Saturday, 7 September 2019

Natural England again.

More outrageous stuff, from Natural England.

On another note......

Great Crested Grebe wins burping competition
Yellow-legged Gull claims he's innocent.

Fisheries Union meeting goes swimmingly 

Spose' it's my tern for the chip's then !

A little levity, Cheerz Robin.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Indoor Meeting Wednesday 4th Sept.


The next indoor meeting of the club will be on Wednesday 4th September when three members will each provide a short presentation on bird/wildlife related topics of their choice. Lynne Barnett will commence proceedings, followed by Pete Gilbert and then committee member Mark Williams.

As usual the meeting will commence at 7.30pm at our usual venue of the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir (just outside the village of Holcot on the Brixworth Road NN6 9SJ). The meeting is open to members and non members alike and hot drinks and biscuits will be available during the evening.

These short presentation evenings have proved popular so be sure to be there a soon as you can to reserve your chair!


Neil M

Great Tit courtesy
of Cathy Ryden.

Stock Dove.


Saturday, 31 August 2019

Petition to ban driven grouse shooting

A message from Dr Mark Avery...

The petition was set up by Chris Packham and had already gathered over 72,000 signatures in just over a week. That's good going. But time is short because we need to get past 100,000 signatures to trigger a debate in the Westminster Parliament to raise the profile of this issue. Although in theory we have until 13 February to get to 100,000 signatures it isn't that simple as, if a general election is called (as seems likely some time this autumn) then all petitions are closed and we'd have to start again!

So I am asking for your help, please, whether you agree with the petition or not, to spread the word to your friends and colleagues.

There are two ways that you can help, please:

  • sign the petition yourself
  • forward details to friends, family etc
I'd be very grateful, and so would Chris, for any support. 

Dr Mark Avery


Meadow Pipit.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Newly observed bird behaviour

Hi Folk"s thought you might like,

Cormorant eats cormorant !

Yum, yum !

Reverse hunting technique by Common Tern.

Great Crested Grebe, start's Taxi firm,

Holcot bay please.

Cheerz Robin.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Uganda - Pearl of Africa


Our next indoor meeting on Wednesday 7th August is an illustrated talk on Uganda by club member Paul Fuller.

'Uganda, well known for it's trips to see Gorillas but often overlooked by birdwatchers and general safari travellers in favour of other East African destinations, has snow-capped mountains, impenetrable forests, wetlands to dry savanna, good visitor facilities and friendly people giving much to offer any natural history enthusiast.

This illustrated talk shows some of the variety of birds and mammals to be seen in this fascinating country.'

The meeting will commence at 7.30pm with general notices and then Paul will provide his presentation, the venue being the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir. Hot drinks and biscuits will be available free of charge. This meeting is open to members and non members, we look forward to seeing you there!


Neil M

Marabou Stork.

Saddle-billed Stork.


Tuesday, 30 July 2019


I received this Email from a friend,

Natural England, caring for our wildlife. Our world seem's to have gone absolutely crazy.

Blue, Coal and other's with the penalty of death on their heads, Tree creeper's Sparrow's
etc under the same penalty.
Natural England has issued permit's for them to be killed, you just cannot believe it.
It's an absolute OUTRAGE !!

The very people empowered to take care of our declining and precious wildlife, it's immoral
Why would they give permission for this inexcusable attack on our wildlife...........

(You may need to highlight, right click, go to address, below)
I've done nothing !!

Sunday, 28 July 2019


In the words of Micheal Bolton, you aint got nothing if you aint got love.

Well, Bird club member Mark Williams has obviously found it with his lovely partner Kay.

Both Mark and Kay tied the knot and were married on Saturday  accompanied by their beautiful daughter Ellie.

I'm sure we would all like to give the happy couple  our hearty Congratulations and
very best wishes in the years to come.

Raise a glass to Mark and Kay.

For those of you concerned that this might impinge on Marks birding
activities, don't worry.
Kay said he can still go as long as she say's so.......

Well done to the happy couple.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Celebrating 50 Years of Pitsford Water Reserve

Pitsford Water Nature Reserve – Wildlife Week
Saturday 20th July to Sunday 28th July

Celebrating 50 years of The Wildlife Trust BCN managing this wonderful reserve in partnership with Anglian Water

Help celebrate this milestone by coming along to one of the events. There is something for everybody - illustrated talks, moth morning, wildlife photography exhibition, wildflower wander, family nature walks, art workshop, bird ringing demonstration and exploring invertebrate sessions. 

Come to one of the Meet the Wildlife Trust sessions, to find out more about the site, and how you can gain a permit to walk around the reserve.

For more information, please look at:

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Last of the summer wine


Last Wednesday was the Bird Club's summer outdoor meeting and Sarah Gibbs organised it for us to take a ride in a trailer down to the Walgrave Bay at Pitsford Reservoir. Eighteen of us duly attended and after meeting David the local gamekeeper, we were driven down to the bay which is a section of the reserve that receives relatively little perusal these days. In fact speaking with some members it seemed that many years had passed since they had taken footsteps into the biggest bay on the reserve!

The evening was dry, sunny and remarkably warm as we embarked on our little adventure. We meandered along the mowed path and first stop was the Walgrave Hide where Pete Gilbert and Helen Franklin had hot drinks and biscuits organised for us! This was particularly welcome for those that had just come from work or a day out and hadn't time to refresh before the meeting.

Plenty of common birds were about including calling and singing Garden Warblers, a pair of Great Crested Grebes right outside the hide and quite a raft of ducks which included two drake Red-crested Pochard, a Wigeon and good numbers of Gadwall and Pochard. Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawk put in appearances and a Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly showed nicely. Lots of insects about included the localised elongated Black Snail Beetle silpha tristis.

Further down and the Flowering Rush was exhibiting its pretty pink flowers and at least one Blue Emperor was on the wing; a quick-moving hawker dragonfly might have been a Southern but it and a couple of others remained unidentified. A Grasshopper Warbler sang from dense vegetation and showed itself briefly a couple of times as it flew towards us. A few Muntjac Deer sauntered just ahead of us. By the time we reached the small ponds the light and warmth was beginning to dwindle and we took a walk back the way we had come, but not before some of us took a rest stop at the Gerald Mead bench, in memory of a popular and talented birder from a couple of decades ago who loved birding this section of the reservoir.

On our walk back we counted at least nine Little Egrets roosting near to The Point. Shortly after this we boarded our return trailer and were driven regally back to our waiting vehicles. A very enjoyable little excursion made possible with the assistance of David from the Wilsons estate and organisation from Sarah.


Neil M

Black-tailed Skimmer.

Martin: "You know what I reckon there could be
a Red-breasted Fly around here somewhere?"
Laughter from Bob and Alan...

Colin: "What's this talk about a Red-breasted Fly?"
Alan:  "Well I can feel it in my water, I'm sure!"
Colin:  "Nah you've been drinking too much of the Bird
Club coffee again!"

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Club Outdoor Meeting Wednesday 3rd July


The July meeting for the club is traditionally an outdoor field meeting and we start at 7pm this coming Wednesday (3rd).

The plan is to meet at the Old Walgrave Road at Pitsford Reservoir which is found off the minor road between the villages of Holcot and Walgrave. Here we will park our vehicles on some hard standing next to a barn and take a trailer ride down to the Walgrave Bay of Pitsford Reservoir. There will be cones/signs on the Holcot - Walgrave road indicating the turn.

The plan is to then walk down towards the back of the bay, perhaps making it as far as some small ponds which tend to be good for invertebrates. The usual refreshments will be on-site, perhaps using the Walgrave Hide as our base for hot drinks and coffee! After a couple of hours or so we will take a ride back up to the parked vehicles. We hope to see birds, insects and have an opportunity of speaking with Sarah Gibbs (senior reserve warden) about some of the woodland management and wildlife improvement plans for the site.

The weather forecast currently looks good so it should be a pleasant evening walk! All welcome!

Neil M

Common Terns.


Thursday, 27 June 2019


Hi good people,

Bird club member Dave Thomas recently came back from a photographic trip to Finland.

Finland has always been a magical place to visit for bird watcher's, especially for European Owl's, Woodpeckers and lots of other scandinavian delights.
There are lot's of places to visit now, set up to see and photograph Bear, Wolf  and Wolverine.

Dave went with  Canon ambassador Danny Green, Natures images to Martinselkonen a guaranteed place to see Brown Bear, Dave seeing 31 animal's on the first night. WoW!

Staying in different hides every night from 4pm to 7am the next morning ! Dave managed lot's of  fine images, some of which are shared  below.

He also met an Owl guy, who tracks owl's earlier in the year  and provides suitable  tree stump accommodation .

Great Grey Owl

Just some of Dave's beautiful images, Many thanks.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019


At the risk of showing some of my not so good shots, I thought you might forgive me and enjoy, if that's the right word. An exciting hour or so for me at least, photographing Arctic Skua's and their endeavour's.

Arctic Skua.

In June last year Neil, Eleanor, Wendy and myself embarked on our first ever trip to Iceland.

The trip was based in the North-west birding area's, taking in the Snaefellsness peninsula and lake Myvatn.

 If you think that the wet weather of the past week or so was aweful, add a few degree's of coldness and strong wind, that would be the prevailing condition's we were contending with most of our trip. So  finding a cafe along Miofjorour at Hvammstangi was a welcome relief.

Although the sky held rain and it was very breezy I found a partly sheltered spot and elected to stand and try to photograph some Arctic Skua's...whilst the other's sat in the warm and dry drinking their expresso's

The lighting was dismal and grey my Iso  as low as I dared at f5.6 as I tried to track and photograph the distant action. I soon became enthralled with the action and dilemma's being played out in front of me.

Picking a target
Skua's are much larger than their victims and are in effect mugger's and bullies.
Although one thing I love about the arctic Skua is it's fighter style prowess in the air.

The chase begins 

They identify their quarry and soon get along side their hapless victim.

Flying upside down !

With  speed and acrobatic flight they easily catch up and strike terror into the much smaller Arctic Terns.

Catching the disgorged food 
As often is the case, harassing the Tern's, they are forced into disgorging their food. But the Skua still
has to catch the falling bounty.

Swerving to find another Tesco's trolley.

This time a Black headed Gull, take a close look at the flight attitudes of both birds.

Trick flying.

Sometimes the Black-headed Gulls are not so easy to mug, but the Skua's have it covered.

Two against one

Once the Skua's have prompted the Gull to regurgitate it's food, it's a race to see who can catch it.

But Hey ! this fiesty Gull isn't taking things lying down.

Whoops better move on.

Amazing the Gull was able to defend itself and move the marauder's off.

Another Gull doesn't defend so well and gives up it's hard gained food.

If you look closely you can see dinner arriving or is it departing?

Two lumps up for grabs

I can't quite imagine that the discarded food is all hoovered up, there must be a lot of wastage?

And so the conflict's continue as they have alway's done from the distant past. Although I've called them  bullies, this is the way they survive and they should not be maligned in any way for the way they live. It's all part of nature's rich tapestry and I would not change a thing.

Hope you have liked this short epic adventure, I found them simply captivating and enthralling, I hope that I have conveyed that feeling to you.
I Would dearly luv to do it all again and maybe I will !!

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Club Indoor Meeting 5th June


Next Wednesday (5th June) is this month's club indoor meeting at the Fishing Lodge, Pitsford Reservoir. Our speaker is club member Jeff Blincow who will be presenting what he considers his best talk...'Rockpooling'!

Club members will know that Jeff is an excellent all round naturalist and speaker, his enthusiasm for all aspects of wildlife is legendary and I'm sure this month's talk will be as educational and amusing as always.

The meeting commences at 7.30pm with a few notices and a brief update on the club tour of the Camargue last month and the evening is then over to Jeff. Hot drinks and biscuits will be available throughout the evening. Everyone is welcome!


Neil M

Friday, 17 May 2019

Camargue tour


Yesterday evening the group of thirteen NBC members partaking in the trip to the Camargue returned from their adventure in the south of France. The weather was dominated with strong northerly winds but a copious amount of sunshine so we have all returned back a little browner!

During our eight day tour we managed to visit some of the prime sites in the Camargue but also visited the slopes of Mount Ventoux, the plains of Le Crau and the Les Alpilles range of limestone hills.

Plenty of birds were on offer (over 160 species recorded) and we were lucky to see a wide range of insects and accumulated a healthy mammal list too. More details soon!


Neil M

Some of the wildlife encountered!

Tuesday, 30 April 2019



Sunday at Otmoor was little on the cold side upon arrival, but that did not stop the birds from singing.

All along the watchtower sorry tracks Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Sedge and Reed Warblers were singing, finding them was the problem. Singing their hearts out, but in the dense foliage they were playing difficult.
Sedge Warbler
Jenny Wren, Bob Gill

To be honest coupled with poor light the photography was made even more difficult. A Red Kite came close but against the grim sky images suffered, nothing to do with the photographer's of course!

Red Kite
Out in the fields albeit at distance the Brown Hares were chasing each other, what a superb animal the Brown Hare is ! I was also so pleased to see my old mate Loppy ear's.

Loppy ear's
Brown Hare
Still the Birds were singing Linnet, Lesser Whitethroat and a Grasshopper Warbler reeled out its song.


After a bit of well earned scoff, we watched a female Pheasant dust bathe, I must try that sometime!

Dust bathing Pheasant
 The weather had started to warm up, as all of a sudden insect's were apparent. As we were the only car on the trip the macro's came out, but then we heard a sound we had been waiting for, the purring of a Turtle Dove. I secretly wondered how long we shall still see this lovely Dove and how have we let it get to this stage of decline ?

Turtle Dove
I say the Macro lens's came out....mine was still at home...but it didn't stop me I had to use my telephoto.

Red and Black Froghopper's were out in profusion .

Froghopper Bob Gill

Cream Spot Ladybird.  Bb Gill

Orange Tip Butterflies danced along the footpath's, Bob becoming the champion of finding their minute eggs on Mustard garlic.

As usual Otmoor had given Mark, Bob, Wendy and myself another wonderful day out.

Rhingia campestris  Hoverfly

Cheers Robin.