Thursday, November 29, 2012

Waxwings, Elton

A large flock of Waxwings has been building up around Elton Furze at the north end of Bullock Road. With blue skies today it was too tempting and I nipped out there at lunchtime. I reckon there were 60-80 present mainly feeding on hawthorn along the edge of the golf course.
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Blyth's Reed

Last night I got a call to look at a photo of a warbler taken at Ferry Meadows Country Park on Friday by Roy Norris. Cetti's Warbler was suggested but it was clearly more like a Reed Warbler. No sooner had I posted the link on the newsgroups did I have a call from Chris Batty of Rare Bird Alert explaining it was virtually certainly a Blyth's Reed Warbler, an extreme rarity from central Asia. This would be the first for Cambridgeshire and one of only a handful of inland records.

Today I should have been manning a climbing tower at the Trek Kits open day in Oundle but high winds and flooding meant I could get to Ferry Meadows for a search. Another 10 or so birders were there but we had no luck.

This Chiffchaff was very showy though and there was a rather pale-headed Long-tailed Tit among a flock of more regular birds. I've included the only poor shot I managed of the pale one along with another for comparison.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita

Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sir Peter Scott Walk

Not often been to the Nene Mouth, which is odd as it isn't that far away. Today was gloriously sunny so we headed back to the wash for more Brent Goose action. A good flock of Twite were here along with a few Water Pipits. Plenty of waders and wildfowl, gradually becoming more distant on the falling tide plus several parties of Common Seals, some quite close, numbering up to 50.

Surprised to find there is a still a small wildfowl collection at the lighthouse where Sir Peter Scott lived. This included 4 Red-breasted Geese and some Snow Geese types. The original collection moved from here to Slimbridge when he left kicking off what was to become the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.


Common Seals, etc.

Digiscoped with Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77 x32

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Short-eared Owl

During one of my regular vigils of the Nene Valley from home this morning I was astonished to locate a Short-eared Owl circling high above the water meadows (Fotheringhay parish). It headed off west and I thought it that was the last I'd see of it as it continued to migrate. However at 10:30 it was back flying high again, this time heading south. Presumably looking to linger at some suitable habitat.

Unexpected garden tick: 109th species seen from home.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Waxwings, Fengate

Reported from Fengate this morning, I relocated a flock of 28 birds opposite Activity World this lunchtime. Virtually no light for photography unfortunately.

Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77 x20

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

An excellent day at Frampton Marsh RSPB in beautiful weather. Several Twite, Siskin and Redpoll flying over, a couple of Hen Harriers and plenty of waders.

Canon Powershot A640 and Leica APO77 x20 (flight shot with Canon EOS 500D 70-300mm IS USM).

Ravens again

Brilliant sight of two Ravens low over the house this morning. They were close together, 'interacting' and calling. The second time we have had them here now. Personally I'll be very happy for them to become a regular sight around here, but I think it's about time the county records committee dropped it as a description species.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Triller Thrillers

Well a Waxwing invasion seems to be well underway. Hundreds being reported acoss the country and three small flocks have flown over my office in Peterborough today. There should be many more to come as it is quite early in the winter to be seeing so many. Listen out for the distinctive trilling call.

The search is now on to find some lingering around here. Keep an eye on any berry-laden trees: they are especially fond of shopping centre carparks for some reason!


Read about this trip, and many more, in this month's issue of Birdwatching magazine.