Attenborough etc

Today I had a trip to Attenborough NR near Nottingham for the first time. It’s a good reserve with some good species on show, even at this time of year, but possibly one I’ll try and visit outside the school holidays in future…

Highlights included 3+ little egrets, more common terns than you could shake a stick at, a snipe, a few shovelers, a singing sedge warbler, and some sand martins zipping around. Perhaps the best was a female red-crested pochard with 6 ducklings, although this would-be lifer is causing something of a ticking crisis due to the bird’s distance from the species naturalised stronghold in the Thames Valley…

Red-crested Pochard
To tick or not to tick…

At least there’s more argument for the validity of them than the Egyptian goose that was scrabbling for scraps among the Canadas and manky greylags by the visitors’ centre…

Elsewhere a very approachable common tern posed for photos a few feet away from us, saving this blog post from being illustrated with a single rubbish record shot…

Common Tern

Common Tern

Common Tern

The rest of the afternoon was taken up at Staunton Harold Reservoir looking for Mediterannean gulls (no joy!) and Foremark Reservoir looking for yellow-legged gulls (ditto!). One day the rarer gulls will be mine, but not today…

T’moors again…

I had a windy trip up to the moors again this afternoon – not a lot about in the blustery conditions up there, but I did manage to see 20 red grouse and a brief view of a hobby.

On the way back through Cowell Flat, I came across a family group of reed buntings, including these confiding and photogenic juveniles (note they’re generally streakier than females).

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

A wet afternoon on t’moors…

The title says it all… I spent a few hours this afternoon having a look around the NW moors, but ended up getting soaked in a series of quick but drenching showers. Only one or two good bits and bobs seen – a common lizard on a stile on Agden Side, which sadly scurried away before I could get a picture, and a golden plover and a few red grouse on Broomhead Moor were about the best I got. Sadly I missed the hobbies at Agden Side that have been reported on the SBSG site today.

A couple of pics…

Golden Plover
Golden Plover

Common Footman
Common Footman

Burnets

Here’s a couple of shots of six-spot burnet moths, that I found on the verge outside the house. They were on or near bird’s-foot trefoil, which is the main foodplant of the larvae, so I’m presuming these are quite recently emerged.

Six-spot Burnet Moth

Six-spot Burnet Moth

The other night I had a quick walk in the Loxley Valley, the reason I haven’t updated too much recently is that I’m not seeing too much interesting in the July lull! The best I could muster was a kestrel, a couple of great spotted woodpecker, and a couple of hares in a field off Loxley Road. Here’s a couple of pics just to prove I am still getting out and about!

Brown Hare
Hare

Mallard in eclipse
Mallard in eclipse

Juvenile coot
Juvenile coot

Half-time analysis…

Sorry, I’ve been a bit quiet of late, and hopefully I’ll have some interesting, wildlifey stuff to write about soon!

As a piece of blatent filler to keep the blog ticking over, and we’re just over half way through the year, here’s a bit of a recap of how the first half of the 2009 birding list’s going. My target for the year is 200, will it be reached…?
Continue reading Half-time analysis…

Hobbies up on t’moors

I hate being vague about locations on this blog, as I like to give as much gen as possible to others who may want a look, but when writing about raptors on the edge of the Peak District (even non-breeders) I’m going to be a little circumspect…

This morning I had a quick look at a particular site up on the NW moors, and was greeted by the fantastic sight of three hobbies (probably 1st summers), two of which were having a bit of a mid-air scrap, and one of which was catching insect prey and eating it on the wing. Also nearby were a buzzard, several kestrels, and a couple of ravens. All good stuff!

I also had a walk past Agden Reservoir, and found a couple of spotted flycatchers, one of which is below in a rather ropey shot…

Spotted Flycatcher (record shot)

EDIT – There’s some cracking photos of one of the hobbies by Andy Deighton on the SBSG site. Look under the 4th July sightings here – http://www.sbsg.org/sightings/recentsightings.asp