Friday, 15 December 2017

Vinehouse Farm Birdwatch Events


We recently enjoyed a presentation from Nicholas Watts MBE, mostly associated with his wildlife-friendly farming business at Deeping St Nicholas in Lincolnshire. There are two 'Winter Birdwatch' events at the Vinehouse Farm complex early next year, Sunday 21st January and Saturday 3rd February. Tickets are available at £5 each and can be booked by 'phoning 01775 630208 or on-line -


Neil M

Tree Sparrow
courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Reed Bunting.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Post meeting synopsis


On Wednesday we were well entertained by Chris and Caroline Ward with their presentation of the birds and wildlife of Australia (Part 1 Queensland). Judging from the comments, plenty of the audience had been to the same part of the world and were able to relate to many of the images and the dialogue delivered by Chris. 

Their trip to Australia had been a three month extravaganza all accommodated cost-wise because they completed a short term house and vehicle swap. So while they were enjoying the sunshine of Australia, an Australian couple were enjoying the delights of Milton Keynes. I think I know where I would rather be of the two!

As always Chris presented some stunning images of the colourful birds of 'down under' and some of the endemic mammals too, all well-researched and put into context in the way that Chris being a perfectionist always manages.

Chris and Caroline return to the club in April 2018 when they will present the second part of their adventure. It was an excellent turn-out of both members and non-members on Wednesday evening and I'm sure the same will happen again in April!


Neil M

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Indoor Meeting 6th Dec


Our last indoor meeting of the year will be this coming Wednesday (6th December 2017) when we will enjoy a presentation from Chris Ward on the birds and wildlife of Australia. Chris is a regular visitor to the club and his presentation is in two parts with Part 2 due to be delivered in April 2018.

The meeting will commence at 7.30pm at our usual venue of the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir and hot drinks and biscuits will be available as usual. All welcome!

Neil M

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Northants BTO Newsletter

Northants BTO Quarterly Newsletter - Autumn 2017
View this email in your browser

From Barrie Galpin and Ben Reeve, Regional Representative and Regional Ambassador for the BTO in Northants

Hi all,

We're proud to announce the release of the first of a regular quarterly newsletter for the BTO in the Northants region. The autumn edition includes an introduction to the regional team, information on the various BTO surveys undertaken in the county, a spotlight on Pitsford Water and other interesting information including BTO Training Courses and the brilliant BTO Bird ID videos.

The newsletter can be viewed by clicking on the following link -

Northants BTO Autumn 2017 Newsletter

Or by typing the following web address in your browser -

We do hope you enjoy the newsletter and if you have any feedback including suggestions for things you'd like to see in the the next newsletter we'd love to hear from you!

All the best,

Barrie and Ben.

Barrie Galpin
BTO Regional Representative for Northants
15 Top Lodge, Fineshade, Corby. NN17 3BB
01780 444351
07717 446417

Ben Reeve
BTO Regional Ambassador for Northants
7 Rectory Close, Crick, Northants, NN6 7SY
Twitter: @NorthantsBTO
Personal Twitter: @BeardWarbler
01788 824413
07961 038455

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


Hi all,

This Sunday's (26th) NBC trip will be to Woodwalton Fen.

Woodwalton is a great place to spend a few hours rambling or sitting in hides.

A chance of Marsh Harrier, Short Eared Owl, Chinese Water Deer and Otter etc.

An outside chance of Long Eared Owl if we are very lucky.

So if you fancy the prospect and a bit of fresh air, why not give Bob Gill a ring on   07938680386.

Just a reminder PLEASE, NBC Subscriptions were due in March, so if anyone still needs to pay their subs would they do so to any Committee Member ASAP. Thanks !  

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Top Hat Show

I'm sure that everyone who attended last nights Members Evening could not have failed to have had an enjoyable evening out.

Neil Mcmahon, now a very widely traveled Point and Shoot Photographer,  began with a presentation, of Mammals, including some memorable images of Mustelids and Cetaceans.

Bob Bullock gave us a Bit of Everything, featuring some beautiful American Wood Warblers amongst a host of other fine images.

Lastly Dave Jackson gave us the A-Z of Waders and with a bit of poetic licence rounded off a well balanced and intriguing evening .

I'd like to thank all the above for making a great evening out for everyone, THANK-YOU.

Next year we would like to repeat the Members Evening and would like one more Photographer to participate.
The brief is it be of any WILDLIFE  photographed any where at any time.
It doesn't necessarily need to be on a theme and only requires an minimum explanation of the images portrayed, all lasting around 25 minutes.
So anything goes really,  if your interested or have any questions please contact either myself or any other committee member.

Ah ! so that was the Z wader.    Robin.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Wader Quest Newsletter

The October edition of the Wader Quest Newsletter is available to members.  A mega 30 pages covering:
  • Five years of Wader Quest
  • Wirral Wader Festival
  • Latham's snipe project
  • Red knot colour rings
  • Waders in Big Apple
  • Wader photo gallery.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Next NBC Meeting

November 1st is the date for our next club meeting.

It's another evening not to miss, posted as a Members' Night, Bob Bullock will be showing some of his many images from near and afar. Mackers will be giving a presentation, Point and Shoot and lastly Dave J will be showing The A to Z of Waders.

The evening promises to be one of sensory overload from our top photographers. I'm very much looking forward to the evening and racking my brain, which Wader begins with Z ?
All will be revealed on Wednesday 7.30pm at The Fishing Lodge. Tea and Coffee as always available.

Saturday, 21 October 2017


Hi All,

You're asking the question, well if you had attended the NBC Photographic meeting you would know the answer.

I'm pleased to say we had a great meeting this morning, not withstanding a couple of gremlins first thing, the BIRDS IN FLIGHT presentation by Dave Thomas went down very well indeed.

Not only were we treated to a series of wonderful images from Dave, that was always going to be a given, but had a great insight on how superb BIF photo's could be achieved.

Super Squirrel, boozing Rock Martin, gorging Gannets etc, a refreshing change for a Saturday morning. I could sit through it all again.

Many thanks Dave for your work putting the presentation together and giving us a visual and informative treat.

On Another Note,

The Photo Club has been set up for all Bird Club members and photographers alike and presents a wonderful opportunity for like minded people to get together and enjoy a couple of hours of discussion and light hearted banter.
Although most attendees are regulars it would be nice to see some new faces, a lot of planning and effort goes into making a meeting, not least the help of Sarah and Mischa in affording their time and venue.

So, once in a while why not attend and make all the efforts worth while.


Something Else,

Some time ago the membership was asked if or how they would like change to the way the Photographic Competition is to be Run.

As I remember there were a few grumblings but no one except me bothered to put pen to paper to the Committee. If no one bother's to contact the committee, then it of course assumed that most people are content with the way things are, one persons comments cannot afford changes if the majority are happy.

So even if your are happy with how things are or have some idea's that would appeal to all members and not just photographers then let the committee know or Email me so they can be evaluated and discussed.

Thanks Robin.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


Hi Guys and Gals,

Just to remind you all that if you have some images of Other Northants Wildlife that you would like to share, please forward them to me ( and I will be only too happy to put them on the blog for you. Don't forget also with Crimble coming up, if you have any articles you would like to put up for sale, or may want, again please contact me to put it on the For Sale and Wanted Page.

These pages are for you so why not use them.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

NBC Photographic Meeting.

Hi all

Saturday 21st October is the next date for our meeting, kick off at 10.15am at the Fishing Lodge, Holcot.

Top photographer Dave Thomas will endeavour to avail and enlighten ourselves of his vast knowledge and experience on ....Photographing Birds in Flight.

BIFs for short are a difficult category to acquire decent images, so if you would like to find out how best to accomplish such a feat why not come along. Dave J will be there also to lend a hand.

As all ways an informal and fun get together for like minded  photographers, tea, coffee and biscuits will be available.

So leave emptying the dishwasher and the drying up and come along.....See you there Robin.

Yellow Wagtail

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Next Indoor Meeting 4th Oct


Our next indoor meeting and presentation will be on Wednesday 4th October when Nicholas Watts MBE visits the Bird Club and presents on 'Farming and Birds'.

Nicholas owns and manages a farm in Lincolnshire which is a conventional farm as well as growing produce specifically for bird food - hence Vine House Farms Ltd -

The presentation will provide photographic examples of appropriate farming methods for cultivating and providing high yields as well as maintaining space and opportunity for wildlife.

As usual the meeting will commence at 7.30pm at our usual venue of the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir, Brixworth Road, Holcot and hot drinks and biscuits will be available.

All welcome!

Neil M

Tree Sparrow courtesy
of Robin Gossage.

Barn Owl.

Both these species benefit from
wildlife-friendly farming methods.

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Bird Club Trip To Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve

Frampton Marsh is a popular reserve for Northants birders as it’s relatively close to the county and has become a wader hotspot in recent years.

This Sunday’s trip didn’t disappoint as thousands of waders were present with large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits & Dunlin with smaller totals of Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Little Stint. Avocet, Knot and Common Redshank also made up the numbers. A lone Great (White) Egret kept its distance from the long lenses whilst the double figure counts of Little Egret barely get a mention these days. 

Newly arrived Brent Geese flocked in from the Wash and small parties of Pintail hesitantly dropped in to join the masses of Wigeon & Teal while a resident Whooper Swan with a damaged wing grazed close to the path. A juvenile Kestrel allowed close approach as it eyed up prey from a fencepost becoming the most photographed bird of the day by the Club’s keen shooters. A handful of Yellow Wagtails fed around the cattle as they disturbed insects from the short grass.

Three members decided to take a short walk to a nearby reservoir where Red-necked Grebe, Wood Sandpiper and Greenshank were observed at long range.

This was a day of two halves with the morning thronging with activity and much fewer birds after lunch as the tide turned exposing mud rich with worms, bivalves and other invertebrates, the favourite food for many waders. 

Nevertheless, the weather was perfect with sunshine until mid-afternoon when it was decided there was little more to be seen or photographed and we headed for home.

Please contact Bob Gill if you want to join future trips, space permitting.

Common Kestrel

Spotted Redshank

 Brent Geese

Yellow Wagtail

Little Stint

Meadow Pipit

Whooper Swan



As a footnote to Dave's article I thought I might share some distant images from a day spent earlier in the week at Frampton.
Frampton with all its waterfowl and waders has the ever presence of raptors. So when all the birds take to the air I immediately scan for a peregrine or some such, this time a low flying Sparrow Hawk was on the hunt.
After I had picked it up at some distance it grabbed a hapless Ringed plover  an inexperienced young bird. All the waders gave chase and called frantically but to no avail the poor bird was tightly held in sharp talons. It was carried some distance before being plucked whilst still alive, its sad to see the poor plover being  killed but nature is cruel sometimes.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Daventry Country Park Sabine’s Gull

A juvenile Sabine’s Gull was found by local rarity legend, Gary Pullan late afternoon on September 13th and attracted birders from far and wide including international expert, Yoav Perlman from Israel who is currently residing in Norwich.

The bird was very confiding and spent much of its time foraging along the water’s edge and regularly flew around showing its contrasting wing pattern.

Observers noticed a partially closed left eye and the bird looked unwell on Friday evening when it was last seen. Let’s hope it survived and is relocated for the sake of the bird and the local birders unable to connect during the week.  

This is the 11th sighting of this Arctic wanderer for Northants.

Edit: No further sign of the bird since the evening of Friday 15th September.