Friday, 30 December 2011

More badgers 26 to 29-12-2011

Badgers at the new site from 26/12/2011 to 29/12/2011. A couple of badgers meet and indulge in a little mutual grooming. 2 others catch and eat worms.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

More from the Trophy Cam last week

Here a Muntjac stops by and checks out the camera. The deer always seem to know there is something there, I assume they detect my scent on the camera.

I was surprised to see deer close to the camera location, as you can see it is extremely overgrown, they squeeze through though.
A day time fox was also a nice change.

This is three clips edited together. The fox passed through and then must have come back around the side of the camera, tripping it a second time. It then came back again 15 mins later.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

23rd December 2011

A badger came by early on and then another/same came back about 3 hours later.

Friday, 23 December 2011

22 December 2011

I finally got around to putting the camera trap out at a new location. Thanks to JB for the tip off for the new location which is close to a Badger Sett.

First night (22/12/2011) was an excellent start, first up were a pair of Muntjac. They were very timid in front of the camera and definitely seemed to know something was out of place. Probably picked up my scent on the camera. About 3hrs later a Fox passed through and a few minutes later a Badger, the target species. Another 45 mins went by and the Fox came back again.
Not bad for the first night but there is more to come.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 18/12/2011

Another cold start for the WeBS count this morning at Box End Park. Fortunately the lakes were pretty much free of ice and the usual characters were in residence. Highlight was a Redshank, only my second record for this site and a handsome looking Fox at the north end of the park. Thought it was going to catch a Mute Swan which was on the bank, but the Swan recognised the danger in time.

Fieldfare and Redwing were much in evidence this morning with parties to and fro throughout. As I got out of the car I heard Redwing passing over and I saw the tail end of a flock heading south in the half light. Further parties of 3, 8, 4, 2 and 1 were seen. Parties of 7, 5, 3, 15, 21 and 17 Fieldfare were also seen.

Full counts as follows:

Black-headed Gull 16  
Cormorant 3  
Grey Heron 1  
Kestrel 1  
Lapwing 107  
Little Grebe 2  
Mallard 70  
Mandarin Duck 1  
Meadow Pipit 8
Moorhen 4
Mute Swan 5
Pied/White Wagtail 3
Redshank 1  
Skylark 1
Total number of species: 14 Individuals: 223

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chinese Water Deer

After weeks of nothing but Rabbits I finally decided to move the remote camera. On checking the final few videos I found a Chinese Water Deer giving the Bushnell Trophy Cam a thorough checking! Oh well it's off to pastures new for the camera.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Kempston Mill 25th November

Flushed a Woodcock up river between Church end and Box end park (TL016481), in
the wood on the east side of the river. A little further along flushed the same
or second bird!

There was a flock of at least 55 Lapwing on the spit at Box End Park, Kingfisher
was active along the river. Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Fieldfare and Redwing also

Came across some ripe Ivy Berries on the north side of The Bedford Golf Course:

Ivy berries with Hawthorn berries behind

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

RSPB Titchwell 23rd November

Had a trip out to the RSPB reserve at Titchwell today. The weather forecast failed me yet again and the expected "sunshine all day" failed to materialise but at least it didn't rain. Failed to connect with Bittern or Bearded Tits on this trip but there was plenty of other stuff to see including Hen Harrier, Red-breasted Merganser (40+ together off shore!), Spoonbill and Purple Sandpiper to name but a few. There was also a spectacular flock of Golden Plover. Spectacle of the day, however, was the sunset.

Some images from the day:


3 Marsh and 1 Hen Harrier over the dunes
Male Shoveler
Female Shoveler with male Teal in front.
Male Teal
Female Teal

The Golden Plover flock on the the move
Mixed Godwits. Black and Bar-tailed.

Off into the Sunset. Golden Plover.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 20/11/2011

Very foggy this morning with visibility down to ~100m making counting difficult. On arrival at the lake edge had a Kingfisher calling and it flew past, unseen in the fog. Although initially unseen on the spit parties of Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls flew up making counting possible as they circled overhead, in and out of the fog. A Little Grebe was flushed from the edge of the lake as I passed. Meadow Pipits were plentiful with 12 seen but many calls heard in the fog, no Skylarks though. Along the east side of the lake as I approached the north section a wader flushed from the side of the lake some way ahead of me. It didn't call but I suspect it was a Common Sandpiper as there was no flash of white rump which I think I would have spotted despite the poor visibility. I was unable to relocate it further along the lake edge so guess it flew across to the other side. A little further along a Grey Wagtail flushed from the edge and flew past me before settling again. Those were the highlights of a very grey morning, full counts follow:

Black-headed Gull 58    
Cormorant 1    
Great Crested Grebe 1    
Grey Wagtail 1    
Kingfisher 1    
Lapwing 18    
Little Grebe 2    
Mallard 46    
Mandarin Duck 1    
Meadow Pipit 12    
Moorhen 1    
Mute Swan 10 includes 5 juveniles  
Pied/White Wagtail 2    
unidentified wader 1 Probable Common Sandpiper but no call and foggy conditions prevented definitive ID.
Total number of species: 14 Individuals: 155

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Kempston Mill Sunday 13th November

My local patch this morning but not much to report. I had 15 Fieldfare over south west early on and there were 3 Little Grebe on the river at Biddenham Loop CP (BLCP), the first of the winter here for me. Met a fellow photographer while out and had a chat about the area as it was his first time down here. There was a good size flock of Goldfinch at BLCP, in the region of 30 birds on the Teasels. Sadly the fields both up and down stream from the Mill have been cut in the last couple of weeks so we have lost all of the seed heads that the birds rely on over winter. Why this is necessary at this time of year is a mystery, especially in these cash strapped times.

This past week I have made 3 evening visits down to the Mill, in search of the reported Short-eared Owl, with no luck. It has either moved on or is very elusive.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Greenfinches on Sunflowers

These Greenfinches visited the Sunflowers in the garden today and I managed to get some nice shots through the bathroom window!



Greenfinch eating Sunflower Seed
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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Recent bits and bobs

I collected the SD card from the trophy cam last night and had a look through. Not much of interest but I put together a number of clips showing Red-legged and Grey Partridge which looked in really good condition and, helpfully, came right up to the camera.

Red-legged and Grey Partridge

We haven't seen a Badger since the first weekend we put the camera out. Foxes are regular visitors and happily take all the nuts we put out for the Badgers. Might be time to find another location for the camera.

This morning a walk along the river at Kempston Mill was fairly quiet although Redwings were seen regularly. Highlights were:

Skylarks were singing again and Meadow Pipits were also about. Kingfishers were heard up at Church End and seen downstream at the bottom of Hillgrounds. A group of 5 Siskins was seen up at Box End Park.There were quite a few flocks of Woodpigeons moving south, the biggest of which was 80 strong.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

RSPB Titchwell 19/10/2011

We had a good day at the RSPB reserve at Titchwell. The wind was a little stronger than I would have liked but the sun stayed out most of the day with the afternoon heavy showers skirting inland around the reserve. We headed down to the beach first thing but it was generally quiet, especially compared to my trip last month. The sea was very rough and the tide was in, but a small party of Sanderlings were working the shoreline providing a good photo op.

Sanderling feeding

And a bit closer still
There were quite a few Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the reserve. They were moving between the fresh water marsh and the marsh on the east side of the main path.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese
There was also a large party of Golden Plovers roosting in front of Parrinder hide on the freshwater marsh. On several occasions during the day they all got up providing quite a spectacle.

Golden Plovers
In the afternoon we joined one of the volunteers for a guided walk around the reserve which was very informative. We came across a couple of Black-tailed Godwits having a dispute.

Touch, Pause.... 
A little Rugby reference there during this world cup week :-)

And finally we had good views of a male Pintail from Parrinder hide.
Pintail (m)
We also spotted a couple of parties of Pink-footed Geese passing high over the reserve during the day. Also seen/heard were Cettis Warbler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Oystercatcher, Great Black-backed Gull, Teal, Shoveler, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Spoonbill, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and many more!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Red Deer Rut at Woburn Deer Park 17/10/2011

Spent a morning at the Woburn Deer Park in the hope of catching some rutting action. We weren't disappointed as there was plenty of roaring going on up the hill towards the Paris House Restaurant. We had already passed a number of large stags, on the way up the hill, when we came across this big fellow close to the road.
Red Deer stag roaring
He didn't have any hinds and soon decided to take a rest.

Red Deer stag at rest

Red Deer Stag at rest
We spotted this guy, earlier at the bottom of the hill, nicely framed by a tree.

Having witnessed a short duel half way up the hill we came across a couple of stags with groups of hinds at the top of the hill. These guys were set back from the road a bit more and were bellowing at each other. One guy was working hard to keep his girls to himself while the other looked fairly relaxed with a slightly smaller group of girls sticking close by.

The Sika Deer stags were also letting out their "creaking door" roars which is a weird sound and must be quite scary if you are up there in the dark!   

Great fun to watch, and listen to, recommend you get up there soon to catch some of the action.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 16/10/2011

Tough conditions for the count this morning with fog covering most of the park. Towards the end of the session it looked like it would clear but then the breeze switched direction and blew it all back in again.

Through the gloom I managed to find the following:

Black-headed Gull 9      
Cormorant 1      
Great Crested Grebe 2      
Grey Heron 1      
Kestrel 1      
Kingfisher 1      
Mallard 41      
Meadow Pipit Present
Mute Swan 3      
Pied/White Wagtail 7
Skylark Present

Total number of species: 11 Individuals: 66  

As with the previous 2 visits a Fox was in the field at the south end of the park. I heard at least one Fieldfare passing over but didn't manage to spot it through the holes in the fog. One Skylark was spotted heading west.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Fox catches vole

An interesting video clip from the other night on the Trophy Cam. A fox had been visiting regularly, eating the peanuts as usual, then I noticed this clip where a vole is caught out in the open by the Fox. The Fox makes short work of said vole!
Link to video - Fox catches vole

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A couple more videos from the Trophy Cam

Nothing too exciting recently, mainly Foxes eating the peanuts. Did have a visit from a Muntjac which follows:

Link to Muntjac Video

Some Red-legged Partridges were also recent visitors:

Link to RLP Video

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 18/09/2011

Kingfishers were very active this morning with at least 2 individuals zipping about. Spotted a Fox again in the horse field at the south end of the park. Finished the morning with a good size flock of Hirundines feeding drinking and resting up around the main building in the park.Estimate at least 80 birds with 30+ Swallows counted on the tow lines at one point. The rest appeared to be all House Martins, couldn't find a Sand Martin in the mix but there may well have been one or more present. The Pied Wagtails were also very active with a best count of 14 but may have been more. A singing Chiffchaff was also heard.

Black-headed Gull 3        
Common Sandpiper 1        
Common Tern 1        
Cormorant 3        
Great Crested Grebe 2        
Green Sandpiper 1        
Grey Heron 1        
Grey Wagtail 1
Kingfisher 2        
Lapwing 1        
Mallard 9        
Meadow Pipit Present
Moorhen 1        
Mute Swan 6        
Pied/White Wagtail 14

Total number of species: 15 Individuals: 46  

Thursday, 8 September 2011

You pay peanuts you get Foxes!

The new location for the Bushnell Trophy Cam has been quite successful, with visits most nights from various animals. After the success of the Badger early on I had the bright idea of putting out some peanuts in the hope of keeping the Badger around the camera for a little longer. Well the Badger did pass by again but didn't stop. It was also quite foggy so not worth showing. The peanuts have had the desired effect with another species, a fox, which has been visiting regularly. Most recently two Foxes visited and there was some nice interraction between the 2.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Badger captured on Bushnell Trophy Cam

I got a Bushnell Trophy Cam some time ago and have been using it to watch the hedgehog family in my garden. Didn't know they were there until I started putting the camera out!

Anyway decided, at the weekend, that it was time to take the camera a bit further afield. Second night at the new location and captured a badger moving along the trail I had noticed at the edge of the field.

Also had a couple of Muntjac pass by on the same night:

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 14/08/2011

Surprise of the morning was saved for the end, having done my circuit of the park I noticed a number of small birds in the grass by the camp site. These turned out to be Yellow Wagtails and a scan of the grass with the scope revealed at least 15, all of which appeared to be juveniles. These were a first for the site. While watching the Wagtails a Lesser Whitethroat was heard singing. Earlier a family group of Foxes was spotted in the field adjacent to the park. Two youngsters were indulging in a spot of play fighting until the adult stepped in to break it up. Most of the Common Terns have departed with just a single adult fishing over the lake at the end of the session. Full counts were:

Black-headed Gull 3
Common Sandpiper 2
Common Tern 1
Great Crested Grebe 1
Grey Heron 2
Grey Wagtail 1
Kestrel 1
Kingfisher 1
Lapwing 5
Mallard 76
Moorhen 4
Pied/White Wagtail 2
Sparrowhawk 1 (Carrying prey, possibly a blackbird.)
Yellow Wagtail 15

Total number of species: 14 Individuals: 115

Also present were ~72 House Martins and 11 Swallows. Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler were also present and the Sedge Warbler was carrying food.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 17/07/2011

Black-headed Gull 1
Common Tern 23 (At least 10 of this years birds seen and at least 3 of those were ringed.)
Cormorant 3
Great Crested Grebe 1
Grey Heron 1
Grey Wagtail 1
Lapwing 3
Mallard 92 (one of the females had 6 small young.)
Moorhen 1
Pied/White Wagtail 1
Skylark Present

Also seen/heard 30+ House Martins, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Blackcap.

Highlight of the morning was a female Otter on the river. A Fox was also seen.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 12/06/2011

Common Tern 21 (Visibility poor on the spit due to vegetation so unable to see any of the nests/young).
Cormorant 1
Great Crested Grebe 2
Grey Heron 1
Lapwing 2
Mallard 60 (Includes females with 3,4,1 and 1 ducklings).
Mute Swan 2
Oystercatcher 4 (2 Adults with 2 large juveniles).
Pied/White Wagtail 5
Skylark Present

Total number of species: 10 Individuals: 98

Also present:

Blackcap 6
Chiffchaff 4
Reed Warbler 4
Sedge Warbler 3
Common Whitethroat 1
Stock Dove 3
Swift, Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin all present

A single male Tufted Duck did a circuit of the lake but didn't stop.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 15/05/2011

Canada Goose 1 (Also 1 dead by the spit.)
Common Sandpiper 1
Common Tern 20
Cormorant 3
Great Crested Grebe 2
Greylag Goose 2
Lapwing 4
Mallard 35 (5 with broods of 6,7,2,3 3 ducklings.)
Moorhen 1
Mute Swan 8 (1 on nest.)
Oystercatcher 3
Pied/White Wagtail 1
Skylark Present

Total number of species: 13 Individuals: 81

Also noted: Whitethroat 2, Swallows 3, Blackcap 8, Chiffchaff 5, Stock Dove 1, Reed Warbler 2, Sedge Warbler 4, Sand Martin 1, Swift 6 and House Martin 3.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 17/04/2011

New for the site this moring was an Egyptian Goose.

Buzzard 1
Canada Goose 4
Common Tern 11
Cormorant 1
Egyptian Goose 1
Great Crested Grebe 3
Little Ringed Plover 2
Mallard 29 (Groups of 7,5,4,7 and 3 ducklings.)
Mandarin Duck 2
Mute Swan 1 (On nest.)
Oystercatcher 2
Pied/White Wagtail 1
Skylark Present
Total number of species: 13 Individuals: 58

Also noted this morning were 5 Blackcaps, 3 Sedge Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Swallow. Lapwings were showing across the bypass and another passed over very high.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 13/03/2011

Surprised and delighted to see an Otter hunting at the south end of the lake when I arrived at the park this morning. The 2 Oystercatchers were present again this month but no Lapwings. I may have missed the Lapwings, if they are still roosting in the park, as it was already light when I arrived. A number of Lapwings were displaying on the other side of the bypass, where they nested last year, 2 made a fly over visit. Other flyover visitors were 2 Canada Geese and 5 Greylag Geese. The rest of the counts were as follows:

Black-headed Gull 10
Common Gull 1 (1st winter)
Cormorant 1
Great Crested Grebe 5
Green Sandpiper 1
Kingfisher 1
Mallard 28
Meadow Pipit Present
Moorhen 1
Mute Swan 2
Oystercatcher 2
Pied/White Wagtail 1
Pochard 5 (3 males and 2 females)
Skylark Present

Total number of species: 14 Individuals: 58

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 13/02/2011

Blustery wind this morning with occasional drizzle. Highlights were the return of the Oystercatchers and the 2 female Pochard. The pair of Kestrels were displaying as they flew across the lake. Plenty of singing from the regulars including several Song Thrushes taking up positions around the park. Skylark and Reed Bunting have also joined the songsters. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming at the north end of the park, Green Woodpecker was heard. No Grey Heron this month which is quite unusual for the site.

Black-headed Gull 19
Coot 3
Cormorant 4
Kestrel 2
Lapwing 31
Mallard 67
Meadow Pipit 1
Moorhen 4
Mute Swan 2
Oystercatcher 2
Pied/White Wagtail 1
Pochard 2
Skylark 1

Total number of species: 13 Individuals: 139

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Box End Park WeBS: 16/01/2011

With the river in flood the lake level had risen so that the spit at the south end was underwater leaving no roosting area for the usual Lapwings or any other waders or wildfowl. This led to a lower than usual count with many of the usual Mallards also absent, most likely on the flood pool on Biddenham Loop where we had in excess of 50 yesterday. Having said that 3 new species for the site was a nice surprise and made the early start worthwhile.

Buzzard Present (calling from the woods at the north end of the site)
Coot 1
Gadwall 2 (new species for site)
Goosander 1 (new species for site)
Grey Heron 1
Mallard 36
Moorhen 5
Mute Swan 2
Water Rail 1 (new species for site)

Total number of species: 9 Individuals: 49

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Garden Sparrowhawk

The starlings in the garden are taking a beating by the local Sparrowhawk which has taken at least 3 in the last week. Managed to get a few shots of it yesterday, this being the best of the bunch.