Tuesday, 30 October 2012


 Well the plan for yesterday was to search for the Bearded Tits reported down at Stortons Pit, so I was up early to avoid the rush hour, and arrived in the car park at 06:50, it was just starting to get light and the traffic building. For those that don't know Stortons pit, it's an ex-gravel pit that sits more or less in the town centre, you've got a football stadium,scrapyard,rugby club and a ring road. It compromises of a lake, the river Nene and big'ish reed bed. I got a favourable position and waited...and waited, suddenly at 7:30 movement...some more birders picking their spot, waited a bit more, keeping myself busy trying to locate a Cetti's warbler. I counted at least four separate birds, and also hear four Water Rail squealing and actually had a view for a second if that of another, also a Fieldfare and Song Thrush were present, also 3 unidentified pipits, probable Meadow but still no Bearded Tits, despite much searching and five hours spent, no luck. So I had to go and check on some sort of "development" work I spotted in a field I mentioned in the previous post, so went and checked on that, sadly it looks like Earls Barton gravel works is going to get bigger, the elevation was just that an new access road (raised) that goes into the fields next to the restaurant and boarding kennels opposite the current entrance of the gravel pit.
 So today I opted to go down Pitsford Resevoir and check out a Short eared Owl spot, got a few Lapwings and a Sparrowhawk images from there and headed to the owl spot. As soon as I got out of the van I realised quite big flocks of Fieldfare, some were staying in the trees were I was stood, easily 75+ birds the rest heading towards Hanging Houghton. I opted for the field with a massive hedgerow were I was stood at the bottom of this hill with a big old oak tree (enough hints for some) I had just three Siskins in the oak which then flew into the pheasant field towards Cottesbrooke (no more hints), a few Bullfinches and Yellowhammer also flew over, but they're residents and not migrating. I didn't have to wait to long for the Shortie to turn up, and once it flew past a few times, it seemed quite happy in trying to hunt quite close, though I never saw it with prey.  One of the things I'm going to try with the Shorties this year is capturing the dive they do as they swoop down on it's prey. the images below are my first two attempts, but they staying quite small on here as I'm not 100% happy with them. The first one below is a bit too "white" underneath and the owls right wing is in the grass, the second one is more or the less the same reason, although I think it was a bit distant too, you can obviously click on the image to see the original size etc.


  1. These are brilliant Doug - exactly the style of image that I want this winter too. The light looks spot on so let's hope for more of that. I love the diving pose in these images and the two flight captures. Can't wait to see images that you're 100 per cent happy with.


  2. A stunning set of images Doug, and if you not totally happy with these then as Christian says I'm looking forward to your "improved" ones!

  3. The second one was just a little bit far away for my liking, the first one it's the wing in the grass, the frame before would've been perfect if it hadn't been out of focus :)Thanks.