Saturday, 3 December 2016

Next Indoor Meeting


Our next indoor meeting is on Wednesday 7th December 2016 when club member Dave Jackson will be leading the presentation on the Bird Club excursion to Southern Africa earlier in the year. 

Audience participation is anticipated as we learn of the thrills and spills of this wildlife extravaganza as club members started their safari in The Cape with a flat calm pelagic trip followed by lots of bird-watching, African mammals and similar beasts!

As usual the start time is 7.30pm sharp and our venue is the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir situated off the Brixworth Road just outside Holcot village (NN6 9SJ). Hot drinks and biscuits will be available all evening and this is an open meeting for members and non-members alike.

Members of the committee look forward to seeing you there!


Neil M

Black-browed Albatross
courtesy of Dave Francis

African Cattle Egrets


Hi everyone,

Just a brief reminder,

Hopefully entrants will be collating  their images in preparation for what is possibly one of the best
meetings of the year.
So photographers please read and adhere to the new rules as set out on the blog, also check out
John's post from 30th October.
You can now enter 3 captioned pics, so enter into the spirit and let's see some funnies.

Last year, as you probably know, only 1 vote separated the overall winner so your votes really do matter.
This will be the second year The Graham Soden shield will be awarded so will Dave hang onto it
or will someone else win?  It's your vote.

Hope to see you all at the next meeting,  The Bird Club's South African Trip presented by our own
Dave Jackson, one not to be missed!

Friday, 25 November 2016


Hi folks, if you hadn't noticed Nick Parker has kindly reformed our header tabs. We have now all our photographic competitions under one Tab.

Nick has also provided a couple more tabs for members use, For Sale/Wanted and
Other Northants Wildlife.

So if you would like take advantage of these you can contact Nick or myself (

Saturday, 19 November 2016


It seems that these days Peregrines are seen quite widely in Northamptonshire. But back in the good old days they were and still are  regarded as an iconic species  but an awfully lot rarer.

Most views even now are brief and usually distant especially when they are hunting, but I always
feel privileged on seeing a 'Grin'.

Yesterday at Pitsford Water, Dave J, Wendy and myself watched a Grin for over ten minutes.

It wasn't perched neither was it hunting it was messing with the corvids. Now the large numbers
of corvids harass and make life difficult for most of the Buzzards, Kites, Hawks etc, at Pitsford.

This Grin turned the tables , actively just winding the crows up and when they got too close his
talons showed who was boss.
His twist's and turns were great to watch but when he dived no crow could live with it, superb !

Each time the corvids thought they had got rid of him he returned for more fun.

Also on show has been up 5 Great White Sharks,  just joking, lots of Little Egrets and the odd
Green Sandpiper Kingfisher and Otter.

Its good to know that every now and again those pesky crows get sorted.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Images from Spurn


Jacob Spinks spent part of his half term break last month with other young ornithologists at the migration hotspot of Spurn. There were plenty of migrants to watch coming in off the sea and a good number of scarcities and rarities too. Jacob was fortunate to find individuals of Tawny Pipit and Little Bunting himself. The following images were taken by Jacob during his time there...


Neil M

Dark-bellied Brent Geese


Long-tailed Duck

Common Redstart

Black Redstart

Eastern Black Redstart

Long-eared Owl

Snow Bunting


Friday, 4 November 2016

Hugh's Walks Daventry CP

Thursday 3 rd September, Hugh, John, Richard, Tricia and myself (Ken) met at Daventry Country Park for a stroll around the reservoir.  
The wind was a bit chilly crossing the dam, but once in the shelter of the trees it became more pleasant.  There were the usual gulls and odd 
heron, great crested grebe, tufted duck, wigeon and coot first thing  Hugh could hear skylarks and bullfinch early on but these were not 
seen.  Robins & blackbirds were constantly around as were crows and pigeons.  We eventually spent some time overlooking the scrape on the far 
side, where we found three snipe, two green sandpipers, shovellers, numerous gulls, tufted duck and wigeon - the call of the latter is a 
wonderful sound.  We met Garry Pullen (I hope I've got his name right) who could not add to our sightings on the far bank. Continuing on 
long-tailed, coal and blue tits, together with several good sightings of those adorable goldcrests.  We eventually made our way back to the 
car park through some lovely autumn settings.
Thanks once again to Hugh for arranging the walk and the others for making a very enjoyable morning.

Ken Scales.

Looks like you chose a really nice day and had a lovely autumnal walk Ken. Thanks for this.

If any other members have something they would like to be posted on the site just let me know.  Robin.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Changes to photographic competition rules

The photographic competition for 2016's photos will take place on 1st February 2017. The rules are broadly the same as last year as nobody has posted any comments on the proposed changes. However there are some changes which have been made necessary because we are having an external judge and his availability and mine is limited over late December and January. Please note the following:

1 Only photos submitted on CD/DVD or memory stick (the medium) will be accepted. (No emails will be accepted).

2 The closing date is the Bird Club Social on 13th December 2016.

3. All photos must be put into separate folders for each subject category and a clear list of subject and location supplied with the medium. This list can be a Word file on the medium or a legibly written list on a sheet of paper with the medium.

4. Up to three photos can be entered into the caption section (formerly it was only 1).

These rules will not be waived for anyone.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Indoor meeting 2nd Nov


Our next indoor meeting will be on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 when our guest speaker will be Tim Mackrill of the Rutland Water Osprey project. Tim will again provide a presentation on the project to introduce the unique Osprey to the skies of the Midlands, providing some additional information and an update from his previous talk to the club.

As usual our venue is the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir (NN6 9SJ) and we start promptly at 7.30pm with a few notices and then on to the guest presentation. Free hot drinks and biscuits will be available during the evening. We invite and look forward to meeting both members and non-members alike.


Neil McMahon


Monday, 24 October 2016

NBC Monthly Birding Trip

Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk,  was the meeting place for this months venue. On arrival all the
off road parking spaces were already taken, so we opted to park further up the lane. This was not
as easy as you might expect, the lane wasn't that wide and the verges quite narrow.

Eventually parked, we ambled down the long track toward the dunes. Mark had made us aware of two rare wheatears that might be available so hopes were high.

Good job we had a bit of nosh or "nosebag" as Dave Young would

 call it, before we left as it was a fare trek.The weather was very kind, bright and sunny with a slight breeze. But as a budding photographer a bit contrasty (one excuse).

Isabelline Wheatear

The first rare Wheatear we came across was a Isabelline. A rare eastern vagrant, a second for
me within a week as I had seen the Spurn bird earlier. Shortish tail accentuated by long legs
upright stance with a prominent dark alula , possibly the best features to look for.
Most people with a telescope had good views but it was flighty (excuse two). We only managed
distant shots.

The Stonechats would have looked like this, but with no leg iron

Two or three nice Stonechats performed but as I didn't want to incur the wrath of others they
remained distant.

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Moving on the mobile Desert Wheatear was more obliging giving nice views, a more confiding
bird altogether but it nearly caused altercations amongst a couple of photographic plonkers.

Satisfied with the rather cute Desert Wheatear we wandered back toward the Isabelline.
However the small crowd we joined were waiting for a Pallas's Warbler. As ever Mark was quick
off the mark pun intended in locating this little gem. A gorgeous little thing preening in the
bushes. How these tiny mites ever arrive here is just amazing!

John and Wendy

Reaching the Isabelline again but it was still remaining distant. Slowly but surely we made our way
back when ever observant Mark noticed a couple of Grey Partridge slowly wander across the adjacent
field, this number magically rose to 5 or 6.
Now this bird has been in decline in recent years so I was quite excited to get some images even
though they were not that close and in high contrast light.

Last of the summer wine

Wandering up the narrow lane towards Bob's transport I could not believe the parking of vehicles after we had arrived. Virtually in the middle of the road with wing mirrors still stuck out, no way would a tractor have been able to get by.


A group of Waxwings  had been seen at Burnham Norton so that seemed a good place to go. Just behind a picturesque windmill a small  flock were perched in bushes.
Within a couple minutes a sparrow hawk appeared, whoosh the lot took flight.

Oops gotta go

Moving to Hunstanton cliffs where a short period  of sea-watching was performed then off home
to watch the recorded F1 qualifying.

Many Thanks to Bob Gill as always and for Trish and John for their pleasant company.