Sunday, 2 December 2018

Indoor Meeting 5th Dec


The club's next indoor meeting is on Wednesday 5th December when our guest speakers will be the wardens from the Pembrokeshire island of Skokholm, Giselle Eagle and Richard Brown. Their presentation for the evening will reflect on the journey through the birth and evolution of Britain's first Bird Observatory.

Fresh off from the island Giselle and Richard will speak of the early days of Skokholm and of course the latter years under their control and direction. Despite it's small size the island supports thousands of pairs of sea-birds, most notably Manx Shearwater, Storm Petrel and Puffin.

The meeting begins at 7.30pm with the usual notices and of course hot drinks and biscuits will be available.

The December Newsletter is now available.

All welcome!

Neil M


Manx Shearwater.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

No Place Like Holme.

David Boucher, a new Bird Club member met the usual crew , Bob, Wendy, Mark
and myself just outside Holme village, Cambridgeshire.

David was a Bird Club member quite some time ago and now in his retirement has picked
up his binoculars again.

Reed Bunting.               RDG
A early but gentle stroll on the northern loop on the Great Fen a nice male Stonechat was enjoyed perched on the electric fence, I asked if Bob would do the same ? along with a small flock of Reed Bunting, Linnet and Goldfinch, feeding in the weeds.             Merlin habbo.

Whooper Swan            Mark Williams

Although the sky was still grey four Whoopers flew past, others with Mutes could be seen
on the distance dykes.

Whooper  Swan               Bob gill

Rough Legged Buzzard         Bob Gill

Rough Legged Buzzard        Mark Williams

Slowly moving on to the north end of the loop Mark ever vigilant pointed out a large bird
hovering in the distance.
All bins were aimed at a distant Rough legged Buzzard, a winter migrant from Scandinavia.
This was our main quarry, the black tipped white tail spread prominently, dark carpel patches
on whitish wings coupled with a dark lower belly against a whitish chest is a typical
Rough Leg.

Hanging around, the Rough leg decided not to approach  nearer and eventually flew out of site.
Cue for a cuppa and cake. Ambling back, the big bright thing in the sky decided to shine.

Fungi                 RDG

Everybody happy especially David, a walk in the fen woodland produced a tit flock, partying
through the birch trees along with a few fungi still in evidence. On the lake were the usual
culprits with the Gadwall being quite vocal.

Fen view          Bob Gill

Gadwall              RDG

A little more scoff, then back along the B660 to a point advised earlier by Alan Coles.

Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel all seen, obviously a great hunting
area. Then our second Rough Leg came into view. A little closer than our first but still
Rough Legged Buzzard                 Mark Williams

Red Kite        Mark Williams

About this time Bird Club member David Arden turned up, having been to Eldernel and
not seeing much.

About twenty minutes away near the A1 lies Ferry Meadows our last stop. Here a Red Necked
Grebe and Red Breasted Merganser had been reported.

Great Crested Grebe           Bob Gill
The RN Grebe was found by Mark, asleep floating in the middle of the lake, too distant for
anything but a record image.

R N Grebe  Kipping'    RDG

No sign of a Red Breasted Merg but a close female Goosander
was very nice.

Female Goosander                    Bob Gill

Grey Heron             RDG.

The problem with this time of year are the short days so paying the car parking charge we cruised
down the A605 and home.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Photographic Competition Changes

Hi Everyone,

Well its getting toward that time of year again, how quickly time goes.

I'm hoping that many of you will be sorting through you best images of the year
in anticipation for the NBC Photographic Competition and winning the coveted
GRAHAM SODEN Photographic shield.

Can I  remind all those thinking of entering to read the NEW Rules instigated
earlier this year.

These can be found on the photographic tab, on the blog.

A few salient points,

Please make sure your Bird Club Subscription is up to date as only
NBC Members may enter.

Please make sure that each image is no larger than 1.5mb. If unsure go lower as
no image over will be entered.

John Showers, who over a great number of years has collated, sorted and organised
the images for our competition, has decided to call time.
John does a lot of other work, not least in regard to his Diptera commitments.
So to have more time to practice his pootering skills, I shall be taking the job over
for a while.

I'm sure we would all like thank John for his past efforts.

Please bear in mind that this is a fare bit of work so please take pity on me as I
endeavour to fill Johns shoes.

In regards to this could I please ask that all entries and all cross referencing (on paper only) are marked up correctly. This is a significant help, especially when getting the images on the Blog.

Make sure your name and a contact are with the media and cross referencing.

Many Thanks for this and help in creating a super evenings entertainment for your club.

If you have any questions you can contact me at  

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker   RDG.

Best of luck, Robin.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Indoor Meeting 7th Nov


Our next indoor meeting will be on Wednesday 7th November when our presenter will be Conor Jameson who will be talking about the The Hudson Legacy. W. H. Hudson was a Victorian author, campaigner and ornithologist and his work pioneered much of the conservation measures and structures that are in situ today.

As usual the meeting will begin promptly at 7.30pm at the Pitsford Reservoir Fishing Lodge and hot drinks and biscuits will be available, including a break in the middle of the presentation.

Everyone is welcome!


Neil M

W.H. Hudson

Common Buzzard.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Thrapston Velvet Scoters


Eight Velvet Scoters were found at Thrapston Pits on Sunday 28th October and six were still present today on Town Lake, best reached from the A605 layby just east of Thrapston itself. Nick Parker was the finder of these comparatively rare sea-ducks and they have attracted a steady stream of admirers during the four days. The images below are courtesy of Robin Gossage...


Neil M

Monday, 22 October 2018

A funny ole day

So North Norfolk it was, our British Airways pilot Mark flew us directly onto Salthouse airfield.

A distant Stonechat became our quarry, an eastern race of which no-one could pronounce the name and a bit of a rarity.

Eventually reasonable views were had, but numerous common Stonechats confused the issue.

The wrong bird

The right bird 

Worryingly a female Sparrowhawk patrolled the area.

Stonechat hawk

My favourite time of day, Nosh-time, a cup of coffee, (gone off tea a bit) with a chocolate chip
muffin ! supposed to be watching my cholesterol !!

Overhearing a pager message BROWN SHRIKE, WEYBOURNE, 5 minutes down the road.

Now if a bird is going to be easy to see, Stonechat and Shrike are prominent .......Yeah.

Wendy, Bob, Mark and myself had already spent ages on one showy bird ? but the Shrike would
surely show well.

Joining the throng of gathered twitchers, we watched and waited.

Pink feet
Some people will do anything for a Brown Shrike.

And waited, eventually views were gained but I can honestly say they were not satisfying, especially
as this was a new bird for Bob, Wend and myself.

Tichwell, our next destination. Sadly I don't think I've ever seen this great reserve so poorly endowed
with birds.

Reported from Holme were several Shorelarks, off we trundled, but again we were thwarted .

Half a dozen Little Egrets were nice.

Little Egret
Little Egret.
Two major rarities and some warm weather with good company made for a nice day out.
The Shrike disappeared later that afternoon.

Thank-you Mark for the use and piloting of the 747.

As I say, it's bin a funny ole day !

Monday, 8 October 2018

NBC Trip

Hi all, the club trip this month will be to the East coast.  The final location will be kept secret until we get there !

OK..... we will decide nearer the date but we will keep an eye on what's going on before-hand.
North Norfolk is usually a good bet, but lets see.

Sunday the 21st of October.

If you are interested in joining us please get in touch with Sir Bob Gill, 01604 646706, he will
let you know the final destination and advise on any spare seats.

Hope to see you there, Cheers Robin.

Kestrel   RDG.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Black Tern at Pitsford

Congratulations to Dave Jackson on his winning entry to Birdguides Photograph of the week.

Black Tern Dave Jackson
Steve Young of BirdGuides says
"A superb capture of a juvenile Black Tern by Dave Jackson takes the honours this week – and what a great image this is!
Even side-on flight shots of gulls and terns fishing are hard to take, with that precise moment of capture and perfect pose so difficult to take, but a head-on shot is even more difficult and this one is beautiful and about as perfect as it gets.
With fish in bill after a successful catch, the tern is just about to turn away, but not before the photographer has caught the action at 1/2500th second shutter speed. Congratulations to Dave on his winning photo, taken with a 400 mm lens on ISO500."

A great shot, well executed, Congratulations Dave.

NBC meeting, a brief review

Brian Eversham our evening speaker, is indeed as Neil says a talented orator, his presentation last night was both inspiring and informative.

The state of all our wildlife at the moment seems quite depressing with a bleak outlook, or is it? Naturalists as we know are getting  fewer, with no younger members coming on board, taken over instead by Environmentalists, Conservationist, Ecologists, which isn't necessarily a good thing without some common grounding.

Brian shared idea's and optimism  as to how this could be achieved  with communication and foresight our wildlife could benefit from changes now, for the future.

I guess there will always be winners and losers in a constantly changing  environment.

Brian left us with hope that in our changing world, fortunes for our wildlife  in the future could be promising. As head of the Wildlife trust he  seems to have his sights firmly on this target.

We thank him very much for his insightful talk.

House Sparrow

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Indoor meeting 3rd Oct


The next club indoor meeting is this coming Wednesday (3rd October) when our speaker will be  Brian Eversham, the Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants. As well as leading the three counties Wildlife Trust, Brian is an outstanding naturalist and conservationist and an excellent speaker. Brian has presented at the club before and on this occasion his presentation will be reflecting on the past of wildlife conservation but also very much looking forward to what the future is likely to provide and what we can do to influence it in a positive way.

The meeting will be at the Fishing Lodge, Pitsford Reservoir with a prompt 7.30pm start. Hot drinks and biscuits will be available.

Everyone welcome!

Neil M

Courtesy of Clive Bowley.

Banded Demoiselle.
Courtesy of Robin Gossage.

Friday, 7 September 2018

And GENESIS said Then there were Three

Bobs Grandmother, please be aware smoking can damage your health.  Dave  Thomas

The Members evening again was a brilliant evenings entertainment, a triumvirate with quite different themes.

Pete Gilbert opened with an offering  on the wild life centring around an old stone barn tucked away in northern France. Working on A Project of love restoring  old farm buildings, Pete showed us just what interesting flora and fauna could be found within a 400 yard radius. Whilst Stone Marten inhabited the old buildings Cirl Bunting and a myriad of other Birds and wildlife were to be found.

Fiery Clearwing I'm so envious.....Bob Gill

Sabre Wasp...wasn't that by Jo Jo Gun

Bob Gill's volley was a compact resume of his summer encounters. A family holiday in Mallorca coupled with a visit to the Farne islands and some local 'insecting' around Yardley Chase. Like many members Bobs interests are very varied and here is Just a Snapshot of Bobs presentation.

Bringing home the bacon  Bob Gill

Stone Curlew Bob Gill. 

Boring old desert ...........Yeah.     D T.

Dave Thomas rounded the evening off with a short talk on his trip to Namibia. For me going into the Namib Desert didn't sound that appealing, but Dave soon put paid to that assumption. Just keeping to three base's Daves Portfolio was amazing, his Photography unrivalled . The following are just a few of DT's images from the night.

Simply Stunning........DT.
Dave Thomas
The eye's in this image are pivotal ............Sorry.

That Attenborough moment DT.
Bring me sunshine.....Dave Thomas.

To conclude  with varied speakers and a diversity of topics was a wonderful, interesting way to spend the evening. I'm sure the audience was full of anticipation of what might be shown next and enjoyed every minute.

I would like to Sincerely thank Pete, Bob and Dave for generously supporting the Members evening and the Bird Club in this way.

Apologies to Pete as I have not received any images

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Indoor Meeting 5th Sept


The next indoor meeting will be this coming Wednesday when three club members will each be providing a twenty minute or so presentation on their chosen subject. Dave Thomas hopes to provide scene images of the Namib desert from Southern Africa, Pete Gilbert has for many years been visiting the Loire Valley in France and will be sharing images of this region and our club chairman Bob Gill will present his subject 'Summer 2018'.

The meeting will commence at 7.30pm as usual and there will be hot drinks and biscuits available.

All welcome!

Neil M



Painted Lady butterfly.

Sunday, 29 July 2018



The next indoor meeting will be this coming Wednesday 1st August at our usual venue of the Fishing Lodge at Pitsford Reservoir. Unfortunately our speaker Dr Rebecca Thomas has been taken ill and is unable to attend. We wish her a speedy recovery and hope that she is on her feet soon.

As such I have brought forward one of the presentations planned for 2019 simply entitled 'Patagonia'.

This follows a two week trip in 2017 to Chile and Argentina (and one day in Brazil) undertaken by Wendy and Robin Gossage, Eleanor and myself. The images in the presentation are all taken by Robin which I will present on behalf of the team.

The excursion to South America began in Buenos Aries quickly moving on to Torres des Paine in Chile, then the Valdez Peninsular (Argentina) and finally the Iguassu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

The meeting begins at 7.30pm - I look forward to seeing you there!

Neil McMahon

Torres des Paine

Variable or Red-backed Hawk.

Images courtesy of Robin Gossage.