Sunday, 27 July 2014


Typical, I go and say"July Sucks" with not much to photograph and I go and find my own Common Redstart...sod's law.
I wasn't really going out birding either, just a cycle ride and check a few potential sites. I went along the Lamport Railway line from Church Brampton/Kingsthorpe end with the intention of going up to the Hanging Houghton crossing and the up along to Cottesbrooke as Neil/Eleanor have been blogging about some great birds along here.
For those not from Northampton the Lamport Railway is a collection (not much of) of old trains with a section of about 2 miles of track the rest is a cycle path/footpath. It's very popular with many cyclist turning up in cars and then riding along it, not sure why people drive to where they're going to cycle it seemed to me a bit odd, I was a hero and cycled from my home in Eastfield...."man points". As I went past the sidings heading towards Merry Tom crossing (Merry Tom Lane) I was watching the numerous Common Whitethroats feeding of loads of flying ants when a flash of red whisked past my face, I even pulled my head back and slammed my brakes on fearing a collision, "what was that", I knew it was something different, Bullfinch, one of the many Robins, possible Kingfisher (I have had one or two along here), after about ten minutes and a lot of cyclist all I could hear was Bullfinch...hmmm, I was just about to move on when I heard it call I recognised the call straight away (it was disputing with a Chaffinch) and on the cycle path feeding off the flying ants there it was...
 It wasn't just cyclist I had to put up with, there was a pheasant shoot taking place, not an issue really for me I have seen many birds of prey along here including one Goshawk so the keeper is one of the good one's, but at the railway station there is a vintage steam gathering and this bloke was taking pot shots at Wood Pigeons I saw him down one before him and his mate clocked me and walked off. I'm sure they were only after birds flushed by the pheasant shoot, but me being me I was keeping my eye on them and the Redstart.
 After all the flushing and much searching for the bird I finally located it again, it seemed to be in one place all the time but given the fact there was me and all the cyclist not very "showy" this is the best I could manage. However I was quite chuffed to see and find my own Redstart, saved me cycling to Harrington which was on the cards when I set off.
There was some good birds along here to keep me entertained, mostly common stuff.
A Blackbird on a concrete bollard at Merry Tom crossing, with plenty of food, these were unusually approachable, with one coming with inches of my feet.
 What had been my bogey bird this summer (you have to have one), I just couldn't get a clear shot of them this year, Common Whitethroat, busy feeding on the railway line.
 In the scrub.....
 Fence post
 And a tree! Loads of adults and juvenile birds along here.
Plenty of Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Chiff-Chaff, Willow Warblers and these scruffy Robins.
 Sitting on the wire fence that keeps the public off the railway line
 And a juvenile Robin in the sidings sitting on a step.
 Also got some Song Thrush, plain bird but I really like the Song Thrush (Mistle Thrush too) I like their song/call.
This one feeding off the cycle path.
 This one was on top of a fence post, gutted about the two telegraph poles in the background, grrrrr!
And finally a PROPER bogey bird for me, scrubbed off the list. This bird has been on my list for ages now, with only images obtained of a bird on a feeder, YUK! Couldn't believe my luck either, it dropped down onto the cycle path right in front of me for food.....Great Spotted Woodpecker....I know common bird really but for whatever reason it was a big bogey bird for me and had been for 10 years!!!...head hanged in shame.
 Despite being in between a railway cutting hence flat light, I would have been happy just to get one on the ground, BUT IT GOT BETTER! It seemed not to bothered about my pressence which is odd for a Woodie.
Below is the full frame uncropped image just resized to 800 pixels along the longest side as it popped up onto a telegraph pole and tried to hide from what turned out to be a Sparrowhawk chasing Swallows.
 Awkward light of the setting sun I did my best to position myself but was truly petrified I would flush this weirdly approachable bird, I was unaware that it was hiding from something worse then me, this below is the edited version.....with gorgeous feet
So to summarise, one "summer" bogey bird removed off the list and one "bloody ages" bogey bird removed off the list and one migrant bird found foot fetish satisfied, as I cycled home I wondered how many birds pass through Northants unnoticed/unseen in spots us birders wouldn't normally go too...a total of 20 miles cycled too and I wasn't supposed to have been out "birding" either.
I have a week off work starting Monday so shall go back and see if the Redstart is still there, fingers crossed.


  1. Congratulations. An excellent day for you and an excellent post for me.
    Try playing with the shadows/highlights sliders you wont get rid of the telegraph poles but should reduce their impact.

    1. Thank you, I shall have a play later on when I get home.

  2. Wow Douglas!..that's what I call a good day, plenty of exercise, bogey birds ticked and a memory card full of stunning images. They don't come better than that?. Just brilliant!
    Don't forget to watch the GP (highlights... [;o{..) later, it'll top off your day perfectly!...[;o)

    1. It really did make me day. I think I would have been happy with just the woodie and whitethroats but the scruffy Redstart was a bonus.
      I had to pick up a friend from Leeds airport today in his car and was listening in the rain as we drove past Nottingham to the race on the radio, poetic justice:-)

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  3. Cracking day for you Douglas, great finds, great birds and great images ...... its why we do it !

    1. Thanks John it is so rare to get all three that makes up for a good birding day, so I was pretty chuffed

  4. Ah! You've satisfied my craving for feet, Doug!

    Fabulous to find your own Redstart - and get the images too!

    I love your juvenile Woody images!

    Whitethroat is a bird I don't manage to see and photograph too many of too, but blow me if I didn't have one in my garden this morning - a definite 'garden first' for me. Sadly I only got record shots before it departed.

    Hoping your week is going well - - - Richard

    1. Thanks Richard as I was watching the woodie I couldn't help going Phwoar look at them feet, it did get me some strange looks from passerby's :-)
      The week has been dull so far, the excitement of finding a Redstart has made everything look dull and plain.