Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Ferry Meadows Common Tern

During our regular vis mig sessions from The Mound at Ferry Meadows CP, on Monday (14.10.19) Don Gardener and I were just talking about the Common Tern I had seen flying south at Etton two days previously, when as if by magic a Common Tern flew by over Gunwade Lake. It is still there today (17.10.19). Yesterday, at sunset, I tried to photograph the tern, as I foudn its appearance slightly odd, and certainly interesting, as it is firstly a very late bird for a CT (11 days later than Don's latest, seen last year), secondly it is in winter plumage, with a black bill etc, thirdly it is quite scruffy looking and fourthly, there was something odd about it in general, giving it an almost Arctic Tern like front end, even though the wings and flight style said Common Tern. Looking at the photos this morning revealed a potential solution to all these points: it only has half a maxilla, making it look almost like it has a skimmer's bill. Let's hope it can feed ok even if preening has become problematic... Watch this space for an update on how long it remains at Ferry Meadows.
PS I believe the bird I saw on Saturday flying due south is most likely to be the same individual. Etton slurry Pit is less than 9km due north of Gunwade Lake, and the bird was flying due south. I don't think anyone looked at FMCP on Sunday, as it was pretty rainy, nasty weather for most of the day.
PPS Here are a couple more photos I took this lunchtime. One shows a little bit better the 'break' of the bill and the other shows that the tern can still catch small fish in its odd bill.

PPPS It came to roost on buoy 8 on Gunwade Lake

Monday, October 07, 2019

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Cattle Egret, Ferry Meadows CP

In these modern times, where herons rule, you may be forgiven for shrugging at a distant photo of a Cattle Egret. But, this individual is only the second of its species ever seen in the well-watched Ferry Meadows Country Park. The first was in October 2018, and was found by Don Gardener, who was standing by me (and Andy Frost) vis-migging on The Mound, at c8.30am, as I called "egret" as it emerged, flying past the trees nearby. The first thing that struck me was the dark feet, then the compact build, and then the orange bill! It flew west-north-west over Gunwade and landed in the damp grassland of Long Meadow near the Pyramid among the cattle. Don and I cycled round through the deeply flooded path to get these shots. There were also at least three Stonechats by the Pyramid. The egret was a tad mobile and changed position on the meadow a few times (so I am told... I had to leave for work), and may have departed the park at 9.24am

One of three Stonechats on Long Meadow

Monday, September 30, 2019

Unringed juvenile Osprey, Maxey pits, Cambs

From the photos of the underwing, it is safe to say that this is the same bird I photographed a couple of weeks ago along the Deeping High Bank (10km to the ENE). So, this unringed juvenile has been present in the area for at least a couple of weeks.
See this photo (note the wing pattern, particularly around the carpal patch, plus a small bit of damage in the third 'finger' back:

And here is a comparison of the right wing, to again emphasise that this is the same individual.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, Eldernell, Cambs

Distant record shots, but a PBC area 'find tick' for me ( as well as PBC year tick number 185).

Monday, September 16, 2019

Stoat, Deeping Lakes LWT, Lincs

I think this is a youngish Stoat (not particularly big) and looks to to be the same wee beastie which was hunting the entrance track at DLLWT a week or so ago. I pished it in!

Juvenile Osprey, Deeping High Bank, Lincs

This (apparently unringed, certainly on the left leg) juvenile Osprey was a nice find along the Deeping High Bank on Sunday morning (ie yesterday). It was initially hunting along the river (Welland) and flew up as I drove along. I pulled over and whistled off some shots as quickly as I could. Shame about the cloudy sky. This is my second Peterborough area Osprey of the year, after the one I found on 2nd very close to my home in Peterborough, which was also a juvenile. The bird shown above, crossed to the Cambs side of the river and drifted south-west towards Peakirk and Glinton, followed by a Buzzard. If you are wondering, I am identifying it as a juvenile based on the very neat trailing edge; the 'chequered' flight feathers; the ochre feathering on the underwing coverts; and the 'spotted' (not solidly black) greater coverts; the chest patch; the barred tail; and the pale fringes on the upperwing.

Migrant Hawker

It seems the secret to getting these dragons sharp is to massively underexpose them, which seems to work for me at least...

Otter, Ferry Meadows CP, Cambs

One of three I saw in the park on Friday 13th.

Willow Emerald damselfly, Ferry Meadows COP, Cambs

I found these with Chris Park and Chris Rawlinson of the Nene Park, and they are apparently new for the country park, which is pleasing. The males are the skinny ones with the curved, grasping tail-end apparatus and the females are chunkier with more of a stiff ovipoisitor for inserting eggs in the bark of willow.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Young Peregrine scaring Lapwings at BLGP

First-winter male Redstart, Castor Mill

Last Sunday (9 September), Hugh Wright was out with his family, walking the fields down at Castor Mill, near the River Nene, and foudn a female type Redstart. I came down to check it out and while the Wrights picnicked and paddled in the mill stream, I waited for Hugh's Redstart to come out of hiding by the old windmill. I waited and waited, and then a Resstart appeared. But not Hugh's female but a nice first-summer male. The female did re-emerge for a bit and both came and posed in one of two hawthorns in the horse paddock. A Robin occasionally came and bullied them, especially the young drake. In the evening Don 'Mr Redstart' Gardener and I converged at the spot and after walkign the fence line turned up firstly the female, then the young male, as seen here. Great birds! The young male was the fourth Redstart I have found locally, this year (all males) and I haave now seen six Redstarts (but no Black Redstarts) in the PBC area in 2019.