Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sat 26th March 2011 - Evening - Per NBBR

Rob H had the following:

'Unsurprisingly, no sign of the Wheatear at MF this evening (see post below), but the waders Chris mentions (3 LRP's & 2 Green Sandpipers) were still present, and were joined by 1 Redshank and 2 Oycs.

9 Goosander roosted on the lake, and there were about 35 Pied Wags on site too.'

Chris G replied:

Perhaps more precise directions needed for the Wheatear, if its still there, as
its a virtually site long road and a bit of a trek from the normal viewing
places. Best place to view is just to the west side of the 'finished' mounds of
gravel down by the viaduct where the diverted path rejoins Back Brook. The
vegatation free bankings on north side of road between the road itself and the
silt beds are where it was, maybe is. Was flitting about there for 20 or so
minutes this afternoon and still there when I wandered back to the main waters.

Saturday 26th March 2011 - Morning & Afternoon

9:30 > 10:30 then 13:00 > 15:00

A bit of a mixed bag weather wise, mist then sun this morning, then this afternoon sun then cloud with cool easterly building and spitting rain. 12c

Another returnee was the highlight of the day in a Northern Wheatear, more of which later.
A morning walk round the site (hello Rebecca!) was on the whole quiet. A couple of Little Ringed Plovers, a rather cosy pair of Green Sandpipers and a drake Goosander through were the only real birds of note.

No sign of any Shelduck at all today and the remaining small Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal and Tufted Duck flocks enjoyed a hassle free time in the morning sun. A quick look at the Ouse but i'm holding out little hope for the Kingfishers using the Iron Trunk to Pebble Beach stretch this year due to clearance, here hoping they reamain in the stronghold downstrean towards the east of the site.

Coming back along the Canal a lone Chiffchaff was making such an effort to be heard he even dropped down from the tree tops just above our heads giving it his all.

After a couple of hours of family business I had some time to kill so revisted the site once more early afternoon. Getting dropped off at the Haversham end I walked through gravel processing area when something caught my eye seemingly scurrying up the gravel and mud banking along the road past the Silt Beds. It was in all its glory a lightly plumaged male Northern Wheatear, the first of the year at the Farm and beating last years first bird by six days.

Also seen on second visit a couple of Little Egret, a small flock of around eight or mine Meadow Pipit and all three squabbling Little Ringed Plovers together at one time.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thursday 24th March 2011 - Evening

16:30 > 17:30
Sun, 15c, calm but building cool east breeze.

Little Ringed Plovers return! Three found this afternoon. Firstly a very flighty single bird that did several circuits of the site before settling on one of the new islands. When I moved to the central field (the one directly north of the farmhouse) to get a better look two more dropped into the area of exposed mud and small bay right at bottom of this field. First bird remained flighty but other two looked settled by the time I left.

Other waders on site, two Oystercatcher, three Green Sandpiper and a lone Lapwing. Two Little Egrets also in the vicinity.

Just one of the Shelducks on site today, seven Goosander and the usual handfuls of Wigeon, Teal & Tufted Duck. Gadwall numbers have increased thought to 14.

Migrants evident in the skies too with two distant Swallows heading north.

On the butterfly front a single Red Admiral flitted about Back Brook.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

22nd March 2011 per NBBR

From Rob H

At a quiet Manor Farm this evening, 15 Goosanders roosted, including 2ad males and 2imm males. Also 2 Oycs, 2 Shelduck and 1 Green Sand. With a scattering of waders in surrounding counties I thought the place might turn up trumps, but alas no. Still, early days yet, and with the way the site looks, it's only a matter of time.

Also 6 small bats, presumably Pipistrelle, and somewhat distantly, a much larger one, looked Noctule-sized. Paul, what large bats are out this early in the season?

Paul M replied

Your large bat does sound like a Noctule. With the milder weather and more insects in the air bat season is open. Had my first Common Pipistrelle over the back garden on Monday evening. Will start checking the local Noctule roost soon.

Regards Manor Farm, the farm/office buildings do house lots of bats. Next time you're back at The Manor have a look at the special bat boxes along the outside of the buildings above the foot path.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tuesday 22nd March 2011 - Evening

17:30 > 18:00
Broken cloud, calm 14c.

A quiet evening at the Farm. The Shelduck pair remain as do the small pockets of Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck & Gadwall. Seven Goosander all redheads rested together on one headland. Two Lapwing were the first for a couple of weeks but the only other wader seen was a single Green Sandpiper. Other birds of note a Little Egret over heading to the Linford roost whilst one of the local Little Owls was perched in its usual tree till mobbed by six rather unsporting Magpies.

As for the site itself Back Brook's water level is now down to a deoth where flow through is no more and the usual summer pools, a magnet for insect life, are now forming and should remain barring an April flood.

And finally another sign of spring, the first lambs bounding around the top field when I left.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Saturday 19th March 2011

12:30 > 13:00
Sunny, warm, calm, circa 14c

A quick walkthrough on a warm lunchtime, a couple of groups were even picnicing, on my way elsewhere and really with the aim of relocating yesterdays Cetti. No luck but along the same stretch of hedgerow, an area thats probably greatly underwatched if watched at all between the Grand Union Canal and Back Brook, there were at least three Chiffchaffs and a couple of returnee Meadow Pipits.

Out on the water, fairly quiet, the only waders being a pair of Green Sandpiper. Two Little Egret also picked about in the margins. On the duck front the Shelduck pair remain but dozed in the midday sun so a chance for a rest for the other wildfowl present 10 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, 8 Tufted Duck and a pair of Teal.

By number Gulls dominated proceedings though with around 250 around the water, on the whole Commons and Black Headers with no larger or 'odd' gulls noted.

Overhead a Sparrowhawk held wheeling competions with the pair of Common Buzzards making most use of the warm air and a Little Owl shot out from the pollarded Willows to the far west end of Back Brook.

And along the approach road on leaving a fair smattering of Brimstone butterflies showed that maybe spring is about to be sprung.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Manor Farm joins the Cetti's Club

Not mentioned in todays earlier report (see below) because I wanted to trawl through some field guides, the PC based BWP, British Birds etc to clarify the identification of a bird i'm not exactly familiar with. While following the Chiffchaff mentioned below anothe partially obscured brownish bird caught the eye skulking low in the hedgerow. Just really catching a bit of brown back at first I thought Robin and was about to dismiss it (sorry Robin) when it moved into clearer view and was an altogether different bird. I initially thought Cetti's but wasn't 100% sure of ID hence the last hours or so of study and this late post to confirm Cetti's Warbler, a new bird at the site. Now if only we could get it to sing...

Friday 18th March 2011 - Afternoon

14:00 > 16:00
Cloudy breaking to sunshine, cool nort west breeze at times, 7c.

A quieter day at the Farm with no sign of yesterdays Dunlin. The pair of Oystercatchers and at least two Green Sandpiper remain though. The Shelduck pair still up to their antics and i've noticed they are masters at clearing the water of other ducks by driving all else high up then circling underneath to judge where the flock will land to start the whole cycle off again. 'Rare' birds they may be but I can't help thinking, as I have in the last two summers, they are a right royal pain in the bum we could do without. Numbers of Wigeon, Tufted Duck diminish further, Gadwall numbers holding steady while Teal seem to have vacated completely. Two Crows were picking over what looked like a dead drake Tufted Duck carcass before one of the Common Buzzards claimed it might well have been a casualty of this Shelduck agression, well maybe.

Elsewhere an early, or maybe overwintering, Chiffchaff was found in the hedgerow tailing off from Back Brook to the west, two Treecreepers also in the is area.

And work is now apace again at the site. Tree or hedge planting has gone on along a great swathe of the north bank while probably more importantly the last large field of flood meadow (the one that contains the bridge over the Ouse to Castlethorpe) has been fenced off with just the riverside walk now accessible. Downside, no more walks along Front Brook to the Silt Beds, upside it also keeps an increasing numbers of dog walkers away from what was a sensitive breeding area last year. Whether this is to contain cattle or sheep for a further season or the next phase of gravel extraction remains to be seen.

And lastly a sure sign of spring in increasing numbers of blossom laden trees anf hedgerow along Back Brook.

Earlier in the day Lee Evans called in and reported the following via NBBR

No sign of yesterday's Dunlin flock nor Green Sandpipers but a pair of
Oystercatchers, pair of Common Shelducks and 7 migrant Pied Wagtails; 28
Redwings flew NE.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thursday 17th March 2011 - Evening

17:30 >18:15
Hazy setting sunshine, slight north breeze, 9c

A mini waderfest at the Farm tonight with a small tightly packed flock of six Dunlin. All still in winter plumage they moved around as a unit picking about in the shallows. Quite a sight and a record number for the species at MF. Also present pairs of both Green Sandpiper and Oystercatcher.

The Shelduck pair remain as do eleven Goosander including two drakes, other duck numbers were just a handful of Wigeon, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. Wigeon numbers down by at least half so I'd put that down to the Shelduck driving them off the water.

Only other bird of note a late Little Egret over but my first Bat in a while was seen flitting about the farm buildings as I left.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tuesday 15th March 2011 - Evening

17:30 > 18:00
Dull, overcast, light easterly breeze, 9c.

A fleeting flock of nine Golden Plover were the highlight before heading off east as the light fell. Also representing the wader fraternity two Oystercatchers remain as do at least three Green Sandpiper.

As Rob H reported yesterday the (or a) Shelduck pair have returned for the third year and set about their usual ethnic cleansing of any other wildfowl on the water. Despite this a mini influx of ducks this evening with five Gadwall, three Teal, seven Tufted Duck as well as a couple of Pochard and the usual dozen or so Wigeon. Goosander numbers back up to twelve including two drakes. Two Mute Swans also put in an appearance.

Monday, 14 March 2011

14th March 2011 - Per NBBR

From Rob H

A reasonably interesting day in north Bucks.

At Manor Farm this morning (which btw is looking very suitable for waders, a ray of hope amongst the degredation of the traditional, once reliable sites), 1 Dunlin, 2 Green Sand, 2 Shelduck, 12 Wigeon and best of all a vocal Tree Sparrow in the dead trees on the south shore. Maybe it was looking for prospective nest sites.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Friday 11th March 2011 - Mid Afternoon

14:30 >15:00
Cloud, SW wind, 12c.

A quiet day at the site, just a single Green Sandpiper and three Goosanders of note.

A flock of circa 50 gulls, a split between Black Headed and Common were noticable for the eye catching summer plumage just about every bird is in. A small influx of around a dozen Pochard the only new arrivals, elswhere the Wigeon flock still graze.

Two Kestrels around the site were the first in a few months and with one being mobbed by around eight or nine Pied Wagtails and warned off I wonder if they'll hang about ;)

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Thursday 10th March - Evening

17:15 > 18:15
Sun, strong gusty westerly, 9c

A very early Sand Martin (beating last years first by eight days) was not only the highlight of the day but also hopefully a sign of better things to come. The single bird headed into the reserve from almost due south (suprise, suprise) at 17:30ish then over to the north side of the main area of the site where it was still quartering over the water at dusk.

Elsewhere the pair of Oystercatcher remain as do three Green Sandpiper but just a single lonesome Lapwing today. Eleven Goosander, one drake, continue to frequesnt the site as does the small Wigeon flock. In with the small pocket of Mallard a single drake Pochard was made to fell unwelcome however much he tried to join the party.

Noticable too was the number of Pied Wagtails, around 25 to 30 out on the new islands at any one time, a supect White Head was amongst them but the fading light wasn't good enough to make a positive ID.

Over at dusk was a Little Egret no doubt heading for the Linford roost and a flushed Little Owl along the Ridge on my way home closed the day.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tuesday 8th March 2011 - Evening

17:15 > 17:30
Sun (then set), cold westerly, 7c.

A quick visit and much the same fare as lately. Two Oystercatchers remain as does one Green Sandpiper.
Out on the water five Goosander and a dozen Wigeon, and thats your lot!

Friday 4th March 2011 - Afternoon

14:30 > 15:30
Sun, calm 6c

Three Oystercatchers were the highlight of a perimeter walk around the site. A constant pair and later a single picking around in the ever expanding mud. Not to be outdone three Green Sandpiper present too this afternoon. Elsewhere in and around the water a lone Little Egret and a dozing group of around 50 gulls, mostly Commons but with a couple of Lesser Black Backed and a Herring thrown in.

As for wildfowl no Goosander today but the steady flock of around 15 Wigeon still grazes while on Back Brook a group of six Teal his themselves away.

Away from the water a hadful of Siskins were found with a pair of Yellowhammer and a building flock of winter thrush, mostly Fieldfare were out on the flood meadow.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Thursday 3rd March 2011 - Evening

17:15 > 17:45
Cloudy, calm, cold, very cold, 2c

A brief visit as the light faded. Its was a day of handfuls on the water a handful of Teal, a handful of Pochard and a handful of Wigeon, the only bird reaching over a double handful were Goosander at 11 in number.

Circa 75 Lapwing on the mud while two Green Sandpipers picked about.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Tuesday 1st March 2011 - Evening

17:15 > 17:45
Cloudy, cold, cool easterly breeze, 3c.

The weekends rain has raised water levels further and the area looks more promising than ever with a fair expanse of shallow mud waiting to be exposed, and to the west or the main body an area still being worked that resembles the type of habitat that drew in the like of LRP's & RP's last summer,

At the moment fairly quiet, Oystercatchers now number two with just a single Lapwing the only other wader seen. With a return to colder weather the Goosanders have returned with fourteen on site alongside roughly the same number of Wigeon. No other wildfowl of note.

Out of the fields a few hundred winter thrushes are gathering mostly Fieldfare but a smattering of Redwing thrown in.

Three Little Egret as darkness began to fall capped the day.