Saturday, 29 August 2015

BRAMPTON VALLEY 29/08/15

My birding day didn't start until late, very late in birding terms. I had to get some essentials for my bike. A decent waterproof cycling jacket and trousers for the wet days ahead. I don't mind getting caught in near tropical downpours, you ain't a proper cyclist until you've ridden in the wet. Yet I am getting wet a lot. Which ruins the day.  Whilst shopping I was seriously tempted by a bike brake disc conversion kit, seriously tempted, sick and tired of ye 'olde brake block set up, serious fade in the rain, bigger stopping distance in the wet, horrible squealing after rain and mud jamming up between wheel rim and pads....another day perhaps.
So my birding itself started at the quarry about 4:30'ish (told you it was late), bugger all but Chiffchaff and 3 scrotum's and motocross bike so didn't hang around. So made my way to the dam wall at Pitsford, again unusually quite so ventured down via Merry Tom lane to the Brampton Valley and the vintage railway line. Here's my route a 7.1 mile long detour.
Someone's been  chopping down the elderberry bushes just at the start of pathway from the crossing where's their normally Goldfinch and Blackcap, so not much here. There was an adult and two juvenile Greywagtail at the iron bridge that I photographed earlier in the year. Spotted the Barn Owl in a very distant tree and it never came hunting whilst I was there, though it did look healthy but no young that I could see. On the map is the number 2 on the pathway it's the crossing between the two fields (gates) over the railway line where I promptly skidded to halt as I heard a quail, definately a quail in the bean field. Couldn't see it but it was close it didn't call again and had me wondering...a bit late in the year for one (isn't it?). But you don't mistake a quails call. But there was a lot of activity in the hedges that caught my attention. In fact everywhere I looked something of interest in good'ish numbers was flitting about in the hedgerow and on the tracks.
I counted 5 separate Lesser Whitethroat adults mostly and one juvenile.
Lost count/interest in the most numerous (chiffchaff) when I heard calling and coming towards my way.  Whinchat,  out from the bean field 4 in total, this dodgy incoming Whinchat.
 And this Whinchat, scruffy individual and image wasn't much better.
I counted at least 6 Yellowagtails but with fading light not sure of ages/sex but as I was tracking them I caught a red flash in the corner of my eye, this exact location last year I had a 'red flash' and a Redstart however there's numerous Robins along here. I waited for another cyclist to pass who flushed it up. Thought it was,  lol, but a Female Redstart.
So that's one in the spring and one in Autumn both by pedal power. Still the female looked bang tidy like. In fact there's a scruffy one too and I think a third but definitely two.
I heard a Cetti's Warbler which has to be the furthest I've heard one from the Nene Valley, I could hear it calling all the way along the meandering river and up to the station obviously the 19:30 to Northampton.
In the rapidly fading light I caught glimpse of three what I initially thought were Wood Warbler but obviously the fading light played tricks as it was three Willow Warblers, can't grumble.
The other bird weirdly of note was Chaffinch quite common all Finches along this section normally well represented actually so to see so many was perversely 'notable' as there was loads flitting around as were the flying red ants. Hopefully the 'starts will be around in the morning yet it's the Whinchat's that roll over and add an extra tick on my "Birds on my bike list", slowly creeping to 120.

10 comments:

  1. You managed a good number of 'ticks' from your evening bike ride Douglas...and a lovely image of the Redstart.

    Yep, I think you should go for that brake upgrade, think of the extra time it will give you when you have to come to a quick stop to photograph that 'rare' as it pops up in front of you? And we might even see some purple sector times popping up on that lap tracker too?...lol!...[;o)

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  2. Cheers Trevor I'm looking at the bike framecatv5he moment to make sure there's mounting holes for the disc conversion, which there is, it seems straight forward enough....famous last words. The hedge was buzzing with birds last night.

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  3. I like the incoming shot.
    I didn't realise that they still made bikes without disc brakes. Apparently they are excellent for Jag dodging.

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    1. I think eventually discs will become standard, though even they can't stop old men in jags from driving into you lol

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  4. A bloody Osprey just flew over me when I was driving on the A43. I couldn't believe it mate

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    1. Are you sure it wasn't a grey heron lol.

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  5. An amazing set of sightings for a bike ride, Doug! I love the images, too.

    I can remember when you used to be able to get bikes with some sort of hub brake that used to come on when you peddled backwards. I can imagine one of these used to brake a lightweight wheel from high speed - it'd probably end up with the wheel twisted down to half its diameter!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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  6. Thanks Richard it was an enjoyable ride. Now I'm showing my age now as I brought back from America with me exactly the type of bike/braking systems you refer to. I remember always pulling 'skids' and wearing through tyres look they were going out of fashion lol

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  7. Surprisingly we haven't bumped into each other Doug, I've been birding that area a lot recently. Got to admire your dedication peddling your way around, I'm too old, too fat, too unfit and most of all too bloody idle! Nice post, again.........

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    1. I have to do something to stop my bulging waist line lol. I'll keep my eyes peeled for you, I watched a Little Owl chasing some of the small birds down there the other day.

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