Thursday, 22 January 2015


Was the "joke" told to me before my physio yanked my arm and a loud click from my elbow. The physio is really taking it's toll, it truly isn't a case of being fondled but more a case of being beaten up by a woman.
Again birding has been mostly sorting garden out with more "decorative" perches and general tidy up ready for the RSPB GARDENWATCH. I even polished up the lenses and backed up 400 odd images, oh what joy!
A close up of a Greenfinch
My local park (EASTFIELD PARK) is going to be "run" by a local church group, which could be bad but I'm popping along to a meeting with some other Park users to see "what's what" they've in the past built an old people's home and flats. To be fair the flats were on the site of a defunct school, the old people's home wasn't and we lost a sizeable chunk of wooded area.
Over the park a lone female Goosander has vanished, probably not enough fish in the lake these days. There's a Teal and plenty of Shovellers which brings a smile to my face you really can't get more "urban" then my estate.
A Shoveller taking off....
I'm not allowed to use my sling anymore and have been told to exercise my arm in moderation, "moderation" trying to catch a sharp flight shot of bird with 1/250th second shutter speed.....maybe my definition of moderation is different to that of my physio?
But the Buzzard on the park is really testing my arm.
A urban Buzzard how cool is that?
I flushed it the other day as I walked through the wooded section with the greyhounds, shocked me and the hounds. It gets mobbed by everything, the gulls go mob handed, the crows just dive bomb it individually but the best are the Jays and Magpies they pair up and attack it, never seen Magpies and Jays work together. I've seen the bird three consecutive days now and flies off towards Lings Wood which is where our local wildlife trust is based.
The other bird of note has been a male Tawny calling regularly now and I even managed a walk around with six like minded people and got great views of it perched on a satellite dish, can't find it in the woods during the day though....I like urban birding.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


Many of blog readers will know of my fondness for what I've nicknamed "THE REED BED". It has a official name called "Quarry Walk", something about quarries and me! Situated between the working quarry at Earls Barton and Pastures Farm the land was transformed under the maligned Natural England system, but when done properly it's hard to see why Natural England comes under attack by many conservationist.
After all how many sites during the spring/Summer can boast Cettis Warbler, Water Rail, Otter, Cuckoo, Hobbies, Reed Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat and this summer being an exception the Sedge Warbler, numbers were drastically down with just the one male bird!! Which sadly tallies with the BTO figures for the species this year ie very bad. As for winter birds there is a star species that's so far gone unreported and as it doesn't show brilliantly I'll say nothing for now.
Now as John Finalyson was blogging about the starling murmaration at Titchmarsh and how it appeared numbers were dropping I started to get phone calls from a couple of dog walkers and one quarry worker about the Starlings inincreasing in numbers. So went to investigate (pre-accident). The first visit I stood on the boardwalk (pictured above) and could hear them chattering some distance into the reed bed then silence as they all took off and dispersed onto the surrounding farm land. In the evening they threw a curve ball and settled in the reed bed on Grendon Lakes, more to follow on this site. But definitely good numbers. On my second visit they settled on the lake known as Mill Lake. This site can accessed from the carpark next to quarry and following the path alongside the River Nene and over the stile. The third visit without my camera due to my accident was better and thanks to my chauffeur (girlfriend) produced the best displays they settled in the reed bed on the Quarry Walk part of the site.
Numbers were quite impressive and had me wishing for my camera.
If you plan a visit,  park in the carpark nearest to the quarry, definately don't park at the quarry entrance, security need access even at weekends, in no uncertain terms you will return to your car with flat tyres, you've been warned! Don't take a short cut across the quarry if security is present be prepared to be chased by a large dog they've had too many issues from diesel theft, plant machinery damaged/stolen. Walk past Dunkelys restaurant (old train carriages) opposite the only other property is a public footpath that takes you alongside the very muddy farmers field until you get to the boardwalk you can't miss it.  There's a circular footpath that takes in a variety of habitat you might even spot an unreported bird too.
But what ever you do, don't stray off the footpaths onto Grendon Lakes, birders with the exception of one or two individuals are not welcomed and well let's say it will not end in a happy outcome. There is footpaths around the site but you won't see the starlings so it's not really worth it.

Thursday, 15 January 2015


...... and a pain the arse would best describe my week since being savaged by a Jaguar.
Firstly the driver, he's being charged with driving without due care and attention but according to "victim support" who I really didn't think I needed a visit from the police are putting a suspension of sorts on the drivers license until he gets his eyes tested and suitable note from his doctor to say he's fit to drive.
His insurance company has been predictably stubborn, ignorant twats. First they told me, with a broken arm I'd have to take my bike to a cycle repair shop to get costed for repairs after a flurry of four letter words I composed myself and said no. I told the twerp in a polite manner his company are lucky I'm not putting in for a personal injury claim, can't do loss of earnings my firm is good and I'm on full in pay.
I also asked how I'd get a bike with bent forks, buckled wheel, cracked A-frame, damaged crank with a broken arm to a bike shop, after 5 minutes of being on hold the idiot told me to send in a receipt of original purchase and I'll get a full refund it was agreed new helmet and lights too...what a hassle for a small amount.
Some suggested (including victim support) I should sue. Nope, I've done it before when I was hit head on by some idiot whilst I was driving a van, I got a huge six figure (sadly hundreds of thousands not millions) payout and placed on a database of personal injury claimants, bet you didn't know insurance companies did that, this in turn made it/makes it hard to get cheap insurance. It actually as a driver made it hard for me to find employment after I got better as it was flagged up by the insurance company of potential employees and in turn increased their insurance bill.

My boss came round with my personal bits n bobs from the cab of my lorry, no it wasn't to check up on me, he's a good boss and had arranged through our companies health care programme some private physio, the first appointment at our local hospital went OK with a nice looking Portuguese woman. I have one today but seeing as a lady is being currently tested for Ebola at our hospital  it should be interesting....look out for a moon walking Douglas if there's a lot of media hanging around:-)
To be honest I'm going stir crazy, I prematurely blitzed my record collection in the first few days.  The TV is driving me bonkers to the point during the days I'm spending time either walking my greyhounds one at a time over the local park, watching a solitary female Goosander. Or sat in the shed.

Took an extended walk around Bradlaugh fields which was good for common birds but nothing of note. I thought given the habitat of part of the area and the number of Stonechats in the county I might chance upon an urban 'chat. Sadly not.  Found an urban' ish Little Owl on Moulton Park industrial estate. It was quite an unusual place to find one, it was in some trees next to a leisure centre, college campus and right behind a big warehouse not too far from the science park in some pine/spruce it was being mobbed by a Jay.
Obviously the rest of my time I spent in the shed watching the birds at first but couldn't resist trying for some images. I have very little movement in my arm and trying to lift even the light 300mm,f2.8 is impossible without agony.
 I've opted to place the camera on a bean bag resting on a window sill, obviously not being able to lift the camera I have to point the camera in one spot and hope a bird comes along, then re-postion it at another spot and wait again. All images are then taken one handed. GRIM!!!
My next post will be about interesting things to do whilst suffering from Cabin fever, apart from Moon walking.