Monday, 3 September 2012

SummerLeys,Sparrowhawks and Mistle Thrush

In my job I have to work what is laughingly called "continental" shift patterns. It's a forty hours per week, 4 days on and 4 days off. It's got it's advantages when my days off are during the week (quieter/less people walking and jogging around the reserve) and it's sunny it's great. On Saturday I had a rare moment and managed all my deliveries early, I pulled up in the yard and as there wasn't anything else to do my boss told me to clear off (but not that politely). I think he got sick with me pointing my camera up at the Buzzard and Gulls circling the warehouse or it might have been when I was pointing my camera into the bushes at Common Whitethroat's. Either way I headed straight up to Summer Leys, first surprise there was hardly any cars in the carpark, weird. I grabbed my camera and headed for the Pioneer hide/Main hide. A few Teals, a Snipe, Little Egret, four Widgeons and the odd Moorhen and Coot, not much then, all the Lapwings for some reason were on the big islands on the main lake and not on the scrape. A Reed warbler chugged away in the reed bed in front of the hide but never came up to the top of the reed stems, too windy. I could hear a couple of Green woodpeckers "laughing" at each other but again very distant it was at this point I realised there was no birders on site so I thought I'd better check the local bird reports in case something special had dropped in elsewhere around the county, nope nothing too special, strange where was everyone. I put the phone away just in time to witness the above Sparrowhawk nip right in front of the hide window, that explains why the Lapwings weren't on the scrape, it settled in a tree so I kept my eye on it, then "peep-peep"...kingfisher flies right over the reed bed and down the towards the Rotary hide grrrr, two easy chances missed. Nevermind. The Sparrowhawk flew off over the main road and I just watched the Little Egret fishing. I did notice the Lapwings kept taking off from the islands, so I knew some predator was still around, I must have waited an hour just looking at the point from where the Sparrowhawk had come from last time when the Moorhens ran off towards the reed beds and the Starlings flew off, gliding with it's wings back and at speed the Sparrowhawk was back, bit distant but heading straight my way.  I managed a short burst of 9 frames the best is the one above. I didn't quite get the exposure quite right, but truth be known I was struggling to keep this exocet missile in the viewfinder. It pulled up and over the hide and headed towards the carpark.
On the way home I stopped off at a Little Owl spot and apart from the Little Owl I got 36 Mistle Thrushes. They came in two flocks one of 20 then a flock of 16, I haven't seen this many Mistle Thrushes for a while. I watched through the scope as they settled in a copse (it was 7pm at this time) obviously roosting. I've watched this spot  quite alot of times and only recorded Mistle Thrushes in the winter, one or two birds but no more than that. Haven't had any during the summer. So I'm guessing they've migrated from somewhere...I went back  early the next morning before heading for Crick, to see if they were still there, much scanning of the copse revealed they had gone.
 No birding today (September 2nd) as I was up at Crick at the National Retired Greyhound fundraising day, I did win a bottle of Bell's scotch on the raffle...yummy!!! And got to see loads of other greyhounds and raise money for the charity. We used to have it at Towcester racecourse but they're putting a greyhound track in there and because the Northants Greyhound trust objected (as they would) they kicked the show out. Shame really. I stopped off at the Little Owl spot where I had the Mistle Thrushes the previous day but they weren't there so I just took the two hounds home and debated wether or not to open the scotch......

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