Friday, 23 February 2007

Bird news

Friday, 23rd February
  • A large number of (unseen) siskins heard calling in the pines north-west of the osprey building at lunch today - a bird conspicuous by its scarcity thus far this winter (Mark Ward)
  • 10:45. Nice views of a buzzard low over the front of the house before flying away over the Yew Tree Car Park (Planning and Regional Policy Team)
  • Morning: 2 buzzards flying about over the edge of the quarry (Katie Fuller, Ellen Collier, Mark Ward)
Thursday, 22nd February
  • 13:20pm. Red Kite low over the tall tree and pines across from transport. Only glimpsed briefly before it drifted away over the quarry and out of site but forked tail quite unmistakeable. (Carl Simms)
  • A Red Kite from the front of the House at 1.15 added some interest to an interviewing session (Graham White)
  • 1 red kite from my window, which drifted over the stable block and then down over the quarry (Sally Webber, Steven Roddy and Mairi Dupar)
  • Emmelina monodactyla (plume moth) at Osprey porch (Nigel Willits)
Wednesday, 21st February
  • A peregrine flashed across the quarry this morning at 10:40, scattering five stock doves - which I thought was notable in itself! A little egret came into Warren Villas at lunchtime today as I watched from the Plateau. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Morning: Sparrowhawk displaying and buzzard flying over the quarry edge (Katie Fuller, Mark Ward)
  • Morning: Three buzzards and two kestrels thermalling over the Avocet/quarry car-park (Mark Ward, Katie Fuller, Lucinda King)
Monday, 19th February
  • Muntjac ran across the drive just after 6pm (Nigel Willits)
  • 2 Buzzards over the swimming pool/garden late afternoon, being mobbed (IKD, DFD)
  • Pair of stonechats still in the setaside field opposite the Gatehouse at lunchtime today. Male kestrel hunting overhead, 68 lapwing over south west but best of all, a close encounter with a hare! (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 3 buzzards circling over the Lodge on Monday lunchtime (Sally Webber, Sue AB)
  • Three buzzards along the southern edge of the Lodge, between the quarry and Stratford Road, at lunchtime (Grahame Madge and Graeme Lyons)
  • Unidentified raptor, almost certainly a peregrine, seen extremely briefly close to the group of three buzzards at lunchtime (Grahame Madge)

Friday, 16 February 2007

Bird news

Friday, 16th February
  • We saw a pair of stonechats on the field across the road from the Gatehouse, and west of the bridleway, during a guided walk this morning. About 50 fieldfares on Sandy Heath, uncountable flock of redwings in the tree nursery, and one buzzard over Sandy Ridge field. (Neil Renwick)
  • This morning at 8:50, c.500 golden plover were over the Ivel Valley before heading back south, presumably to their traditional haunt in the fields to the west of the A1. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Thursday, 15th February
  • Buzzard gliding along the back of the reserve viewable from the top end of Stratford Road. 12.30pm. (Grahame Madge)
  • Red Admiral flying around outside the canteen at lunchtime. (Paul Donald; Lynn Giddings)
  • Grey Shoulder-knot at Osprey porch; Red Admiral & fairly large bumblebee (Bombus lucorum perhaps?) outside canteen at lunchtime. (Nigel Willits)
  • Female sparrowhawk patrolling the quarry area this morning (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday, 14th February
  • The presence of a muntjac doe and a well-grown fawn just outside the window in the afternoon prompted much cooing from the occupants of the Avocet building. (Lesley Norman, Katie Fuller, Lucinda King, Jo Treverton et al.)
  • 25-30 Redwing in weedy field below heath plus pair of Mistle Thrush. (Nigel Willits)
Tuesday, 13th February
  • Two brambling (1m, 1f) in mixed flock of c.55 skylark and c.60 chaffinch at the Borage Field this lunchtime. The number of chaffinch increased to c.120 on Thursday. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Monday, 12th February
  • Pale Brindled Beauty on north Snipe wall. (Nigel Willits)
  • Red Admiral by house (Lynn Giddings)

Friday, 9 February 2007

Bird news

Tuesday 30 January
  • Little grebe in the ditch below the Heath today. (Grahame Madge) Saturday 3 February Two brambling with the mixed skylark and chaffinch flock in the borage field were my only reward for the two hours I spent grilling every lark I came across this morning, but again, no sign of Chris's woodlark. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • c. 50 skylark and 60+ chaffinch in the borage field at 3pm on Sat. In different places though - the skylarks were sticking to the open top of the field, within 100m of the quarry track, and flying around low between feeding bouts (at perfect single shelf height..). Couldn't pick out the woodlark among them, but not 100% certain it wasn't there. The chaffinches were further back, almost at the far field edge, where the weeds are taller - and moved from here to the hedge by the Potton road (Guy Anderson)
Sunday 4 February
  • During my wander around The Lodge this morning, I encountered two male blackcaps. One was in sub-song from an ivy-covered tree along Stratford Road; the other was in the Memorial Garden near the house (Katie Fuller)
Tuesday 6 February
  • Again, two brambling were in the tree belt that runs between the Borage Field and the quarry this lunchtime. When I arrived, the skylark flock got up, circled the field twice and headed high off to the west, making counting them much easier - 53 of them in total (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday 7 February
  • There were similar numbers of skylark (c.50) again in the Borage Field at Sandy Heath yesterday lunchtime, feeding happily in a sheltered corner of the field with a similarly sized chaffinch flock. At least one brambling amongst them. No sign of the woodlark, but we were very reluctant to get too close to them as they fed so happily, especially in light of the predicted conditions (Guy Anderson & Darren Oakley-Martin)
Thursday 8 February
  • A brambling by Avocet Carpark in the lunchtime snow today (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Friday 9 February
  • A pied wagtail on the roof of the Avocet Building this morning was the only bird of note (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Nuthatches have been frequent visitors to the webcam bird feeder this week, especially during the snowy weather. (Katie Fuller)

Friday, 2 February 2007

Bird news

Friday 26 January
  • One redpoll spp. heard flying overhead at the south end of the reserve by the view point to Warren Villas. (Graeme Lyons)
  • At dusk, two woodcock, north to south over the quarry. (Grahame Madge/ Darren Oakley-Martin)
Monday 29 January
  • A single lesser redpoll with 31 chaffinch and nine goldfinch in the paddocks on Stratford Road this lunchtime with a second great spotted woodpecker drumming nearby at the southern end of the reserve. Four gadwall in the ditch at the bottom of the heath were my first here. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • At dusk, another woodcock over the quarry carpark, this one came from the general direction of the gardens and headed west over the quarry. (Steve Blain, Stuart Geeves, Ian Hayward, Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A woodcock in flight across the Sandy-Potton road before dropping into the field on the east of the road just before I turned into the entrance to The Lodge on the way in to work this morning - presumably disturbed from the newly-cleared heath on the reserve. (Mark Ward)
Tuesday 30 January
  • A male blackcap gorging on ivy berries on Stratford Road this lunchtime. As I watched it gave a brief, half-hearted burst of song. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • A little egret preening and roosting at Warren Villas this afternoon was visible from the Plateau carpark. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
Wednesday 31 January
  • The first morning of woodpecker drumming I have noticed - 4 or 5 greater spots heard this morning - 2 drumming and chasing each other near the gate at the bottom of the heath, 1 distantly from beyond pond on the heath, and 1 or 2 from the west along Stratford Road. Several green woodpeckers active along Stratford Road, but not yaffling. (Ian Dickie)
  • Goldcrest bathing in the pool right in front of the hide and two great spotted woodpeckers flitting about. A sparrowhawk landed in brambles to right of hide, dropped down in front of second pool before flying off to back of field. (Helen Brandes)
  • On a reconnaissance visit for Guy's Thursday ringing session at the Borage Field, around 150 fieldfare, 30 redwing, 40 starling, 50 chaffinch and a record count of 55 skylark. (Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • Large (50+) flock of chaffinches in weedy field at bottom of heath at about 1 o'clock- too distant without scope to pick out brambling or anything, but could be worth checking. Also c.40 fieldfare. Spring usher on the western wall of Osprey Building (Nigel Willits)
Thursday 01 February
  • This morning during a ringing session on Sandy Heath, Chris Bowden found a woodlark with the sizeable wintering skylark flock. This is particularly appropriate, given that Chris spent five years studying their breeding ecology on forestry plantations in the Brecks during the 1980s and '90s. Originally picked up on call by Chris, the bird was also seen by Guy Anderson, Dave Buckingham and others towards the eastern side of the heath. The Skylark flock appears to have splintered into smaller groups than the sizeable flock that was present yesterday. (pers. comm. DOM)
  • A single brambling with chaffinch flock at the Borage field this lunchtime (Nigel Willits)
  • Female merlin chasing a skylark was the highlight of a lunchtime walk around the Borage Field. (Darren Oakley-Martin & Mark Ward)
  • Song thrush singing quite loudly at 1.35 pm in the trees above the snowdrop garden below the wall. (Judith Emmerson)
  • 5 Canada geese (first spotted by Ellen) heading low north over the avocet car park this morning from our window. (Mark Ward)
Friday 02 February
  • A much paler spring usher at Osprey porch this morning and a sparrowhawk seen patrolling woodland edge west of Osprey building late morning for 2nd time this week - a regular route perhaps? (Nigel Willits)
  • Four of us spent an hour before work this morning looking for the woodlark on Sandy Heath. Unfortunately we failed to find the Woodlark but there were plenty of birds in the area. Five grey partridges, two bramblings, c.50 Fieldfares, c.15 Skylarks and a handful of Meadow Pipits being the highlights. (Steve Blain/ Katie Fuller/ Mark Gurney/ Darren Oakley-Martin)
  • 70 redwings flew low north across the avocet car park outside my window this morning. (Mark Ward)
  • Red kite over gardens, fairly low. (Derek Niemann, Lindsey Smith, Kate Smith et al.)
  • For anyone wishing to look for the woodlark, around lunchtime would appear to be the best time. Again today, the large flock of skylark was feeding in a tight flock in the middle of the borage field, just below the ridge. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in the short time I was on site, but two bramblings were in amongst the chaffinch flock. Early morning seems to have the flock widely dispersed across Sandy Heath. (Darren Oakley-Martin)