Monday, 27 July 2020

Wildlife BCN Summer Leys :: 27 July 2020

Before lockdown my wife's car was booked in for a service and we had to push it back due my travels to work in Russia. Scheduled for my return it was then postponned due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Today was the day for it to eventually get it's service, some five months overdue. We take it back to the garage we bought it from and so we found ourselves in Northampton at 10.00am.

The rain had been falling in Banbury and all the way to Northampton - we therefore had no real plan as to what we'd do. Having handed the car in we opted for a drive and to sit looking at the meadow by the car park at Wildlife Trust BCN's Summer Leys Reserve.

We turned into the car park and the rain had slowed to a few spots; as we parked up, it stopped altogether. We decided that we should make the most of this interlude and jumped out my car, then headed across to the main body of water. From there we could see c.27 swifts, large numbers of common tern, 26 mute swans, 31 cormorant and 19 greylag geese. A few house martin appeared in amongst the swifts. As we peered to the opposite side we spotted a lone green sandpiper, then two great white and four little egrets.

Common tern

The sun decided to make an appearance so we opted to take our chances and go for a bit of a walk. We reached the Paul Britten Hide (looking back towards the Pioneer Hide) and could see a third great white egret, several sand martin and, in one corner, a single oystercatcher. As I took a photo of the great white egret, a grey heron in the background could be seen handling an eel that it had just caught.

We went on further to the next viewing screen, but didn't spot anything more of significance. As we returned to the car park, drops of rain started to fall and as we drove off the rain started falling again - our timing was impecible!

Great white egret

Sightings (30) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, canada goose, carrion crow, common tern, coot, cormorant, goldfinch, great crested grebe, great white egret, green sandpiper, greenfinch, grey heron, greylag goose, house martin, lapwing, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, oystercatcher, sand martin, starling, swift, tufted duck, woodpigeon and wren.

Nether Worton :: 19 July 2020

It was forecast dry and so Charlotte and I decided to take a bit of fresh air. YellowhammerI'd previously enjoyed a walk with my eldest daughter around Nether Worton and suggested we take the same route. We set off along the gated road and enjoyed butterflies to our left and right. As we passed the turn for Over Worton I suggested we look for a path that made a future circular walk in the other direction.

We walked to the end of the road and from the corner could see a family group of whitethroat flying back and forward across the road between trees on our right, and the hedge on out left. Just on from here we could hear skylark in the fields and then had a yellowhammer over. There were also a couple of warblers in the bushes by the stream but we couldn't see them well enough for an ID but think they were reed warlber.

We turned left along a track and left again to circle the hill, now passing through crops of barley. It had rained the night before and so our shoes soon started to pick up mud. As we crossed a small stream we entered a small coppice and heard a number of species of which goldcrest and blackcap we our best. The goldcrest stayed out of reach and thwarted any decent photo. We stepped out from the trees to see a jay on the wing to our right, flying along the treeline and landing in some distant trees - although we saw movement we couldn't get a good view of the bird.

We forged on an when getting back close to the gated road we had better views of yellowhammer and a skylark that was trying to draw us away from it's nest. We had more butterflies here and some interesting flying beetles.

Back onto the gated road we spotted a green woodpecker in the gardens to our right, but the sighting was only fleeting and again no photo possible.

Finally, as we approached the church, I could see two spotted flycatchers on the wires to the left side of the road. As we got closer thet flew off with one heading down the driveway of the ajoining cottage. As I reached the driveway, I was surprised to see the bird sitting waiting on the gate. I took a couple of photos before it left and then took a couple of steps forward, in hope that the bird might return. It did, not one minute later - what a confiding specimen! A magical encounter.

Spotted flycatcher

The species we noted (21) on our walk included: blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, goldcrest, goldfinch, great tit, green woodpecker, grey heron, jay, lesser black-backed gull, red kite, rook, skylark, spotted flycatcher, swallow, whitethroat, woodpigeon and yellowhammer.