Saturday, 29 November 2014


I was getting a bit of cabin fever the last few days. The weather has been so lousy sitting it out in the shed, if you thought it was boring reading and looking at images from my urban garden in the last post, how do you reckon I felt.
I like getting out on my bike, exploring what's around and visiting the less popular sites, I can handle grey skies for photography as long as the grey clouds are reasonably high it's not a problem, I even love frosty mornings. But I can't stand misty, murky and damp days. This has been the weather around this way for the last few days.

But this morning I thought I'd venture to the lakes and reedbed behind the Ecton sewage works. It's an interesting area and the last few winters Siberian Chiff-Chaffs and Bearded Tits have loitered. It's not to far away from my home in Eastfield if it was to rain hard I wouldn't get that wet . I knew having looked at the weather forecast photography was going to be limited so along with the binoculars I dusted the scope down and squeezed it all into the camera bag.
I went via the Billing Aquadrome marina and up into Cogenhoe and entered the site via the campsite. A few vaguely interesting birds like a Greywagtail and a Grey Heron were near the canal locks at the campsite. I crossed over the small concrete bridge scanning the hedge and the wooded section. The track leading to to the lakes was boggy to say the least, pushing the bike was a real struggle an inch of mud and leaves coating the tyres and clumping up the brakes....ah cycling! Plenty of common birds, plenty of Fieldfare, a Cettis Warbler heard but not seen, a few wrens were the best.
I made my way up to the reedbed, hoping for Bearded Tits but not before washing the mud off the tyres in puddles and "un-clumping" the brakes with a stick. I had a quick look up the stream at the entrance to one of the lakes, just mallards, moorhens, kamikaze swans (more to come on that) and a Kingfisher.
I got to reedbed didn't hear nor see any Bearded Tit during the two hours I was there, but got a very vocal Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, another Cetti's Warbler and a Wren in a voice off with each other the Cetti's obviously won that one. Got the camera out, 1/10th a sec shutter speed (ISO 1600,500mm f4) so didn't bother just sat and watched as Wren bullied a Cetti's Warbler chasing it around the base of the reed stems. A smaller flock of Fieldfare flew over head and up the lane towards the very nearby A45. Also got a crow bullying a Sparrowhawk. I walked up to the next "pool" were I managed to get two Snipe.
I sat on a concrete bridge that crosses over a ditch which carries what I guess is the treated water from the sewer works. This as I sat is where I stumbled across the kamikaze swans. I know fellow birder/Blogger David James has encountered these here too. The swans fly low around this area and occasionally expect you to move out of the way. I watched in both terror and awe at two Mute Swans flying up the ditch one quite a safe height, the other straight at me at head height and not making any real effort to gain height.

It passed over about 3 foot above my head, so glad it didn't drop a present!

After about an hour I headed back to the lane walking parallel to the ditch and field, got another Cetti's making it three for the day. I headed up the lane and stopped at the concrete bridge where the ditch meets the river and flushed a Green Sandpiper that was resting on the concrete embankment, wasn't expecting that so was happy to see it but gutted I flushed it.
The weather wasn't improving so headed home but not before having a quick look at a pocket park on a housing estate called Ecton Brook. Quite impressed, I got Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker, it's an interesting park worthy of another look next time I visit the sewage farm.


  1. Those are stunning Swan shots. You should have left your bike hat on.

  2. Thanks Adrian was grim out there yesterday, luckily I didn't need the bike hat.

  3. Thanks Adrian was grim out there yesterday, luckily I didn't need the bike hat.

  4. Hi Douglas, we have all been experiencing grey days of late so today was a nice surprise. You made the most of the day with those cracking Swan shots, well done.

    I had a wander around Titchmarsh and met a guy who knows you, he was off to view the murmuration. He told me that he has alerted you to the log pile at Maidwell for the Stone Chats that you passed on to me !

    1. Cheers John, if it's who I think it is, probably Stuart Mundy. Yeah he pointed out the chat as we chatted lol. Good birder and nice bloke.

  5. Blimey, those swans are a bit cheeky!
    Cracking shots Doug.

    1. I was worried, very worried. I was chuckling and praying as it came closer and closer.