Monday, 17 September 2012

Box End Park WeBS: 16/09/2012

It was a strange morning, the lake was very quiet in terms of water birds but a few surprises made up for it in the end. It was a miserable start, overcast and drizzle but the drizzle had died out by the end of the visit so i could dry out a bit.

Highlight of the morning were the 2 Hobbies coming in from the south with one of the birds taking a dive at what I suspect was one of the Grey Wagtails along the east side of the north lake. It missed and they didn't hang around for long. It was also nice to find a Yellow Wagtail in with the Pied's, Linnets and Meadow Pipits over near the main building.

The Grey Wagtail count was high for the site where we sometimes get 1 or 2. All 5 were along the east shore of the north lake doing a spot of fly catching.

Full WeBS submission as follows:

Black-headed Gull 1  
Cormorant 3  
Grey Heron 1  
Grey Wagtail 5  
Hobby 2  
Kestrel 1  
Kingfisher 1  
Lapwing 1  
Linnet 9  
Mallard 31 Plus another 77 over north.
Mandarin Duck 1  
Meadow Pipit 9 Plus 1 over east.
Moorhen 1  
Mute Swan 4  
Pied/White Wagtail 25  
Sparrowhawk 1  
Yellow Wagtail 1  
Total number of species: 17 Individuals: 97

A Little Egret passed through south early on. There was also a small party of House Martins feeding overhead most of the morning. Good numbers of Swallows (~18) were over in the south west corner of the park with another 10 passing through south. 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls passed through, 2 south and 2 east. A Jay was also a noisy visitor.

So all in all a pretty successful morning.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Kempston Mill/Biddenham Loop this morning

JA has seen Otters around the Mill pool several times recently but I hadn't until today. I spotted a single Otter under the trees just upstream from the Mill pool and followed it a short way upstream. The light was terrible early on so no photo's this time but great to see an Otter that far down stream. I lost it downstream from the weir when it slipped under the water and disappeared.

There was plenty of sign yesterday morning with fresh spraint on the wood/gravel steps by the weir and in the usual spot, on the concrete outflow by the bypass bridge. Also looking across the river at the weir there are quite a few Crayfish claws on the bank where it meets the wall of the weir on the downstream side, looks like a regular eating spot.

I continued upstream this morning and at Biddenham Loop CP I found suitable subjects and conditions to attempt a "black background" shot and it didn't turn out too bad, if I do say so myself:

Sleeping Mute Swans
Unfortunately the Swans were really keen on snoozing so the next shot was one of the few times when one of them moved. I didn't quite nail it in the few seconds before it settled down again. I would really have liked the full reflection in the shot but that's one for next time.

Mute Swan on black

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Late Swallow Nest

Swallow nest
Photographed these guys at the weekend. It's quite late for Swallows to still be in the nest. In fact I thought one had fledged as I knew there were four earlier in the week. It was so dark I couldn't see the one at the back until I got this shot up on the big screen when I got home. They have now left the nest and will soon be off to Africa.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Recent activity from the Badger sett

There hasn't been much going on at the sett in recent weeks but this last week there seems to be an infestation in the sett!

The first part of the video is sound only, a Tawny Owl calls accompanied by Badgers scratching out of shot.

Next up we have a one of the Badgers urinating and then a second comes along and is very interested in the scent.

Then some more scratching and grooming to finish off.

Turn up the sound....

Feeling itchy yet :-)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Otter at the Mill

The Otters seem to be very active again at the moment. JA had 2 in the Mill pool at Kempston Mill on Sunday morning, following on from my sighting last week. This morning I came across a single Otter up near Church End. This animal was much more confiding than last weeks and I had great views down to a few feet. Here are the pictures: