Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Stockgrove Country Park

I hadn't visited this site for a few years and I think it might be a few more before I go back.
 It is now known as Rushmere Country Park or something
A couple of automatic barriers greet you at the entrance to the car park and they now expect £2 to park. Conveniently all the outside parking has been removed.
 The café is closed - not sure if permanent or just for the winter.

Now one of the main reasons people visit this place is to feed the ducks, mainly a few Mallards but mostly the large number of Mandarins that used to live on the lake.
 Having reached the said water body deep into the woods I was surprised to see numerous signs advising people not to feed the ducks and giving various reasons as to why,supposedly for the benefit of other wildlife.
 But guess what,  no Mandarins ! a few years ago there were over a hundred here at this time of year
 Talk about killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg. If you  want to turn this place into a commercial venture you need a few attractions e.g. a café and some very attractive waterfowl. What's more to have the cheek to charge for It !.

 The usual woodland birds are still plentiful though and a handful of seed placed on some fence posts brought them down close ( oh should I have done that ?!  well chop my hands off and beat me with a big stick !!!!!)



Mrs Blackbird

Coal Tit

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fried or Boiled ?

Found this Swans egg at Caldecotte Lake yesterday.
The recent flooding must have lifted it off the island and onto the shore.
Obviously one that didn't hatch last summer as it's well addled.

The £2 coin gives an idea of how big it actually is.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Otters at Sainsbury's !

Having heard that there were Otters being seen in the centre of Market Harborough, I just had to go.
I'd only ever seen one in the wild once before and that was quite a distance the middle of Island Mere at Minsmere.

I had heard that 2 sibling Otters had taken up residence on the River Welland that flows through the centre of town and were being seen regularly by passing shoppers.
 When I arrived a small group of people were standing on the opposite side of the river to a hollow tree which was apparently the duos resting up place.
 I had hardly been there a couple of minutes when one of the young Otters was suddenly walking down a sloping branch into the water just ten yards away. Amazing !!

 Showing absolutely no fear of it's band of admirers this fantastic creature worked it's way down stream until it was out of view.

 At this point most people thinking the show was over and drifted off but I stayed around talking to one of the locals.
 It was then that the second Otter appeared out of the Holt.  This one decided to hang around though and attracted quite a crowd - photographers and people laden down with bags of shopping, as at one point it was in the river right outside Sainsbury's front door.

 I have to say this one of the most amazing wildlife experiences and if you've never seen a wild Otter get yourself over to Market Harborough.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Some everyday Bucks birds

Silly title really.
ALL Bucks birds are everyday birds
.It's very rare anything unusual turns up in our county and if they should, they very quickly move on just as soon as they realise their mistake.
 Most local birders joke about the Bucks forcefield that prevents decent birds touching down in this area but the facts seem to back it up.
 Places like Wilstone Reservoir, Stewartby Lake and Summerleys, all just over the county line pull in some amazing birds.
I put in some incredible hours scouring North Bucks hoping to turn up something even slightly exciting. But it just doesn't seem to happen. OK over the years I have discovered my own Hoopoe, Wryneck, Honey Buzzard, Pied Flycatcher and a few less unusual species.
But it's not just me, no-one else seems to find anything either. A few years back there was a thriving birding community in the area but I think everyone got too disillusioned with never getting a decent reward for their labours and have just drifted away.
 Contrast this to the neighbouring counties. Already this year Northants have had 3 Great White Egrets, Great Northern Diver and 3 Long-tailed Ducks, Beds have had Glossy Ibis ,Great Northern Diver and Common Scoter, Herts have had Little Stint and Water Pipit, Oxon had a Glossy Ibis.
 What about Bucks ? Oh yeah a Cattle Egret. Good bird but that's all.
O.K I've managed a decent 82 species so far in Bucks but I was totally deflated to see some Geezer in Sussex already has 137 species for his home county, I'll be lucky to get 150 for the year. In fact there'll probably only be about 190 recorded in the whole of the county.

 Anyway back to the everyday birds. some photos from Willen today, where it never got more exciting than a Water Rail, several Goldeneye,3 Little Grebe and a couple of Snipe,

juvenile Grey Heron

Canada Goose

Black-headed Gull


A bit of excitement in Newport Pagnell this afternoon. I was working in Lathbury and looked up to see this.
 A huge warehouse fire had broken out on the Interchange Industrial Estate.I could see the flames from well over a mile away
Caused a bit of chaos with the A509 having to be closed and needed the attention of some 60 firefighters

Monday, 6 January 2014

Guardian of the Golf Course

This rather striking pale Buzzard has taken up residence at the Bow Brickhill end of Woburn Golf Course.