Saturday, 29 December 2012

Review of the Year-May

I decided to dedicate May as a seperate post (only one more after this post for a review of the year), I renamed May as MADCAP MAY. It was defiantely for me one to remember for various reasons. Spring and Autumn migration in Northants is for me important, as the summer months can be very slow for birds, it's a chance to see something special or just to see some waders on migration. In May this year it was definately a chance to see something special and waders.
Again the rain played it's part. VERY HEAVY rain brought flooding but also forced migrating Northern Wheatears to drop in huge numbers, it was worth getting wet,cold and windswept to see the spectacle of 80+ Northern Wheatears drop in thanks to the heavy rain at Clifford Hill GP, I even managed to find 3-4 Northern Wheatears up on the nearby Brackmills Industrial Estate. I also managed to get a few new birds in May. A Cattle Egret dropped into Summer Leys, ok technically it was on the other side of the road from the reserve so it goes down in the record books as "Earls Barton Gp" but it did mean I finally got Little Egret, Cattle Egret and Great White Egret all in my home county a "proper result". On Summer Leys the usual Little Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Oystercatchers were joined by Wood Sandpipers and Black Tail Godwits. I managed a "photography tick" up at Summer Leys in May too, the Cettis Warbler. I've seen and mostly hear these birds so many times but never managed anything better then a record shot, for what is a "plain Jane" of a bird I REALLY wanted to get one of these birds. I was stood on the old railway line with another birder who was walking his dogs, just chatting, as you do, and this bird was going back and forth, up and down the railway line singing it's heart out trying to draw the attention of any females, suddenly a female popped up on the other side of the footpath opposite the male bird, the male then performed a "mating dance routine", wings flapping, bobbing up and down calling like mad, meanwhile people just kept walking past, ignoring this amazing display, much to the amusement of me and the other birder (sorry I don't remember his name), we then watched the female fly over to the male and they both disappeared for a few seconds before the male reappeared. I had never seen this behaviour before so felt quite chuffed and honoured not only to see it but to be able to photograph it too, to see some of the dance moves from old twinkle toes just go and have a look in my Cettis Warbler folder on my website. There was an added bonus of  me and the other birder getting a Nightingale, if did only part of it's call and we both said in unison "Nightingale", we followed it's call as it moved down the river but only got to hear it and never actually saw it.



 What else did May bring to Northants, well I got another "photograph" tick in the form of a Little Gull, a cracking little fellow, shame the light was so appalling,as usual (thanks Blogger) from the Godwit down to the very dodgy record shot(last image), just left click to see the images in a better size. I hunted high and low for Hobbies, briefly getting 18 at an undisclosed site along with a Grasshopper Warbler not bad for a site that was basically a ELS scheme (much maligned the ELS schemes might be but this one site can show what can be achieved when done properly) but more about this ELS scheme in my last post, but Hobbies seemed to be in short supply this summer. Whilst searching for a decent Hobby site I ventured out to Titchmarsh Nature Reserve (not to be confused with RSPB Titchwell), whilst there I was busy scanning the skies when I got a new bird for me, sadly it never landed so I don't think it can count as a county tick, can it? A Common Crane, oddly it was on it's own, I was expecting Cranes to fly in flocks or am I wrong to assume that? It was very high up and can only get a very dodgy record shot. I didn't report it, why? Well sadly I went back to Summer Leys that day, told an unnamed "proper birder" what I had seen, it was dismissed as "fantasy" and even though I offerd to show him the image was greeted by the remark of "Don't need to see an image of it, I didn't see it, so I don't care"...I won't type what my reply was but afterwards the idiot packed his gear up, lodged a complaint with someone that I was "a violent sod" and now when I see him he can't get out of the hide quick enough. But I've already blogged about incidents like this before so won't dwell. But as you might be able to tell it was definately a Crane....I think :)
Just one more post to go and I''ll post it tommorow.


  1. A great month. And well done on that Cetti's. Cracking shot of a usually invisible bird.

    1. I think May was definately the most eventual, I was glad to get the Cettis, thanks Keith