Friday, April 20, 2018


Lottie the female Long-tailed Duck at Baston & Langtoft GP 'Wader Pit', south Lincs, seems to have made a remarkable recovery since last week, when she appeared to be in considerable distress, spinning round and round in tiny circles while nearly rolling onto her back and flailing her right leg in the air. Now, apart perhaps, from a slightly weak left wing, she seems fine, diving and swimming well.

Grey Partridges, near Baston, Lincolnshire

Monday, April 16, 2018

Female Ring Ouzel, Caringorm, April 2017

Avocets, BLGP

This year, after several years of hardly seeing any Avocets around Peterborough, I have 'promoted' the species to 'elite' status. So, it was great to bump into a pair at the 'hotspot' of the so-called Wader Pit at Baston and Langtoft GP on 14.4.18. I first saw them when they were sharing a little flooded grassy island with some sleeping Shovelers, half a dozen Redshanks, four Little Ringed Plovers , my first Common Sandpiper of the year, and best of all, a Bar-tailed Godwit (my earliest PBC record by 6 days). Typically, for spring Avocets, they were prospecting for potential nesting areas. But, also typically, they had gone by the next day.

White Wagtail, BLGP

This male White Wagtail is one of at least three around the northern pits of the Baston and Langtoft GP, south Lincs, over the last week or so. This individual liked to feed around the gravelly 'viewing area'.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Slavonian Grebe portraits

This beautiful bird, found yesterday by John Sherwood on the River Welland near Crowland, is not only one of the prettiest birds I have ever seen in the Peterborough area, but also the first breeding-plumage Slavonian Grebe I can remember seeing in England (I have seen some in the Highlands on the breeding grounds. It was mostly picking insects from the surface of the river when I saw it yesterday evening; and I didn't see it dive at all. I did hear it make a weird whining, almost Water Rail-like call, though. What a brilliant bird.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Mediterranean Gull, Deeping Lakes LWT

This beauty is presumably a male, as he has been flirting outrageously and scandalously with a presumed female Black-headed Gull by the east pit at DLLWT...

Ring Ouzel, Baston & Langtoft GP, south Lincs

Juvenile Goshawk at March Farmers

I was very lucky to see just my third Goshawk in the Peterborough area on Saturday, while scanning the massively flooded March Farmers, Cambs. I saw a female Marsh Harrier powering over the flooded washes seemingly in pursuit of something, accompanied by some excited Carrion Crows. At first I thought she was chasing a male Marsh Harrier off her territory, but there was something odd about its shape: it was roughly same size as the female Marsh Harrier, but heavy and with much shorter wings and a very long tail. It almost looked like the raptor equivalent of a Pheasant. Also, how come the harrier couldn't catch up with this bird in front? Then I noticed it was heavily streaked on its breast, and the penny dropped... Here are record shots as it flew over the Nene Way powering south (the harrier and crows had given up by now). I reckon it could be a female, as it was very large (and absolutely nothing like a Sparrowhawk, folks). But I may be wrong.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

End of March 2018

Last week in March, 2008, I was on 125 (inc 17 'elites'). Year total: 189 (my record total)
Last week in March, 2009, I was on 131 (inc 22 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2010, I was on 126 (inc 15 'elites'). Year total: 177
Last week in March, 2011, I was on 130 (inc 18 'elites'). Year total: 182
Last week in March, 2012, I was on 134 (inc 21*(22) 'elites'). Year total: 183
Last week in March, 2013, I was on 128 (inc 20*(21) 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2014, I was on 124 (inc 17*(18) 'elites'). Year total: 187
Last week in March, 2015, I was on 114 (inc 11*(12) 'elites'). Year total: 172
Last week in March, 2016, I was on 127 (inc 13*(14) 'elites'). Year total: 188
Last week in March, 2017, I was on 134 (inc 23*(24) 'elites'). Year total: 186
Last week in March, 2017, I was on 124 (inc 14**(15) 'elites'). Year total: ?
 * () Modern counting with Smew as an 'elite'
 * ()** Modern counting with Smew as an 'elite'; plus (starting 2018) following changes:
Demoted from 'elite' to 'core': Crane, Cetti's Warbler, Bittern & Egyptian Goose
Promoted from 'core' to 'elite': Jack Snipe, Avocet, Turtle Dove, Barnacle Goose
Here is the traditional state of my personal PBC (Peterborough Bird Club area) year list summary, as of the end March (2018).
A pretty mediocre start to the year; though it is hard to judge, as there are new 'elite' rules in place (under last year's rules, I would have been on 18 'elites', which is still a pretty middling score). I have had a couple of weeks away on foreign work trips (Japan and Spain) and the weather has not been great for birding this year, with periods of heavy freezing, snow etc and in March some excessive rainfall. Still, undoubted highlights so far include a PBC tick: American Wigeon, just my third Red-throated Diver and just my fourth Kittiwake.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Red-throated Diver, Peterborough Rowing Lake

This lovely bird, driven inland by the terrible weather ('The Beast from the East') was found on Saturday morning. It seemed healthy, but was occasionally bullied by swans!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018