Marsh Lane News - September 09
30th September 2009 - Overcast, occasional light drizzle on a north-westerly breeze.
Generally quiet. The Pintail remains on Car Park Pool (I think it is actually a male in eclipse, rather than a female as previously reported) and a Kingfisher showed well in front of River Hide. Very little movement overhead, just 12 Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail.
The only warbler on show was a singing Chiffchaff by the cottages.
29th September 2009 - Sunny, increasingly brisk westerly wind.
A pair of Ravens from Hampton in Arden, and another from the Berkswell area, spent some time during the morning “interacting” in the skies above and east and west of the Reserve. A Greenshank flew through, calling, at about 2 p.m., and in the fine weather visible migration was limited to four Swallows, four House Martins and ten Meadow Pipits. At least 25 Reed Buntings and three Yellow Hammers were feeding in the crop field.
28th September 2009 - Mostly cloudy, light north-westerly
The Wigeon flock has increased to 62 and the female Pintail remains. East of the A452 numbers of Golden Plover had also increased, to 25, and other birds in the fields there included 150 Starlings, 100 Jackdaws, four Stock Doves and 200 Lapwings. A trickle of visible migration included five Swallows, seven Meadow Pipits and a Pied Wagtail.
27th September 2009 - Quickly clouding over, after a sunny start. Still and mild.
The continuing fine weather meant the Reserve was quiet. The Pintail continued to hide, often asleep, on Car Park Pool, a Raven flew along the edge of Siden Hill Wood and in the game crop along the Old Road, a Blackcap and two Chiffchaffs joined 25 each of Greenfinch and Chaffinch.
26th September 2009 - Cloudy start, sunny most of the day. Light north-westerly.
In the crop field, the Bunting flock had increased again. Reed Buntings totalled 35-40 and Yellowhammers six, but more unexpected was a Sedge Warbler feeding in amongst them. Other Warblers were limited to a single Blackcap in the car park and single Chiffchaffs by the south-west pond and on the old road.
A trickle of overhead passage included 34 Swallows, 20 Meadow Pipits, eight Skylarks, three Grey and five Pied Wagtails. Of the first five Siskins of the year, three flew over and two fed in the Alders on the concrete road. 29 Linnets on the railway embankment was a good early season count.
The Saturday Duck count saw increases in Shoveler numbers to 55, with other numbers as follows: 49 Wigeon, 10 Gadwall, 16 Teal, 112 Mallard, a female Pintail, three Pochard and 34 Tufted.
In the warm sunny afternoon weather, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Speckled Wood butterflies were on the wing, a pair of Tree Sparrows spent 15 minutes in the hedge by the car park and a Peregrine put in a brief appearance.
25th September 2009 - Sunny start but clouding over from the north-west.
An hours visible migration watch between 9.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. yielding 102 Meadow Pipits, 32 House Martins, eight Swallows, six Chaffinches, three Skylarks, one Pied Wagtail, two Reed Buntings, one Mistle Thrush, two Greenfinches and a Song Thrush.
The Pintail was again on Car Park Pool and at least one Black Darter showed around the Dragonfly Pond prior to the clouding over.
24th September 2009 - Sunny, still with a light mist early on.
Another lovely day, but no visible migration of note this morning. The Peregrine was again perched in the top of the Larch in Siden Hill Wood and a Hobby pursued prey to the east of the A452. A Golden Plover was heard, a Kingfisher showed well on Dragonfly Pond and a Blackcap was seen by the car park gates.
Later in the morning, three Golden Plover circled the reserve before appearing to drop onto the fields east of the A452. Yesterday's female Pintail was again on Car Park Pool.
There will be some maintenance work carried out this afternoon, so apologies in advance for any disturbance.
During the day, up to three male Black Darters were found around the Dragonfly Pond, a quite exceptional local record. A Red Kite drifted over to the north-east at about 1 pm and the Peregrine was seen again. 15 Snipe, a Sedge Warbler and a Water Rail were all seen around Railway Pool.
23rd September 2009 - Occasional sunny intervals, odd showers, mostly high cloud and a westerly wind.
An early morning Peregrine caused some displacement of birds on both pools, but did not prevent a female Pintail, the first of the autumn, being found on Car Park Pool in the middle of the morning. A Hobby appeared at about the same time, but there was relatively little visible migration and between 7.45 a.m. and 8.45 a.m., this was limited to singles of Grey and Pied Wagtail, approximately ten Meadow Pipits and a House Martin.
A late Sedge Warbler fed in the old road hedge just south of the car park feeder, along with over ten Reed Buntings.
At least one Water Rail was vocal around the north causeway screen and a Kingfisher again showed well on Railway Pool.
22nd September 2009 - Sunny intervals, light westerly wind.
The Wigeon flock has increased again and now numbers 46, and a Kingfisher is showing regularly and fairly well on Railway Pool. The only sign of migration was in the shape of 23 House Martins.
21st September 2009 - Sunny start with increasing cloud from mid morning, light north-westerly.
A few birds of note today included a pair of Tree Sparrows on the Oak Hide feeder (the first for some weeks), a juvenile Common Tern on Car Park Pool, a Peregrine on its usual perch in the top of the dead Larch in Siden Hill Wood, and a number of sightings of Kingfisher. A count of 59 Meadow Pipits in the tip field was of note.
Thanks to Chris Laight for some work to allow the sluices to be lowered a bit further in the hope of attracting more waders.
20th September 2009 - Sunny and warm most of the day. Clouding over late afternoon. Light, cool northerly wind.
In the afternoon, a Peregrine took a Wood Pigeon over Railway Pool and a Sparrowhawk displaced the Finches on the game crop along the old road. The little visible migration that was reported was confined to two Grey Wagtails and a handful of Meadow Pipits. A Water Rail showed itself by the north causeway screen, and some calling from various birds over the last few days suggests some immigration.
19th September 2009 - Light north-easterly. Cloudy start giving way to warm sunny conditions.
An adult winter Mediterranean Gull on Car Park Pool was the first of the year. It was found around 11.30 but regrettably did not linger. Other quality came in the shape of a Little Egret, also on Car Park Pool, in the late afternoon.
There seemed to be little visible migration but, nevertheless, plenty of birds. Both game covers (that by the car park and the other along the old road) were lively. The latter held approximately 25 each of Chaffinch and Greenfinch and a slight increase in Reed Buntings to at least five. The Reed Buntings in the former had increased to 27 with at least five Yellowhammers.
Nine Chiffchaffs and five Blackcaps were mostly confined to the old road. At least six Song Thrushes and two Mistle Thrushes towards the farm appeared to be migrants, new in. Two Grey Wagtails flew low over the road whilst, on the pools, the Wigeon flock continues to increase and now totals 40.
18th September 2009 - Light north-easterly. Cloudy start giving way to warm sunny conditions.
A showy Kingfisher was the only bird recorded in the log.
17th September 2009 - Mostly overcast, with a light north-easterly wind in the continuing anti-cyclonic conditions.
The Wigeon flock continues to increase and has now reached 30. Otherwise the best of today’s activity came from the Dragonfly Pond with the first returning and somewhat early Jack Snipe of the autumn, together with the only record so far this year of Ruddy Darter.
Amongst the Black-headed Gulls was a particularly attractive Leucistic bird had very little normal colouration on it at all, and thus appeared almost all white.
16th September 2009 - Overcast morning, clearing to more sunny conditions in the afternoon, with the north-easterly wind continuing.
Unfortunately there was no sign of the Spotted Redshank this morning, but a large Plover, possibly Grey, flew over to the north. Visible migration early morning included 22 Swallows 42 House Martins, 15 Meadow Pipits and a Grey Wagtail. Green Sandpiper put in a brief appearance, as did a Hobby, and a Water Rail was also seen.
In the late morning, two Ravens spent a quarter of an hour riding the wind across the front of Siden Hill Wood and wandering backwards and forwards over the Reserve.
15th September 2009 - Mostly cloudy, north north-easterly wind.
The best bird of the day saved itself for the late evening, when a juvenile Spotted Redshank was picked up at dusk on the spit in front of River Hide. This is only the third record for the Reserve. Other birds of note during the day included a first-winter Common Gull, Water Rail a further increase in Wigeon to 20 birds and four Grey Wagtails which flew over to the north-east in the early evening.
14th September 2009 - Cool north-easterly wind, mostly cloudy.
Birds today included at least two Hobbies, one of which took a Greenfinch from the grain crop just north of the horse paddock on the old road. Two Ravens, a Grey Wagtail and at least five Chiffchaffs. Wigeon continue to increase with 11 today.
13th September 2009 - Sunny start but clouding over from about 11.30 a.m., on a strong north-easterly wind.
A quiet morning was enlivened by an adult and four young Stoats “ferreting” about in the Marsh. Four Wigeon flew south with two seen on the Reserve. Later in the day, both Greenshank and Dunlin put in appearances, but the old road and game covers seemed subdued by comparison to previous days.
12th September 2009 - Sunny, north-easterly cool overnight.
The waterfowl counts yielded seven Dabchicks (including a new juvenile on Railway Pool), four Great Crested Grebes, 25 Cormorants, five Herons, eight Mute Swans and the regular Black Swan, three Wigeon, eight Gadwall, 25 Teal, 83 Mallard, 36 Shoveler, 26 Pochard and 56 Tufted Duck (there was a count of 150 on the evening before suggesting some short term influx).
The Lapwing flock reached 375 and a Green Sandpiper was present briefly in the morning. Snipe totalled nine.
Chiffchaff numbers reached at least seven, with a Blackcap found by the farm. The best birds of the day were probably a pair of Willow Tits heard calling on the railway embankment and there was a Coal Tit in the Tit flock by the entrance gate cottages.
11th September 2009 - Sunny, light north-easterly, cool overnight.
The best record today was of a male Black Darter which showed well along the causeway in the late morning and, fortunately, was photographed. This is only the second for the Reserve and the finder, Lee Johnson, tells me that yesterday the first for Northants was also recorded.
A Hobby showed well over the pools at the same time, and hopefully did not snatch the Darter!
Some visible migration was present with Swallows continuing to move through (approximately 50 per half hour), a trickle of Meadow Pipits, four Yellow Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail. There are now two Wigeon on Car Park Pool, together with ten Snipe and the Peregrine again showed in the morning.
10th September 2009 - Sunny, light north-easterly, cool overnight.
An increase in duck numbers with Pochard reaching 19 and Shoveler 30. A Hobby was again present in the sunny weather, 20 Goldfinches were in a tight flock along the stream line and a juvenile Bullfinch showed on the old road.
9th September 2009 - Clear, sunny, still start but with an increasing north westerly wind after the passage of the cold front last night.
On Osprey flew in from the east at 8.40 a.m., and circled the pools before flying south. It disturbed all the birds on the pool again after they had only just settled from the antics of yesterday's Peregrine, which subsequently perched in the top of the dead Larch in Siden Hill Wood.
The game cover along the Old Road was again lively with Greenfinches and Chaffinches and there was also an elusive Spotted Flycatcher in the roadside hedge there.
Seven House Martins and three Sand Martins went south, together with two Alba Wagtails, four or five Meadow Pipits and a Collared Dove. Five Yellowhammers were in the main game crop south of the car park and six Chiffchaffs were along the Old Road.
8th September 2009 - Occasional sunny intervals, strong blustery south-westerly wind.
A large female Peregrine caused havoc across the pools and adjoining fields at 10 a.m. The Lapwing flock remained airborne for some while as the Peregrine skirted the edge of Siden Hill Wood before finally disappearing to the west. The 60 strong Jackdaw flock and numerous Wood Pigeons were also displaced. A short while later, a Raven flew backwards and forwards over Hampton in Arden.
Hirundine passage continues with at least 46 House Martins, 15 Swallows and two Sand Martins south in 30 minutes. Odd Meadow Pipits and Finches and a Grey Wagtail were also on the move.
On the pools, the weekend’s male Wigeon was again on Car Park Pool, along with 26 Shoveler and ten Pochard.
An adult Hobby showed briefly at 10.30 a.m., and later it perched on bushes on the railway embankment, and sallying forth to pick off dragonflies.
Approximately 600 Starlings went to roost in the Reedbed and Swallows continued to pass south well into the evening, in small numbers.
Two Noctule Bats around Siden Hill Wood, and a Muntjac opposite Oak Hide, provided some additional evening variety.
7th September 2009 - Sunny with westerly wind.
The only record of note is Pochard numbers have increased to between 15 and 20.
6th September 2009 - Dry, high cloud and light westerly wind.
The first returning Wigeon was on Car Park Pool all day, and a trickle of Meadow Pipits continued south, but not apparently in yesterday's numbers. Hirundines continue to be present in surprisingly large numbers with 50 to 70 House Martins, 20 Swallows and at least seven Sand Martins present in the morning. 11 Goldfinches were present around the car park, and seven Snipe and two Hobbies were also seen.
5th September 2009 - Sunny and cool.
The first notable Meadow Pipit passage of the autumn took place during the morning, with 58 birds counted heading south to about 11 a.m. The sustained hirundine passage also continued with an estimated 80 House Martins, 15 Swallows and two to three Sand Martins present or moving through in the morning. Numbers were probably in excess of this as birds came and went.
The game cover just north of the horse paddock was probably the liveliest section for passerines with 60 Chaffinches spread between there and the farm and a notable increase in Greenfinches from single figures to approximately 30 birds. A single Yellowhammer and two Reed Buntings were also in the crop and five or six Chiffchaffs either in the crop itself or in the surrounding hedgerows.
At least two and probably three Whitethroats showed well on the old road or in the car park, and Reed Warblers were seen on the railway embankment and in the pond by the car park.
The juvenile Common Tern reappeared, a Grey Wagtail showed well by the farm, the Lapwing count reached 590 and Waterfowl numbers were as follows: two Great-crested Grebes, eight Little Grebes, 11 Gadwall, 21 Pochard, 90 Tufted, 12 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 74 Coot, 16 Moorhen, nine Herons and seven Cormorant.
Finally, there were at least four different Nuthatches recorded across the Reserve and Painted Ladies were a little more obvious than had been been apparent for some weeks, with at least three seen, one by the railway and two in the game covers.
4th September 2009 - Blustery north-westerly wind, occasional showers.
A Dunlin on Car Park Pool was new in, in the morning, but a Hobby went over around mid day and flushed everything but the bird was subsequently relocated in the afternoon. What was presumably yesterday's juvenile Common Tern appeared at about 12.30 p.m. and hirundines were again on the move in substantial numbers with 70 to 100 present or moving through at the same time. All three species were present. At least four Chiffchaffs were vocal down the old road.
The game cover just north of the horse paddock, along the Old Road, was again lively with similar species and numbers as earlier in the week but in addition a Tawny Owl was flushed from the hedgeline. Either one of yesterday’s Swifts or another one was also present for much of the afternoon.
Later in the day two Hobbies were taking advantage of the warmer weather to hawk dragonflies over the pools.
3rd September 2009 - Wet start, strong blustery south-westerly wind, brightening to showery later.
Despite all the wind and rain, the pools remained stubbornly uneventful with interest again limited to the more sheltered hedgerows of the Old Road and railway embankment. Most birds were in amongst roving Tit flocks with at least three Chiffchaffs, a Whitethroat and a Blackcap amongst 30 to 40 birds on the railway embankment in the morning. At least two further Chiffchaffs were with a similar flock on the Old Road, and one called on the causeway where there were at least four Reed Warblers, probably a late family party.
In the afternoon, two Willow Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat were additional Warblers found on the railway embankment and two late Swifts passed through, together with a juvenile Common Tern.
Hirundine passage continued all day with the species in the majority being House Martins on this occasion. Most numbers were unquantified but two flocks of at least 150 each flew over during the afternoon. Five Snipe were present in torrential rain in the evening.
2nd September 2009 - Mostly overcast, occasional rain, slight southerly
The Old Road this morning included at least three Chiffchaffs, a juvenile male Blackcap, a Whitethroat, 20 Long-tailed Tits and a Yellowhammer around the car park gates with least three more Chiffchaffs around the top gate.
As at the weekend, the game cover by the horse paddock remains lively with at least a further eight Chiffchaffs there, together with 30-40 Chaffinches, at least six Greenfinches, two Goldfinches and a Yellowhammer.
House Martins continued to pass through with ten around the top gate at 10am, at least a further 30 through in the subsequent hour together with seven Sand Martins and two Swallows. A patrolling Hobby kept them mobile.
The first Meadow Pipits of the Autumn (two) also went over at 10am.
On the Pools Shoveler numbers had reached 22 and there were 13 Pochard and four Teal. By the central stream, at least three Green Woodpeckers were together.
No doubt because of the weather, only three people braved the work party and a bedraggled lot we were by the end of it! The majority of the islands on Railway Pool have now been strimmed, further clearance within the Marsh was undertaken, and some maintenance of hide flaps and doors was completed. Thanks also to Chris Laight for bringing a digger onto site to carry out some larger Willow clearance at the top end of Car Park Pool.
In the blustery and very wet conditions, approximately 50 hirundines were hunting until dusk in the lee of the central stream.
1st September 2009 - Sunny intervals with periodic heavy showers and a strong south westerly
The number of Starlings roosting in the reedbed reached between 800-1000 this evening and also included a few Swallows. In the late evening 40-50 Swallows and 30 House Martins were over Car Park pool.
Dabchicks have hatched out a late brood of 3 youngsters on railway pool and other birds of note included over 70 Rooks around Siden Hill Wood, ten Snipe, 19 Pochard and a Roe Deer in front of Siden Hill Wood.