Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Top morning at Kempston Mill!

It's not very often that an Otter sighting fails to top the bill on one of my morning walks along the river at Kempston Mill, but that was the case this morning.

First the Otter. I came across it, in the river, at the south end of Biddenham Loop Country Park (BLCP). To say I saw the animal would be a gross overstatement. The facts are that I followed its progress up stream for about an hour and a half, a ripple here, a rustle of reeds there! On occasion I was rewarded for my perseverance as a couple of nostrils poked up through the reeds. More ripples and streams of bubbles gave away the animals presence as it did its best to give me the slip. A slight chop on the water made things trickier still, then a head popped up through the reeds directly in front of me, and in the blink of an eye it was gone again! I managed to stay with it for a few more yards and then it finally gave me the slip towards the north end of Box End Park. Despite having my camera with me I never fired a shot, it just wouldn't show itself for long enough. Not to worry it's always great just being there when an Otter is about.

There was also a lot of Kingfisher activity in the area, I think it was a family party. I managed this record shot as one zipped by.

Kingfisher (Juvenile)

Heading back downstream I was pleased to see a Jay fly over and perch in the Willows at the south end of BLCP.

And finally the top of the bill!

As I reached Kempston Weir a party of 30+ House Martins was feeding over the river, skimming low over the water. I stopped hoping to get some shots but as I watched the calls changed and all the birds headed up. Initially I thought they were just moving on but then I spotted a Hobby coming in and was obviously in hunting mode, gaining height with the Martins. the Martins split and the Hobby latched onto one which immediately dived back down toward the river. The Hobby followed, and the dogfight was on. Amazing acrobatics followed as each tried to out turn the other, incredible to watch. Finally the House Martin made a mistake, unable to pull up out of a loop, it dropped into the water and couldn't recover, the Hobby was on hand to pick up the pieces and plucked it's prey from the water before flying off downstream to find a suitable breakfast spot.

Mornings don't start much better than that, not for the House Martin though!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Garden visitor

This Squirrel has been a regular in the garden over the last few days:

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel
I put out some nuts yesterday and she (I think!) spent most of the time burying them all over the place.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

News from the Badger Sett

There hasn't been much of interest going on recently at the Badger Sett, just the usual comings and goings. Last week, however, a female Muntjac passed through with her fawn in tow.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Box End Park WeBS: 19/08/2012

Made the most of the cool early morning to get in my WeBS count. Nothing particularly exciting although it was nice to see the 2 Kingfishers flying around the south lake. There were also 2 Common Sandpipers along the west side of the north lake. They finally have a bit of shoreline to work with now the water levels have finally returned to normal levels.

Black-headed Gull 3  
Common Sandpiper 2  
Common Tern 2  
Cormorant 2  
Grey Heron 2  
Grey Wagtail 2
Kingfisher 2  
Lapwing 1  
Little Grebe 1  
Mallard 40  (1 female had 3 ducklings. 35 Mallards were seen departing to the west as I arrived but cannot be sure they were from the site.)
Mute Swan 4  
Pied/White Wagtail 26 Minimum

Total number of species: 12 Individuals: 87

Also seen/heard were:

House Martin 15
Stock Dove 1
Swallow 25
Chiffchaff 3
Blackcap 1
Green Woodpecker 1
Linnet 1

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sunday 12th August

Had a pleasant wander along the river at Kempston Mill this morning and caught up with one of the Fox cubs at Church End. Haven't seen them since I first photographed them but this chap was out and about early on. Looked a bit wet so not sure whether it'd had an early dip in the river or had just been laying in the dewy grass. Beautiful light first thing:

Fox cub
There was a noisy Sparrowhawk family at Biddenham Loop CP. I managed to get this distant shot of one of,  at least, four birds which were calling constantly. At one point they were all in the air together but they just wouldn't come across to my side of the river to allow better images: 

On the edge of the new build I came across a couple of young Common Whitethroats, one of which below, in an uncharacteristic environment:
Common Whitethroat
On the return leg along the river at Kempston this Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling from high up in a dead tree:

Great Spotted Woodpecker