Monday, 10 June 2013

STORTONS GRAVEL PITS

What a frustrating weekend, weather wise anyway. Saturday I got up nice and early, the sun was out and I was gathering my kit together applied some sun cream for my arms, pulled the curtains back....."where's the sun gone?" I thought in a space of half an hour it vanished behind some clouds which never lifted until the evening, briefly. So I was already to go out so opted to head for Cottesbrooke and hopefully some Swallows and Housemartins, sadly not many around as in previous years, couple of Swallows hanging around on phone wires but not as many as in previous summers. I'm hoping this was because of the grim weather and the lack of flying insects and check out the few houses and other locations in this small hamlet but also revealed not as many nesting House Martins as in previous years, not good, and the blame can't be put on residents knocking down nest sites (like so many sadly do) as they're viewed really positively in this location, a wander around the fields and public footpaths producded very little except two pairs of Buzzards and the locating of a Red Kite nests with a vocal female calling for food and the male getting into an aerial battle with a Buzzard. Sadly all images went into the recycle bin as they were all up against a grey sky, so I called it an early day and endured the qualifying session with the pointless Suzie Perry....anyone noticed on the BBC that it's a woman in charge of the sports department, we now have virtually no live coverage of fooball and motorsport BUT more equestrian events etc and more women "covering" F1. Shame my early prediction at the start of the F1 season (tyres) is still raging on, there I was thinking F1 is a sprint race and the ELMS series was endurance racing and looking after tyres......
Sunday was chores day...well the garden hadn't been cut for over a month ("honestly darling the long grass benefits nature at not because I'm lazy" wasn't cutting it with her indoors anymore). I whipped around the lawn quicker then Seb Vettel on decent tyres but sadly the front garden has a big square in one corner of un-cut grass as the mower did a "Caterham" on me and blew it's motor much to the amusement of one neighbour...bugger!Off to a DIY superstore for a new mower on the way I snuck a quick drive-by of Stortons Gravel Pits (near Northampton Town FC) and like what I saw...unlike the purchase price of the new lawn mower (what a rip-off) nor the people blocking aisles and wandering around like zombies aimlessly looking at "products", I hate shopping, I got back and finished off the remaining square patch, packed away and grabbed my camera "back for the GP" was the last words the other half heard as I bolted for the door, even Messrss Bolt couldn't have stopped me....my excitement, despite the scattered grey clouds, was the number of swifts in the air, BUT also a Hobby giving chase to them.
I pulled up into the small car park and instantly saw up against a grey skies a Hobby over the football stadium, sadly every time the Hobby appeared so did the grey clouds, I did manage a few record images that I kept of it catching one swift, a patch of blue sky appeared and I managed a few "high-up" swift images but they were very skittish and weren't coming down low over the lake, the Hobby and distant male Sparrowhawk kept them high.....

So I had a wander around, heard a couple of Water Rails in the very separate locations, quite a lot of Cettis Warblers too, a few Reed Warblers,Garden Warblers and Sedge Warblers, I also watcthed a male Kestrel hovering next to the Cobb's Way before heading over towards Upton Mill, not too bad of a walk around, plenty to see and hear, giving the urban sprawl surrounding the site, photographically it's a bit hard as it's properly wild and if hadn't been for this Common Whitethroat I wouldn't had much apart from record shots, though oddly I really like this site and next "sunny and blue sky" day I'm revisiting...
 Now the above image is "slightly" different to the first Common Whitethroat image at the top of the blog (the angle of the tail...lol) and have posted this and the below images of the adult birds all taken from the same location....something odd was happening.......

 There was three different adult birds feeding the juvenile Common Whitethroats of which there was four juveniles sitting in the bush waiting for food. At first I thought maybe two broods but despite watching for at least a couple of hours (I was in a good spot for any Hobby and Swifts images and wasn't moving) and it appears to be two males and a female feeding them (what do you reckon judging from the images, one is very "worn" compared to the other two), I've seen juveniles Common Whitethroats feeding smaller siblings before but not three adults, can anyone offer up any explanation as I haven't got a clue, but was wondering if it was a case of two broods?

The below image is of one the more braver of the four juveniles, quite happy and bold enough to venture out into some less cluttered parts of the vegetation, even trying to snatch insects off of the lichen covered branches.....
I should point out the nest site wasn't as close as the images suggest, I did have a focal length of 700mm. Got home watched a vaguely interesting GP, maybe I'm suffering from "motorsport" fatigue this week with ITV4 doing a good job of their highlight package of the Isle of Man TT, but for once I'm wondering what sort of race I shall be watching at Silverstone.....time will tell I suppose but at least I won't have to endure Suzi Perry, even the traditional traffic nightmare is more appealing then Suzi's rubbish "punditry", anyone notice she's better on highlights shows then live?

13 comments:

  1. Susie Perry is totally useless and annoying with it.
    You had a pretty successful weekend in the end. The Whitethroats look to have provided plenty of entertainment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Adrian. Yeah sadly S.P is for me wrecking my enjoyment of what coverage the BBC has of F1 these days, I don't mind the other woman she seems to get the right question when doing an interview (except for Kimi.R...hardly her fault though) should say anyone going to the British GP the park and ride service departs from Storotns Gravel Pits and is definately better then trying to get in by car, the bus has it's own lane so only gets held up ouside the circuit.

      Delete
  2. Whitethroat on the green gate, a stunning image mate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Paul, swap it for a Little Owl flight shot any day:)

      Delete
  3. Great set Doug, especially those Swifts.
    Can't help with the feeding conundrum though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Keith, I think last nights Springwatch and the Long Tail Tits they featured may have answered the Whitethroat question, apparently another realted male bird helps with the feeding duties to gain acceptance in the flock during winter months so perhaps it's a similar thing with the Common Whitethroat

      Delete
  4. Interesting post Doug! Very impressed by the Swift images - tried the other day at Rutland Water, but didn't get enough light underneath. Sorry - can't help with the Whitethroat question.

    I've now given up on this year's F1 series. Have decided that there are more entertaining things to do at a weekend. They nearly lost me when they had the awful Janathan Legard on the commentary team but, between then and this year it came back to life, although I missed Martin Brundle's witty turn of phrase last year. I find, this year, that I'm just not excited by the racing or the commentary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Richard, the light can be so tricky with Swifts I find early or setting sun even though not as strong as midday sun is better as it sits slightly lower in the sky.
      I'm so close to giving up on F1 too just waiting to see what the British GP is going to be like

      Delete
  5. Some very nice whitethroat images there doug! Hope to see you around some time soon :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Tom, I'm doing "continental" shifts, 4 days on-4days off, my next/first day off is this Sunday and weather permitting I'll be up at Summer Leys, I want to see this new lens you got:)

      Delete
  6. Tom I got your other message, it's just you put your moblie number in the comment and I'm not sure wether you would want it published etc, I'll text you Saturday night.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Haha yeah I forgot about that :/ but yeah ok :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good afternoon, I wanted to talk with you more regarding this post. Birdfeeders.com, for whom I work,is looking for the best bird photos on the net, and we'd like to discuss our 'eye is the sky' badge with you. Would you be able to contact me at ernieallison63@gmail.com ? I'd love to discuss this further with you, if you'd like.


    Thank you,
    Ernie

    ReplyDelete