Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Just after I got home from some early shopping this morning I saw that I'd received a text from Kat Everitt telling me there was a Hoopoe showing at a fishery just south of Woodford Halse in Northamptonshire.

Although I'd seen one some years ago at Clayhanger Marsh it had been too far off for decent pics so I thought I must go for this one if it was still there.Studied the map to decide on the best route and grabbed my gear but when I checked with Kat to see if it was there I was told "No sign".

As I had got ready to go out I thought I'd better go out somewhere so I headed off to Shustoke reservoir.Just as I arrived in the car park I got another text from Kat telling me it had just flown in.Dam and Blast !!!! I'd contrived to drive 15 miles further away from it and had left the map at home.Wonderful !!!

Undaunted off I set trying to remember how to get there which is a dangerous game for me these days as my memory is pretty crap.I did well most of the way but when I got to Byfield on the A361 the road I had to take was closed and I was sent on a massive diversion route that abandoned me in the Northants countryside.After a lot of heavy duty swearing I stumbled on the the fishery but only thanks to some very poorly parked cars in a narrow country lane.

Some bad news awaited me when I joined about a dozen birders.It had been spooked more than an hour ago by the fishery owners dog that got very close to it and it had not been seen since.More swearing ensued.

I stuck it out for a couple of hours but there was no sign by 2.00 PM so I left.Dipped on my first twitch for years and had managed to drive over a 100 miles and did not even switch the camera on.Feeling very sad now and I can feel tears forming in my eyes but that may be caused by seeing the excellent shots taken yesterday.

Thursday, 24 October 2013


Since the excitement of getting very close to the Arctic Tern last Tuesday week at Shustoke I have failed to see any decent birds locally despite going out with the camera several times.

I've been to Brandon Marsh,Shustoke again and to Marsh Lane three times but have hardly used the camera.Last Saturday Brandon Marsh was very quiet not only on the birding front but also despite the decent weather it was very quiet on the birder front with non of the usual crowd about.Did see my first Goldeneye of the winter but he stayed a long way off but still nice to see.

Didn't see anything exciting on my visit to Shustoke reservoir.The Arctic Tern had gone and I missed the two Whooper Swans.

On each visit to Marsh Lane the ponds were alive with birds but I couldn't find anything exciting.I did find a Jack Snipe at the far end of the marsh by the Oak hide but annoyingly it was asleep and well hidden in the hour I waited for it to move so no pics.We did think we had something special when we spotted this chap flying round the car park pool but in the end we had to agree it was a hybrid of some kind and not a White  fronted Goose.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013


After doing some early morning shopping on Tuesday and seeing that for a change it was not raining I decided I must get out there with the camera and try and get some shots.I decided to head over to Shustoke Reservoir to see if the Arctic Tern was still about.

Parked up by the disabled car park at just before 11.00 AM to find it a bit gloomy and damp.I had a bit of luck straight away when I bumped into Dave Hutton who told me it was still here but right down the other end of the reservoir but "don't worry it will soon come back and land right in front of us"

Blow me down if it didn't fly in just a few minutes later and land on one of the concrete posts at the water's edge.It was so obliging letting us get very close as it preened not at all worried by us being only a few feet away.Despite it being very gloomy I managed a few shots.

For the next couple of hours whilst I was there it kept flying off but returning after not too long to land on the same post.It often flew over our heads sometimes within touching distance catching flies.What an entertaining bird.

Mind you I didn't do too good with flight shots although I had lots of chances.I need the sun out and behind me before I get decent flight shots.This is all I managed.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Had a couple of quick visits to Marsh Lane this week on Monday and Tuesday both at lunchtime.

On Monday the most interesting thing was the number of Common Snipe about with 20 on the grass in front of the car park hide and a further 25 on the grass to both the left and right of the hide.I couldn't count the number on the islands but when some one said he had counted over 70 in total I wouldn't want to argue.

When I first entered the hide a birder there told me he'd had a Jack Snipe on the left hand island but he'd lost it in the undergrowth.I searched but never saw it.

On Tuesday the only show in town was the now long staying Bar-headed Goose.It entertained by having a good wash followed by some water top running. 

Sunday, 6 October 2013


Have been down to Marsh Lane for quick visits during the week and each time was lucky enough to see the Hobbies.I saw two together but a friend did see four one day.I was a bit surprised they were out and about because the weather was pretty grim most of the time.Too dull for any decent shots but got these two in the rain.

On Saturday morning I went over to Brandon Marsh for the first time for a while but it was a bit of a mistake as it was very quiet and the camera was not used once.Luckily there were quite a few friends there and the chat helped us to get over not using our cameras.

I noticed that the volunteers had made a start on getting rid of the weed that's choking up the Carlton pond.What a job that is.Good luck to them.I also noticed that the same weed is spreading down the pools in front of the Newlands screens.

I left Brandon at lunch time and called in at Marsh Lane on the way home.Saw a Common Buzzard just after entering the car park hide but as usual it drifted away.What was unusual however it suddenly drifted back and flew pretty low over the hide pathway.

After a walk to the Oak hide to see if the Hobbies were about (Surprisingly they weren't .Have they gone ?) I headed back to the car park hide where this young lady was spotted resting up on one of the islands.It was a female Mandarin Duck which I was chuffed to see because not only had I'd not got a shot of one but I had never seen one before

She started to move around a bit and had a good preen before going back for another rest.Lovely bird.