Thursday, 28 May 2015


This post has been over two sites Moulton Quarry 23/05/15 and 25/05/15 and Quarry Walk/Pastures Farm 26/05/15 and 27/05/15.
I was hoping to post shed loads of images but it didn't quite work out as planned. 
MOULTON QUARRY 23/05/15: I arrived at the quarry and something wasn't quite right it was silent and not much flying around, in fact nothing flying around. Anything coming near the site was flying around rather then over the site. Even the Crows were coming over then quickly diving/twisting to avoid the quarry floor. I had been worried about the site for a while mostly the increase in motorcross bikes but also the amount of litter including drug paraphernalia (joint butts and plastic bottle bongs). The mystery was soon solved as I heard the all too familiar damp squib sound of an air riffle. Sure enough two 18/21 year olds taking pot shots at passing birds. BIG MISTAKE! I'm well known for my calm and measured approach to idiots (sarcasm applied), took a quick evidential photo and snuck up on the pair. Let's just say a foul mouthed 'me' had a few words the lad placed the newly purchased riffle in its carry case at this point I snatched it and things got a bit heated, what I will say is I walked away with no injuries and the riffle in hand which I handed into the police. Can't/won't comment about the other two's health. Unsurprisingly birds were very thin on the site, the Sandmartins were OK but grey skies meant no images I did get this Muntjac though
25/05/15: I deliberately gave the quarry a wide berth for one day just in case the two lads returned with 'mates' I also had to hand the riffle in and a statement to the police, though this wouldn't be my only encounter with the police today...I got to the site quite late and the sky was awful. I did a quick survey, watched a Little Owl, the Sandmartins and a Red Kite. Plenty of Blackcap's but sadly no images they're truly a massive bogey bird for me. I opted for a walk along the footpath that leads from Boughton to the quarry. It's a little gem of a footpath, think dark tree lined country lane
 It was a good choice as I could hear at least four motocross bikes, now there are two farm hands who ride around from site to site and are harmless and very respectful but also there's been an increase in 'forty somethings' going 'greenlaning' following bridle ways etc all legal of course but they could slow down a bit though and practice a ounce of self control. However once they get to the quarry they turn into absolute hooligans. I could hear four bikes tearing around and decided to make my way to the quarry for 'round two' however I had two surprise encounters on the way the first a fox
The second two fast moving motocross bikes both were police on their way to deal with it, I will be honest it was a relief. So I hung around the new spot. Found this Chiff-Chaff 

I could hear the bikes 'scatter' and chuckled to myself. I could hear two bike coming my way and instantly knew it was the police, the engines were revving in low'ish gears and we're taking their time getting to me. They stopped to chat and phone numbers were exchanged, before you shout nark, well fuck off I don't care. A lot of the unofficial/permissive footpaths have been blocked off by landowners to prevent the bikers. So if the bikers themselves respected the official right of ways and realise other people including horse riders use the footpaths and stopped using the byways as a race track then I wouldn't have to be a 'nark'. Once the coppers disappeared I got this Long Tailed Tit foraging for food 

QUARRY WALK 26/05/15: I opted to go to the Reed Bed. Skies were intermittently blue so Hobbies were the order of the day. Sadly I didn't manage many as they were distant and as always when they came close it was with either clouds or that horrible milky like sky. 

 I've opted to post this record shot of a Cuckoo and Hobby sat in tree together as yesterday (27/05/15) I told two other birders what I saw and wasn't believed and even though the Hobby is hidden and the Cuckoo out of focus but it's all there, just... 
The best treat though for the day came in the form of the very common Garden Warbler. Quite a plain looking bird but a very skulky bird and quite rare and hard not to get branches etc obscuring it. This one was very showy

I thought it was going to leap for the passing insects in the next image but it was just flapping it's wings
 Got to love this pose.
These with 700mm on tap were near enough full frame with only a miniscule of difference and cropped a little but what the heck I'm not sure I'll get too many unobsecured images...probably. 

I walked back along the river Nene beside the quarry. Found a Kingfisher, a Red Kite carrying a rabbit, couple of Hobbies, a House Martin nesting in a pipe at the lock probably the worst nesting site in the world if the water levels rise it's an overflow pipe to prevent damage to the lock during flooding etc. A stubborn horse blocked my path across the lock. I clapped, gestured, shouted, shoved, smacked, yelled some more and even used my phone  and a loud siren phone tone to move the beast, I couldn't get round it apart from eventually and nervously squeezing behind it, luckily it didn't kick out. 
 You can see the width of the path the horse was blocking, below is where I stopped to watch Black Headed Gulls and Terns hoovering up the thousands of insects, I also had a Hobby dive through and my first pair of Sedge Warbler, really struggling to locate any Sedge Warbler along this section of the Nene Valley. Yet despite BTO figures showing a decline in nesting birds last year we're not hearing much about their decline, is this because they're not as glamorous as the Cuckoo?
 A female Orange Tip, I think. Taken with my mobile phone so was quite pleased with the result. 

QUARRY WALK 27/05/15: not much was achieved image wise as I put all my eggs into one (two actually) basket and concentrated on Hobbies and Reed Warblers. Failed miserably on the Reed Warbler front and not much better on the Hobby front. My best efforts of the day or should that be worse? 
The below image is kind of what I am aiming for, vegetation etc as a backdrop but with light (it got very cloudy) and perhaps a better backdrop, it's a marker with hopefully better to come.
Got this female Reed Bunting too
The Cuckoo is still present but was boosted yesterday by the presence of a female (finally) I watched it chase the female around the site she didn't seem to keen, I did see it mate once, I was feeling sorry for this lone male so to have a female turn up was the highlight of my birding week. 


  1. Let's hope you put the buggers straight and they stopped straight.
    The shot of the cuckoo and hobbie is well up to my standard. No it's better, I have to highlight them.
    You had a very productive few days. beautiful shots as usual.
    How's the arm? I've been meaning to ask but didn't like to in case they had chopped it off.

    1. Cheers Adrian, the old Cuckoo is a very sly and secretive bird and at times impossible to get close too. The arms fine now and capable to deliver a left hook :-)

  2. A very comprehensive post Doug with lots to look at. I like the Garden Warbler images in particular, a favourite of mine and a very much under rated bird, the upright image is a stunner.

    Well done with confiscating the air rifle, I would like to be a fly on the wall if the two yobs visit the Police Station to reclaim there property, they should be made to purchase cameras instead !.

    1. If I hear one I'll always stop and try for an image as you can imagine I was pretty chuffed to get the images. As for the yobs they won't get the riffle back, it'll be destroyed as they've demonstrated they're incapable of using properly and safely, sadly to easy to buy them in the first place

  3. WOW! What a post with some great citing but scary moments. Yes I have yet to see or hear a cuckoo this year let alone see one mating!! I am in donegal all ready to go birding on Tory island with some of my bird class but alas the ferry is not going due to the bad weather. Now the sun is out here at present but the rain could be not far behind it and the wind is too strong. ferryman says it will not go tomorrow either!! A well planned ttrip gone wrong!!! Neverthe less, i have just been in contact with a gay I know in donegal and we are going to meet up so perhaps all is not bad. I can stay with another friend so perhaps if this weather would improve, we will get at last some birding done!! Anyhow, I enjjoyed all your post and all your bird and critter sightings with great photographs.

    1. Sorry, couldn't resist...Margaret, have you just 'come out'?...[;o{

    2. Lol, I was more concerned with Tory Island where ex-tory MP's roam free destroying everything in their path :-) thanks Margaret we seem to have the same problem with ferries getting my mum back to Jersey has been a nightmare of late. I remember as a kid going to Belfast and the boat sailed in treacherous weather.

  4. Well done for sorting out those two dickheads Douglas, I don't think I would have been so 'brave'? Let's hope that they've now seen the error of their ways and don't progress onto more powerful weaponry?

    A super set of images as per normal especially the LTT and the Garden Warbler. That's not a too shabby image of the Orange Tip from your phone either....[;o)

    1. That was my concern with the idiots but they were just a pair of numpties. Funnily it's not the first person I've confronted I beat one twat who walked onto the scrape at Summer Leys a couple of summers ago there was even a video of it floating around for a while which was funny to watch.
      I was quite happy with the results from the phone camera especially since it was windy I'm going to have fun with it during the summer

    2. Sorry should add the bloke on scrape also had a .22 riffle and not a random idiot walking on the scrape.