Monday, 5 October 2015


A bit quiet for me this weekend. I opted on Saturday to head out on the bike up towards Quarry Walk. I hadn't visited since the summer. It was very quiet. With the odd Cetti's Warbler still being camera shy, some (say 5)Water Rail squealing away. A very odd sighting in the form of a Reed Warbler which given the time of year and vagrants turning up had me hoping for a Marsh or Blyth Reed Warbler alas it wasn't and some Chiff-Chaff too. The light was horrible and no decent images.
Sunday saw me head out on the bike but along the Brampton Valley railway line. Unsurprisingly it was very busy with other cyclists, joggers, train spotters etc. Nothing special was found but plenty of common species. This Wren delighted me with its posing.

A dodgy Long Tailed Tit.
And the Ruddy Shelduck (never made it into the original post) from Pitsford reservoir.

Thursday, 24 September 2015


I apologise for the lack of posts and comments on the blogs I read. The last few weeks have been a bit of nightmare and extremely taxing on the grey matter.
My mum's doctor found a cancerous lump on her kidney, the upside it was non malignant, the downside at 70+ her kidney was going to come out. However after consultation the surgeon opted to remove just part of the kidney. After a 486 minute (!!!) operation it had been removed, annoyingly that was the less stressful part!
Now people rightly or wrongly won't berate nor speak ill of nurses and in the vast majority of cases I wouldn't either. However, I think poor nursing needs to be talked about and aired, especially non English nurses. I haven't seen during my mum's stay in hospital bad British nurses, can't  fault them. After her operation my sister visited my mum to sit with her, luckily, as the nurse who was charged with looking after just three patients (high dependcy) hadn't switched on her oxygen mask so my mum having just left surgery (486 minutes) so the anaesthetic wasn't being flushed out, IT COULD'VE KILLED HER, her heart rate was at 36bpm and rri was 5% the alarm which was flashing had been muted. The same nurse ignored on my visit me pressing 'urgent assistance' button, she'd been sick and was choking the nurse to busy looking at the screen of her smartphone to do any nursing . The same nurse had put the wrong type of plaster holding the tube delivering pain killer into her back (so she was always laying on it) with had caused four pressure sores and my mum in some discomfort had asked the nurse to check who said "it's ok", I looked and they were the size of a ten pence piece and weeping. The matron was brilliant, she asked the nurse to leave, her words "I've lost my confidence in your ability" (told you good nursing gets equal plaudits) and she called the man in charge of patient care who took photos and statement so a bit stressed.
How she doing after 14 days out, well despite a bailiff shoving her to the ground, who was actioning an order against my sister (mum staying there). In front of two supposed qualified police officers he then STOLE my mum's van. She pulled out of the dashboard her registration documents, finance agreement etc, etc even the police told the bailiff it was registered in her name my mum doesn't live at the address FUCKING recuperating there, the debt is at my sisters address and in my sisters name as was the court order so why the police allowed it to be stolen I'm not sure but even after the bailiff admitted to the police he shoved her to the ground, a 70+ YEAR OLD WHO JUST HAD by 30 staples from her side removed failed to even arrest the bailiff that's my complaint to police I'm lodging , the rest is in the hands of solicitors due the fact the shove caused her further injury and the van being illegally taken (STOLEN, TWOC/TAKE WITHOUT OWNERS CONSENT, policing can't be that hard can it?) by all accounts the solicitor is chomping at the bit, even the paperwork was incorrect apparently! I will come back to this, but I will say one thing,  we don't seem to make Brits like my mum anymore she really is a tough old (sorry mum) cookie, bless her lol.
The birding as you can tell has taken a back seat. Not completely though, being at the brewery in the town centre has provided some highlights. Situated on the banks of the River  Nene I've seen plenty of kingfishers flyby. Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls and Mallards, perhaps a certain winter escapee will show up for another stint on this section of the NeneNene, time will tell. Two days on a trot whilst in the yard I got to watch a Peregrine and various points in the day zip and occasionally glide over, plenty of feral pigeons down at the brewery now the bus station has been demolished. Plenty of Pied Wagtails too and moths, bloomin' big ones too.... I am such an expert lol.
When I've gone out on my bike I've not really encountered much. The Barn Owl box at the crossing/railway line has either been taken down or blown down. The Redstarts and warblers have gone. As has the hedgerow and huge chunks (branches) of the mature trees at one of the bridges, removed by low life on community service or as they're apparently now called "community payback" hmmm.
Got this Blue Tit.
 A wren
On one day (I forget which) watched this encounter of a Buzzard 'having a go' shame about the sky though

Today despite the wind which is big pain in the arse for cycling in I went for a smallish cycle. My route:
 My stats, I obviously hit pause when scanning bushes for something to photograph.
I didn't get far along the railway line when I instantly spotted something which was a surprise because the first section is normally quite busy with people etc. In fact only about 800 metres from the start of the pathway. At the first signal box 'Pitsford Sidings' before the station (points 4 to 5 on my route map)
Despite my speed and the distance I spotted a personal favourite bird of mine perched on a fence post which was instantly recognisable, I hit the brakes.
The above post is just to right of the concrete white post in the picture of the signal box. A quick record shot of the female Stonechat incase it flew off. It did and didn't it would drop down to the ground/field so I snuck a little closer each time. The closest I could get due to the railway line and fence was this one
Funnily I was planning to head for Maidwell on the bike to photograph a Stonechat,  I love Stonechats that much was relieved what with the wind so glad  I didn't have too. Despite the habitat vandalism by 'community payback' and this pathway/cycle way being very busy and popular and not to mention the vintage trains  there's been some cracking birds along it this far.

Saturday, 29 August 2015


My birding day didn't start until late, very late in birding terms. I had to get some essentials for my bike. A decent waterproof cycling jacket and trousers for the wet days ahead. I don't mind getting caught in near tropical downpours, you ain't a proper cyclist until you've ridden in the wet. Yet I am getting wet a lot. Which ruins the day.  Whilst shopping I was seriously tempted by a bike brake disc conversion kit, seriously tempted, sick and tired of ye 'olde brake block set up, serious fade in the rain, bigger stopping distance in the wet, horrible squealing after rain and mud jamming up between wheel rim and pads....another day perhaps.
So my birding itself started at the quarry about 4:30'ish (told you it was late), bugger all but Chiffchaff and 3 scrotum's and motocross bike so didn't hang around. So made my way to the dam wall at Pitsford, again unusually quite so ventured down via Merry Tom lane to the Brampton Valley and the vintage railway line. Here's my route a 7.1 mile long detour.
Someone's been  chopping down the elderberry bushes just at the start of pathway from the crossing where's their normally Goldfinch and Blackcap, so not much here. There was an adult and two juvenile Greywagtail at the iron bridge that I photographed earlier in the year. Spotted the Barn Owl in a very distant tree and it never came hunting whilst I was there, though it did look healthy but no young that I could see. On the map is the number 2 on the pathway it's the crossing between the two fields (gates) over the railway line where I promptly skidded to halt as I heard a quail, definately a quail in the bean field. Couldn't see it but it was close it didn't call again and had me wondering...a bit late in the year for one (isn't it?). But you don't mistake a quails call. But there was a lot of activity in the hedges that caught my attention. In fact everywhere I looked something of interest in good'ish numbers was flitting about in the hedgerow and on the tracks.
I counted 5 separate Lesser Whitethroat adults mostly and one juvenile.
Lost count/interest in the most numerous (chiffchaff) when I heard calling and coming towards my way.  Whinchat,  out from the bean field 4 in total, this dodgy incoming Whinchat.
 And this Whinchat, scruffy individual and image wasn't much better.
I counted at least 6 Yellowagtails but with fading light not sure of ages/sex but as I was tracking them I caught a red flash in the corner of my eye, this exact location last year I had a 'red flash' and a Redstart however there's numerous Robins along here. I waited for another cyclist to pass who flushed it up. Thought it was,  lol, but a Female Redstart.
So that's one in the spring and one in Autumn both by pedal power. Still the female looked bang tidy like. In fact there's a scruffy one too and I think a third but definitely two.
I heard a Cetti's Warbler which has to be the furthest I've heard one from the Nene Valley, I could hear it calling all the way along the meandering river and up to the station obviously the 19:30 to Northampton.
In the rapidly fading light I caught glimpse of three what I initially thought were Wood Warbler but obviously the fading light played tricks as it was three Willow Warblers, can't grumble.
The other bird weirdly of note was Chaffinch quite common all Finches along this section normally well represented actually so to see so many was perversely 'notable' as there was loads flitting around as were the flying red ants. Hopefully the 'starts will be around in the morning yet it's the Whinchat's that roll over and add an extra tick on my "Birds on my bike list", slowly creeping to 120.