Saturday, 25 August 2012

Harrington Airfield and Summerleys

My first stop of the day was Summeleys LNR. I hadn't been for a while and when I arrived it was quite apparent why I hadn't. Okay I got the usual passerines, 2 Common Sandpipers and about 6 Snipe on the scrape and a brief visit from a Little Egret. But there were no Redshank and no Little Ringed Plovers. Obviously the constant summer deluge of rain has had it's effect. There was some good numbers of Lapwings but I also noticed Common Terns were missing. Very bad year then, when I got home I checked my images from this time last year. I had images of juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, Common Redshank, Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers, Lapwings, Hobbies, Kestrels and Common Tern. How bad things have got in a year. The Little Egret below was the best I could get in what was very poor light.
Little Egret, SummerLeys Local Nature Reserve

I noticed on Eleanor and Neils blog(northamptonshire birding) listed as blogs I follow they were reporting a Common Redstart at Harrington airfield. This site is massive and sometimes feels like looking for a needle in a very large haystack. This site used to have nuclear missiles based there. It shows in my mind how something quite dreadful can pretty quickly become something a bit more natural. NATURE 1 v MANKIND 0.
I walked up the main track and got near the reported site of the Redstart. I got to the first compound and the big stack of hay bails. Just before the hay bails is a clump of trees (next to footpath) which has some stone/road chippings banked up. On the ground were two Yellowhammers, 1 female Chaffinch and one Redstart feeding on some spilled crop. Sadly the bird is VERY shy I approached as stealthy as I could, I wasn't going to go down on my belly and crawl commando style as with me I feared I might be mistaken for a stranded Walrus. I adopted the crouch and crawl approach and was doing ok with the bird occasionally flying into a tree then when it was confident it would drop back down. I was about the distance acceptable for a record shot when I heard I different bird...a warbird. It was loud and low and looked like it was practising for an air show as I got a twenty minute display. Nice, I did enjoy it I have to admit (though my ears are still ringing) but when it had finished the Redstart refused to come out and play. I noticed it went under a lump of concrete, I hope no-one walks on it otherwise the Redstart my get squished. I'll have another go in my days off next week. weather permitting . Not sure what plane it is but two images below.


  1. I was at Summer Leys on Thursday Doug, and did manage to see one Little Ringed Plover; but no Little Egrets. It's been a strange year. Hope next year is better.

    That word verification thing is a nightmare to read at times!

  2. Hi,
    I know that word verification does my head in too, Little Ringed Plovers there are some at Summer Leys but all I've seen was adult birds and not juveniles, was yours an adult or juvenile