Monday, 26 July 2021

Napton Reservoir :: 18 July 2021

It was the British Grand Prix weekend and so we changed our mind about going to Summer Leyes as it was bound to cause us trouble on the return journey. Instead, Kevin Heath and I headed for Napton Reservoir - I've been fortunate here with water rail sightings and this is still a species that has eluded us both this year. I've also had regular common redstart.

We arrived with a mist still over the water and a few fishermen in tented structures - presumably had done a night session. We set off and saw a family of ducks where mum looked as if she may have been of mixed parents. Over our left shoulders a sandpiper flew ahead, landing on a muddy edge of the water. Through our bins we could see it was a green sandpiper, but it stayed only long enough to establish that, and then it was off - it would only have been a record shot in any case. Where I have connected with redstart previously, a number of trees appeared to have been removed - needless to say, no redstarts today.

We watched a magpie riding on the back of a sheep and saw that the ewe was not enamoured with this idea. The magpie could care less and seemed quite content for the sheep to take the strain.

Magpie on sheep

We rounded the end of the reservoir and started down the back side of the reedbed. We stopped to watch a family of wrens working their way along the hedge when a bird in the bushes behind us flitted around but just out of sight. We could hear chiffchaff calling but the bird seemed larger than that. Soon it showed to be a female blackcap.


We walked along and saw two song thrush ahead, then bullfinch, willow warbler, chiffchaff, dunnock, reed and sedge warbler. A family of reed warblers showed really well, and we watched as the adults came in to feed the young.

Reed warbler

This stretch was alive. We heard what we believed was a water rail to our left and at one point I got a bit excited when I saw it, although a fleeting glancee and not the full head - well I didn't as eventually the bird showed as a juvenile moorhen - damn.

Overhead we had a juvenile great spotted woodpecker - it moved ahead of us each time we caught up. As we headed back, we spotted a tree with an interesting hole which had all the signs of owl and some tell-tail signs - I must pop up one evening to check this out.

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