoon

14:00 > 18:00
Waem, sunny, 19c.

A leisurely afternoon spent in the valley and spring really appears to have sprung with a big unflux of Yellow Wagtails on site. At one time a group of eleven together on one of the islands with probably around the same dotted about in ones and twos. Just like last year numbers will no doubt build in the coming days so its all on the look out for the Blue Head and the elusive 'channel'.

Also still on site three Little Ringed Plovers though the single was very flighty and for some reason harrying bot Pied and Yellow Wagtails in flight at every opportunity. Other waders on site, singles of Oystercatcher and Green Sandpiper and a pair of Common Redshank. Four Lapwing also put in an appearance while three Little Egret were also in the vicinity.

Duck numbers are down once more, just a single pair of Teal and six Gadwall but the drake Shelduck put in a late appearance so perhaps not suprising. Four Mute Swans also battled for supremacy over the main water while a secretive pair of Canada Geese look like they are setting up home.

Away from the water a couple of dozen Sand Martin were prospecting the north facing banking in the new workings for possible nest site while a handful of Swallow and a House Martin or two were noted. A pir of Reed Bunting along Back Brook while three squabbling Bullfinch and singing Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were along the Canal section.

Butterfiles were out in force with Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Brimstone and Comma all noted in numbers while an odd unidentified 'White' flitted about too.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wednesday 6th April per NBBR

From Paul M

Hi all, warm sunshine but blustery on the slope over looking the gravel workings this lunch time.
Highlights: 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Green Sandpipers, 1 Redshank, 1 LRP, 1 Oyc, 3 Sand Martins and 5 Linnets. Plus a Meadow Pipit feeding briefly on the spit, hard to make out at first because of the scope shake!

From Bob F

At manor farm about 15:30 (4)yellow wagtail on the island and 2 red kites over also heading in a westerly direction.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tuesday 5th April 2011 - Evening

18:00 > 18:30
Dull, damp, west breeze, 12c.

A quiet(ish) evening at the Farm. Waders were the order of the day with three Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Redshank and singles of Green Sandpiper and Oystercatcher. Four redhead Goosander came in to roost while there are still small numbers of Wigeon (4) Gadwall (5) & Tufted Duck (2) about. Over the water a pair of Swallow were the only other birds of note.