Wednesday, 29 June 2016


With some time on my hands I've been out and about regardless of weather,which has been lousy and un-summer like.
My little stretch of the Brampton Valley has been quite productive bird wise including a breeding pair of Yellow Wagtails which apparently is the only reported pair in the county (so far) ! That should be sad news but I'm staying positive and just hoping others haven't got round to reporting any others (I hope),  as yet I've struggled to get any images that are worth publishing.
Though I've managed some of a Grey Wagtail in it's usual spot.

 Of course the Barn Owl has been active and surprising unsuspecting joggers/cyclists/walkers as it crosses their path. Which in itself is quite interesting to see other people reactions.
Alas it's always been overcast on my visits so tampered with the WB in the field, not 100% with the results, what do you think?
The first one in glorious sunlight
 These two on really overcast and late in the evening

My favourite part of the day in the valley has to be just as the sun rises over the hill and everything starts singing.
Everything from Skylarks, Warblers, Yellowhammers, Song Thrush and more common species.
I got lucky with one Blackcap that hang about to do a spot of busking.

And plenty of Robin juveniles, this one was sunbathing.
And I'll probably get this one on the same gate when it's older lol
A couple of visits to Welford has produced the Osprey but either too far away or lousy skies. It hasn't hung around either always only stopping for 10 minutes or so.
I've also had a solitary Oystercatcher and three Common Sandpipers, normally I can find both Spotted Flycatcher and Yellow Wagtails here but found neither, just a Treecreeper and Kingfisher were the other highlights....poor picture of an Osprey

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


I've had another interesting night with the Barn Owl. Unlike last year when there was only one owl hunting in the valley this time there's two. 
From a toggers perspective it means the owl hunting goes further away from the nest confident there's someone guarding the young. 
Though with my birding head it means hopefully young will leave the nest unlike last year. 
So from tonight one sequence of the owl taking a catch back, I think it's a rat not sure, my mammal id is worse than my butterflies...then I'll get to why I need your help

 A heavily cropped image of prey.
Okay why I need your help. Especially if you have or monitor sensitive birds. 
I can't say much at the moment but tonight I came across a really dodgy fellow in a copse on an undisclosed Lane. Call it paranoia but when I arrived circa 17:30 the car rang alarm bells as did the occupant. 
So I kept a watching eye on him. I watched him drive very slowly upto 8 times up and down the lane, perhaps a birder in a car, loads do, I do. 
When I left I saw his car parked right near both a Kestrel nest and Little Owl but couldn't see the occupant. Topography of the area offers uncluttered views over a large area. 
Me, being me took some photos of the car, just in case then had a look through the windows, I was suspicious lol. 
I stopped laughing when I saw what was in his car, I was no longer suspicious and straight onto the phone to the police as soon as I'd finished telling them what was going on (at least 5 minutes) the bloke stood up from inside the copse. And said I'm not doing anything wrong. 
Again me, being me I challenged that "you're on private land" he comes towards me and reckons "I was tired and getting some rest there's no reason to involve the police" he's still walking towards me telling me he was just having a nap!!! Now the copse firstly has a barbed wire fence stopping people, then it's overgrown with brambles and nettles...a proper jungle. So that confirmed what I thought he was doing, sleeping!!! He's still walking towards me, so I warn him when he got to circa half a foot 'stay away' he carried on so I  shoved him at this point the voice in my ear (police on case you forgot) said 'I need you to take a step back' so I DID, but the bloke comes towards me, so I shoved hard enough to put him on his arse. He then goes and grabs a duvet from the bush, but rest (sic) assured it's not for sleeping, remember I saw what was in his car (can't disclose), so use your imagination for a moment, say you wish to remove a fragile egg and drop it or perhaps young birds without getting scratched and transport them away, anyway he wasn't sleeping in fucking stinging nettles and he quickly fucked off, the police reaction was 100% spot and got called back too from a wildlife crime officer, there is always a 0.0000000000001% chance he wasn't doing what I know he was doing afterall given the proximity of the lane to the copse and the amount of lycra clad women who run past he could've been preparing for dragging and raping a woman into the copse.
Look here he forced the barbed wire fence down with big branches (which was also in his car) to climb over (would a man looking for a kip do this?) there's blatantly 'track' marks leading to the two nest sites. I've sent photographs on her request etc but she's also alerting relevant 'owl groups' and she mentioned a name that filled me with confidence, so apart from a brief description to follow the help I need is to keep your eyes peeled for this fella alert anyone with sensitive birds on their patch to keep a sharp eye out especially those neighbouring counties to Northamptonshire, given the birds in this copse (Kestrel and little owl) I reckon it's more a case of attempted theft rather than 'killing'  Rest assured what I saw in his car convinced me in a nano second what he was up to let's say 99.99999999999% certain :-) 
So he was 5ft 4 to 5 ft 6 approximately 
Quite overweight say 17/18 stone, dark hair middle to long in length a bit 'Teddy' boy/60's style, late 50's early 60's in age. Cloaths can be changed but on this night he was wearing quire smart blue jeans and 'dinner'/suit jacket . 
His car. Nite a birder who frequents nature reserves l, coastal areas, lanes, fields even my car hasn't got that much bird shit on the car!! 
If you own the car perhaps explain to me why you choose to sleep in this? 

Monday, 20 June 2016


I had a few issues with the last post which I decided to delete as I was on my way to Jersey.
Thanks to Richard Pegler for pointing out that they looked a bit washed out, which they were. PLEASE if you spot something or wish to recommend an idea etc please feel free. I don't get offended, after all I'm not a professional so welcome genuine feedback.
Intially I thought it was the fact I for the first time I put the images onto my smartphone then whilst waiting at the port done the post via  my phone.
However all the images I took since look washed out! I then looked deeper. I lent my laptop out to a friend to edit images. My screen settings had been adjusted and the colour profile on the RAW developing programme had been changed. I also looked at my sensor as that had been cleaned recently but the sensor looked fine.
Hopefully the issue has been resolved but I'm not convinced it didn't help that the only images I've taken so far have been of a pair local Barn Owls in less than favourable light. I'm not happy with the tweaks I've done with 2 of the offending images (any better?)

It's a shame the Barn Owl never came close but at least this year there is two Owls in attendance as last year there was only one feeding young, should be interesting hopefully. Better light would be nice and despite texts from Mr.Z and Stuart Mundy I have to say it's still using the original nest box not the old building.
This one coming over the disused railway gives an idea how dark it was getting.
This is the best of a bad bunch.

 I like the pose on this one, luckily the people who stopped to watch didn't see where it flew to its nest, not that they posed a threat. The assembled group were delighted to see it as was I.