Thursday, 10 August 2017

Birds, birds and more birds

Peregrine, Summer Leys 
It's been an odd summer in the county and before Autumn migration kicks in we've had some cracking birds.
Though I've not seen any regular Hobbies, at the start there was the usual gathering of hobbies and good numbers. I had 8 at a regular spot, then nothing. I see the odd bird but it worries me somewhat the lack of birds.
I've seen 3 different Ospreys during the summer. No luck photographing them. Forget lousy skies and blah, blah, blah. I'll be honest every time I see it I'm just too excited lol.
8F (ring tag) seemed to be the most frequent visitor to Welford but on one day I had two Ospreys over the resevoir (1J) the third bird and only saw it once was tagged with just "32".
Regular readers will know this isn't the first summer Ospreys have stayed in the county, so please next year, breeding please. And I'll get some practice in.

Summer Leys has been interesting with regular Bittern sightings and Great White Egret showing well.
At the start of the summer, I was hooked on this site, until the gravel company stopped access due to damaged generator.
A great big ugly hole, to the untrained eye. A really good variety of waders dropped in. My favourite was the Grey Plover as you don't get many opportunities for Grey Plover around here. Little Ringed Plover successfully bred. I counted eight nesting birds.

I also learnt the difference between 'Tundra' Ringed Plover and 'normal' Ringed Plover.

The Tundra is the female with the sticking up white feather. I was lucky that 1) Mike Alibone was via Twitter helpful with identification 2) I had Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover and 'Tundra' to initially compare the slight differences in size, subtle but obvious.
Whilst laying on my belly grabbing wader images I was entertained by a Skylark depositing it's foetal sacks in the grass behind me.

Even dropping down on the raised earth bank I often hid behind, crappy image though a wonderful sight be seeing so close
 A pair of Yellow Wagtails were also on the site and stayed past the time they normally migrate off. Soon enough I saw them always returning to one particular spot. Definitely a breeding attempt but due to not being able to get back onto the site I can't confirm if it was successful or not.
Given so few Y'wags breeding in the county I was more than happy to find another pair to add.

 There was plenty of Sandmartins and of course Pied Wagtail.
Little Egrets all from Summer Leys
 This one is full frame and uncropped at 500mm focal length not sure how I didn't clip it's wings
Reed Warbler, Summer Leys

 Juvenile Reed Warbler

This is my favourite record shot ever as I never knew nor seen a dragonfly catch a moth mid-air and predate it.
Sedge Warbler, guess where....Summer Leys

 Treecreeper (juvenile)
 Grass Snake
Last ones from Summer Leys are juvenile Starlings

I found this lane whilst out looking for owls, it is a dead end with a huge cattle farm and a extremely chatty and friendly farmer. We got talking about all things and Spotted Flycatchers which surprised me. He pointed out he has three pairs (he does as well) but despite 6 birds only one juvenile fledged the nests!!!!
Bit of a theme going on, juvenile Spotted Flycatcher

I love and equally hate this next image, juvenile Starlings
Also present were Swallows. Honestly I've never seen so many Swallows. The farmer reckons he's got over 30 nests on his property. He ain't lying either, every time a sparrowhawk turns up and flushes them up I estimate 100+ birds!

A Common Tern from Welford Reservoir
Pied Wagtail too.

A female BlackCap, errm a juvenile.

 Ringed Plover from Holowell Reservoir
 Guess what, juvenile Dunlin from Holowell Reservoir

And finally a Barn lol


  1. A veritable feast of super images, Doug! I can see why you like the image of the Emperor dragonfly with the moth - an amazing sight! I also find the images of the wagtail with the damselfly interesting too. My favourites - well, it's a toss-up between the Peregrine, the first Yellow Wag, and the Barn Owl.

    I hope you are keeping well. Take good care, and bring us another post soon, please. Best wishes - - - Richard

    1. The moth predation was fascinating. I was watching how the Reed Warblers were ignoring that actual moth (honestly I thought it was a butterfly but was helpfully corrected) and watched via the lens it fly off and the dragonfly swoop in and catch it in it's mouth, not it's leg. I so wish I was holding a video camera

  2. A great set of images Douglas.
    Fingers crossed for the breeding Ospreys...I look forward to seeing the photos!...[;o)
    What a shame that big 'muddy puddle' has become off limits, it looks promising! Could you not use your considerable charms and have a word with the gravel company about special access?
    You did well capturing the Emperor...capturing it's lunch. Superb skills from both parties!
    I'm a bit jealous of the Grass Snake shot...I've yet to see one swimming.
    Excellent post and images...{;o)

    1. Sorry or the late publishing Trevor, had some blogger issues.
      Sadly due to the vandalism it's a no go, I've tried asking but met with a firm 'no'

  3. Just caught up with your recent stuff.Great Mart.

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  5. A fantastic series of shots Doug. I wonder if the juvenile we saw at Summer Leys was the young of your pair?


    1. Not a million miles away Matt, so could well be.