Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Digiscoped at Bainton pits, 28.4.08.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Lake birds

Shots from Wednesday, 23.4.08, when Gunwade Lake, Ferry Meadows was covered in more than 150 Arctic Terns, the light was lovely, the vibe was good...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Little Arctic

Spot the odd one out in this flock of Arctic Terns...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Arctic Terning

There were a phenomenal number of Arctic Terns at Gunwade Lake this lunchtime. Brian Stone counted more than 200, and more than 160 when we arrived. They were also incredibly close at times. This is the best of the few shots I took (DSLR). What a shape! What a bird!

The Bat in the Hat

This bat was getting a bit of a pecking from a Carrion Crow while it sat squeaking on its back on the ground. I popped it in my Tilley hat and it had no obvious wounds on it. So I put it in a hollow in an oak tree out of sight. It wasn't there when I cycled by in the early evening.

I think it is a Noctule, but if anyone has any other ideas...

(pictures taken on a phone, hence slightly dodgy quality. Taken by Laura Ansell)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008


If we get through for two minutes only, it will be a START!
I had to photograph this beautiful male Redstart last night (17.4.08), as I may never ever see it again...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Natural Stance

Brian "The Natural Stone" Stone


It has been a brilliant few weeks local birding recently. Almost too much to go into. It has been a truly spectacular start to spring as far as decent birds in the the PBC area are concerned.

However, I would also like to point out that in the last couple of weeks I have pervily watched four species of bird mating which I have never pervily watched before. These are (in order) Nuthatch, Crane, Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush.

In each case, the act itself has been accompanied by a juicy bit of prancing, squirming, dancing display. The Crane's dance is well documented, but I had no idea that Song Thrush males puff themsleves up like balloons and extend their necks upward while creeping about, before jumping on top repeatedly for a spot of cloacal action.

And I never knew that Nuthatches indulged in a little 'snake'dance, extending their necks simultaneously like a cheeky pair of grebes, and swaying side to side before mating – the whole preceded by bill to bill courtship feeding.

Lovely stuff!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Talking of Ringos

I just looked back at my records for the last few years to see when I recorded my first Ring Ouzels of the year, locally.

These are the dates:


So, technically, today's bird was my earliest, but realistically, these dates are very consistent – I'm rather surprised. The power of the database!

Ringo twitch

I posted this on the Bird Watching Magazine blog a short while ago, and can't be bothered to rewrite it, so here goes...

My colleagues Matt, Kev and I all went twitching a local Ring Ouzel this lunchtime, found by Peterbrough recorder and champion local bird-finder Brian Stone. And very nice it was, too (for pics, see here).

We then took a wee drive around to find an ouzel of our own. We had no direct success, but saw one or two Buzzards (always nice) and bumped into a couple of surprisingly approachable Fieldfares – perhaps a pair. So approachable were they that I was able to wander back to the car, grab Matt's scope and come back and digiscope them before they scarpered.

Here are a couple of shots (one of each bird). Note how dark and well-marked one is (which we took to be a male).

Monday, April 14, 2008

From the Archive... No.15

Whinchat and Wheatear, 26.4.06, Serpentine Brick Pit, Cambs

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008


It snowed in Surrey on 6.4.08. So my sister Alison and sister-in-law Alexis celebrated Harry's birthday by creating this snowy masterpiece.

I warned you!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

From the Archive... No.14

I found this unfortunate dead Green Woodpecker with a rather gruesome hole in its back [I wonder what would peck 'er?... forgive me (and yes I know it's an 'im)] at Morborne Hill, Cambs on 7.4.06.

Old Bill

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Recent activities

Since the last update on my goings on, I have the following to report:

1. Added Kittiwake to my PBC list with a bird found at Maxey pits (29.3.08). The same day, I also added Lesser Spodepecker & Med Gull to my 2008 PBC list. (My PBC list is now 223 species)

Grey Plover (distant digiscope!)

2. Next day I took a stroll down the Nene Washes, and saw my first Garganey of the year, a couple of Grey Plovers (see above) and the Merlin with a Snipe (below).

3. The same day, a group of three Mallards turned up in our garden. By the way, the pond isn't really purple!

4. The Weedon team photographed the ducks, and used the lovely sunny weather to take a few tadpole shots.

3. On 2.4.08 I went twitching a Knot on the Nene Washes with Will Bowell, and we added Avocet as well to the old year list.

4. Today (3.4.08) I heard my first Willow Warblers of the year at Ferry Meadows. So, current PBC year list stands at 136 species (inc 21 'elites').