Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in the world of Suffolk lied the Shire of Lakenheath.
In this realm once flew the most beautiful of birds the Golden Oriole but as time
went on they lost their way and were not seen since some years.
And those that mourned their passing did not live happily ever after.


Or is it,............

Three Hobbits and two lassies forged their way to this sad and forgotten land and were
enthralled to find a splendid Kingdom of marsh, fen and woodland.

Eager to explore, Trish and Wendy set off to see what birds they could find in this
green and pleasant land. Leaving Bob Mark and Robin behind, they soon found themselves
looking at a wondrous Bittern

Meantime the Hobbits decided to search for the smaller inhabitants of this realm.
Raised flower beds by the entrance were worth searching, for here hiding was a Sulphur
beetle and a small leaf cutter bee.

Notice the blue eyes

We could hear the now rare call of the Cuckoo, but the girls saw it flying over.

The Hobbits heads were down finding a superb micro moth, the second for the shire.

Alder signal Stathmopoda pedella
Slowly moving on after dislodging the stones from between our toes us Hobbits found more goodies

Flecked General a rare soldierfly
Golden bloomed longhorn beetle 

The girls were looking at Kingfishers and Bearded Tits,

Ater a couple of raw Conies later a wifi rider told of six Common Cranes flying in our direction.

The Cranes are almost resident now in the shire, but not satisfied with these the girls watched hobbies hawking the fens.

Not to miss out The Hobbit trio were dancing with the revelation of an absolutely stunning

metallic Musk Beetle nearly two inches long Bob wanted it as a pet.

Marsh Harriers also hunted the fens and breeding Whitethroats were rushing to bring up their

Now weary from our exploration we had to be careful not to be attacked by Robbers and one of the largest Horse flies in the Suffolk world.

A huge Large Marsh Horsefly
Give me your money   my precious

We will all sleep well tonight,  Ni Night.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Indoor meeting Wednesday 7th June


Just a reminder that our next indoor meeting will be this coming Wednesday evening when our guest speaker will be Conor Jameson with his presentation 'Looking for the Goshawk'. This enigmatic, secretive and difficult to observe raptor is always high up on any birdwatchers 'want to see' list and locally the phantom of the forest remains a mythical beast!

As usual the meeting will commence at 7.30pm at the usual venue of the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir just outside Holcot village on the Brixworth Road. If you find there isn't enough parking by the lodge please drive down to where the fishing boats are moored and park there. Hot drinks and biscuits will be available during the meeting. We hope to see you there!


Neil M

Friday, 19 May 2017

Logging in Denton Wood


The following is a message from local naturalist Jeff Blincow...

'The Forestry Commission is currently logging in Denton Wood in the bird breeding season. Several people have expressed their concern and the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust BCN are involved. I am surprised it got as far as Newts before the Police became involved.

I was hoping that other people could contribute. I am aware that the bird club is not a pressure group but a few emails of concern would not be difficult, either from the club or from individuals.

If you are members, please contact the RSPB and Wildlife Trust to show concern or offer support.
Contact the Forestry Commission -  this is the thin end of the wedge - once they can do it and get away with it then it will start happening elsewhere.

Contact Carly at the Chron & Echo who has yet to get back to me. 

Make positive suggestions and please forward this to others that may be interested...


Neil M

Monday, 1 May 2017

House Martin survey

From Ben Reeve, Assistant BTO Regional Representative for Northants

Hi all,

We hope you're enjoying the arrival of our summer migrants; the county has plenty of Warblers in full song, waders visiting our reservoirs and Swallows overhead. Here's hoping we'll see a higher number of House Martins in 2017!

Sadly, as you may already know, House Martin numbers are in steep decline so in 2015 the BTO launched a specially designed survey to gather vital information to help understand them better.

Hopefully you'll be aware of last year's House Martin nest study even if you couldn't participate. It was originally going to run from 2015 to 2016 but last year wasn't considered a typical year for House Martins so the nest study has been extended for another year.

Do you have House Martins nesting on your house, close by or somewhere else convenient where you will be able to monitor them regularly throughout the season?

If you can answer yes to the following questions we’d love you to take part in the survey –
  • Can the nests be viewed safely (from ground level or from a window) without causing disturbance to the birds?
  • Is the site convenient to commit to visiting regularly throughout the breeding season until September (ideally once a week, with an occasional break being acceptable)?
  • Could I obtain the site owner’s permission where necessary?
Surveying can be very satisfying and enjoyable, this nest study in particular is straight forward and will provide useful data that may help to explain the species’ decline. Below is a list of useful links which should help you decide if you can take part in the survey. We're also more than happy to chat to you to help with any reservations, concerns or general questions you may have.

House Martin appeal
Nest study info
Video tutorial
Sign up / log in
House Martin ID video

If you can’t take part in the survey there are other ways you can help, the appeal needs to raise funds to make up a shortfall and you can donate here.

We’d very much appreciate you giving this some thought. House Martins are in danger of being added to the Red Data list and you could really help by spending 15 minutes a week over the coming few months.

All the best,


Ben Reeve
BTO Assistant Regional Rep for Northants
7 Rectory Close, Crick, Northants, NN6 7SY
Email: benreeve@outlook.com
Twitter: @NorthantsBTO
Personal Twitter: @BeardWarbler
01788 824413
07961 038455

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

NBC Scotland Trip

Just a few shots from our long weekend in the Scottish Highlands.

Some of the group, Mountain Hare, Pine Marten, Red Grouse, Black-throated Diver, Osprey & Mistle Thrush.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Ringing recoveries


Eleanor was greeted with a hunting Barn Owl, two Yellow Wagtails and two Wheatears in the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton first thing this morning...

Some recent ringing recoveries have come through from the BTO Ringing Unit and kindly disseminated by our local ringing secretary Nick Wood...

W24716 is a ring fixed on the leg of an adult Mute Swan on 5th April 2008 in Leicestershire. The ring was photographed by Cathy Ryden at Guilsborough Fish Ponds on 15th March 2017 where this bird is the male on territory. Cathy successfully photographed the ring on this bird at the same venue in 2015 so these small ponds are clearly his own back yard. This bird is at least eleven years old.

A male Fieldfare was caught and ringed at Pitsford Reservoir on 30th December 2011 (LC22169) and was sadly killed by hunters on or about 15th January 2017 at Trainou, Loiret, France. Although the simple distance between the two sites is 530km clearly this nomadic bird had travelled many thousands of km during its life.

On 28th July 2016 a young Blackbird was ringed by a Swedish ringer at Vanbo, Smedjebacken, Dalarnas Lan near Kopparberg. This bird turned up in a mist net at Milton Keynes Community Orchard on 20th February this year where it's gender was confirmed as a female. In 207 days this young migrant travelled a minimum of 1347km and probably wintered in Milton Keynes.

Yellowhammers are generally considered sedentary so when John Woollett caught and ringed a female at Astcote on 8th January 2015 and this bird was found dead in the village (believed to be a road casualty) on 17th March this year it wasn't particularly surprising. It is a shame that with small birds many of our recoveries are only recorded when they become a casualty.


Neil M

Mute Swan.


Courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Yellowhammer courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Images of spring in Northamptonshire


The pictures say it all!

Neil M

Kelmarsh Estate woodland,
images courtesy of Lynne

Tit nest and eggs in a Kelmarsh
nestbox, image courtesy of Lynne

Little Ringed Plover,
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Tree Sparrow, images
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Nestling Blackbirds,
image courtesy of Chris

Drake Garganey at Hollowell
Reservoir, courtesy of
Cathy Ryden.

Snakes Head Fritillary
courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Lady Smock, courtesy of
Cathy Ryden.

Male Bullfinch,
courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Female Bullfinch,
image courtesy of
Cathy Ryden.

Greenfinch, courtesy
of Cathy Ryden.

Yellowhammer, image
courtesy of Cathy Ryden.

Marsh Tit, image
courtesy of Chris Payne.

Singing Dunnock, courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Oystercatcher, image
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Indoor Meeting 3rd May


On Wednesday 3rd May 2017 Rick and Elis Simpson will be providing an introductory presentation on 'Waderquest', a project for wading bird enthusiasts intent on raising the profile of wading birds and their protection.

The meeting will start at 7.30pm as usual, commencing with notices and an opportunity for a hot drink and biscuits. The venue will be The Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir, Brixworth Road, Holcot NN6 9SJ.

All welcome!

Neil McMahon


Sanderling and Oystercatchers.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Environmental issue at Milton Malsor/Blisworth


A plea in relation to a local environmental concern on the south side of Northampton...

My name is Brian Sumpton and I have been a RSPB volunteer for over 30 years.

I am currently working on wildlife issues for a group called stop rail central. I am sure many of your members will know about the proposals to site two massive Rail Freight Terminals near junctions 15 and 15A of the M1. If these go ahead almost 1,200 acres of farmland will be lost to wildlife. Whilst this area is not of major importance for birds it is classed as supporting habitat for the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits SPA. Notable birds include overwintering Golden Plover, (500+), Lapwings and Skylarks.

As a part of our fight to stop these proposals going ahead we have a petition that will go to the Secretary of State for Transport. Could I ask if your members would be prepared to sign a petition against this proposal at norailinterchange.co.uk

Andrea Leadsom our local MP and SoS for the Environment is supporting us.



Sunday, 19 March 2017

Indoor Meeting 5th April


Our next indoor meeting is on Wednesday 5th April when club member Paul Fuller will kindly provide an illustrated presentation on the wildlife of Tanzania, a stunning country in East Africa famous for many wildlife chronicles.

Even committed birders with cameras can't ignore the amazing mammals of this African arena and I'm sure Paul's images will reflect this with a cross-section of creatures prepared to be photographed.

As usual we start at 7.30pm and hot drinks and biscuits will be available and all are welcome to our venue at the Fishing Lodge, Pitsford Reservoir.


Neil M


Spotted Hyena