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.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Over the seas and Farne away

Puffin.  Mark Williams.

The last time the Bird Club visited the Farnes the weather was not that great.
This time we still moaned, too hot, too bright, jeez never happy. Arranged by
 Mr Gill, Roger P, Barry B and Del-boy met Bob, Mark, Wendy
and myself in Teesdale near Langdon Beck.

Last time here Wendy saw a Merlin so we were hopeful this time. To be fair
it seemed rather quiet bird wise so we moved to the river bridge lower down.
There, as last time was our faithful Dipper and as last time keeping in the
shadows of the far bank.

Stoatally wonderfull Mark Williams

Watching from the bridge a family of Stoats came out from cover on the
near bank, Splashing, jumping and running in the river, then hiding only to come
out again and again to play in the water.
We were treated to this wonderful site for some ten minutes or so until they
eventually moved on. This was a fabulous encounter, a shame it did not last
a little longer.

Another 130 miles or so on, Bob steered us to our sumptuous lodgings in
Berwick, the..... Travelodge da, dar! Later feeding at the local pub.

Next day we each paid our £27.50 landing fee (National Trust) and our £40.00 boat fare,
Yes!..... we all thought the same but this will possibly the last time we do it.

Incoming, clear runway  Mark Williams

Phew! that was close  Mark  W.
Abort, abort landing. Mark W
For Wendy and myself it was the first time we had landed on both Inner Farne
and Staple island. It was absolutely fabulous, Staple, lacking the numbers of Arctic
Terns found on Inner Farne, was mesmerising Puffins every where, all trying to dodge
the Herring and Lesser Black Backs as they landed with food for their youngsters.
Time flew by as it invariably does when you are enjoying life.

I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet. Mark W

The boat crew were great helping us off the boat onto Inner Farne. Being later in the
day it was difficult trying to find the best place to photograph as the wind and the
sun opposed each other.

Head TERNing birds. Bob Gill

I'll get you.. scardy-cat Mark W

First things first a visit to the mens room then off to find a bench for a bit of nosh.
The Arctics did not seem to bother me on route to the loo's but coming back I
suffered a couple of quite hard attacks for what a close range is a small bird.
Taking my hat off in the shade to eat my rolls I noticed some blood inside,
the Tinkers!

A beautiful green eyed Shag. Mark W
I got one! I got one!  Guillimot Mark W.

Razorbill. Mark W.

I found it quite annoying that some photographer's were flouting the rules needlessly
by putting their large lenses the wrong side of the rope cordon's when the birds are so close.
I was also concerned by people rushing and not looking where they were treading,
with camouflaged chick's on the path edges, they were so vulnerable.

Time passed too quickly and before we knew it I was squeezing tomato ketchup
on my fish and chips, can life get any better?

Next day a morning stumble, for me at least around Budle bay put a smile on everyone's
face. I decided to sit where I fell, watching a female Merganser and her chicks.

Sandwich Tern RDG.

Merganser and chick RDG
Shelduck Bob G.

Awaiting the tide to recede we eventually made it across Holy Island, Lindisfarne.
I don't think Barrys' and Del boys' heart's were in it after all England were playing

No Barry its definitely grass Bob G.
Wheres the auto setting? Bob G.
We went looking for the rare Lindisfarne Helleborine, we found lots of beautiful Marsh
Helleborine's, Pyramidal and Northern Marsh Orchids.
Pyramidal Orchid RDG
Marsh Helleborine. RDG.

 Eagle eye'd Mark found our only Lindisfarne Helliborine.

Lindisfarne Helliborine Bob G.
On route there were lots of Dark-green Fritillary , Small Heath and several
Dune Robber-flies.  OMG! England has  Won.

Dark Green Fritillary. Bob G.

Dune Robberfly.  RDG
Walking on toward the castle or should I say scaffold well more scaffold than castle, nice views of common birds could be attained

Meadow Pipit Bob G.
House Sparrow Bob G.

A Morrisons breakfast then our crew were off to Bempton Cliffs, Baz, Rodg, and Del already
on their way home.

Gannet. Mark W.

I was not sure if I had ever been to Bempton before but it made no difference as it was a total
surprise to me. Walking by cliffs with Auks, we reached the Gannet Colony .

Gannet RDG
It took my breath away, Wow they soared and flew so close it was absolutely Brilliant! I
photographed for a couple of hours until my battery ran out, then made a pledge to return.

Gannet . Bob G.
Gannet. Bob G

Two and a half hours later Wendy and I were home, exhausted but totally satiated.

Wendy's  and my thanks go to Rodger, Barry, Del, Mark and Bob for being good company
and making a great trip even better.
Special thanks go to Bob for everything.

Mark Williams

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Warm Outdoor Meeting


A glorious summer evening greeted us at Pitsford Reservoir yesterday as a small band of members met for the traditional July outdoor meeting.

John Showers kindly set up his laptop and microscope in the lodge itself, the urn was singing to us and biscuits and nibbles were on hand for those a little hungry despite the very warm temperatures. Mischa from the reserve had left some moths from the earlier trap round for us to examine and then release.

Nick Parker led us off on a pleasant walk to the Bird Club hide and back, but not before we watched a couple of Spotted Flycatchers sallying forth from a couple of beeches next to the lodge. A hairstreak butterfly vanished before it could be identified and we then padded along the causeway where a Common Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail could be found.

A couple of Pike were suspended in the water with a vast shoal of fish fry moving around them and keeping a safe distance away!

Into the first part of Scaldwell Meadow and numerous butterflies included an excellent concentration of Marbled Whites. Waterfowl included both Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebes with healthy young and the six tern rafts in front of the hide were very busy indeed! Dragonflies were pursuing other flying insects and singing singletons of Sedge and Reed Warbler persisted in the glyceria at the water's edge.

On our walk back a Grey Heron and a couple of Little Egrets had found the fish fry shoals by the tunnel in the causeway and we disturbed them as we walked by.

An informal natter and drinks followed and with the approach of dusk we cleared up and pottered home!

Neil M

Spotted Flycatcher
courtesy of Jacob Spinks.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Outdoor Meeting 4th July


On Wednesday 4th July the club hosts it's annual outdoor meeting which will be at Pitsford Reservoir as usual. The meeting begins at the Fishing Lodge at 7pm for those that would like to meet up and go for an evening walk around the Wildlife Trust managed reserve. This may be a longish walk into the Scaldwell Bay or if it is really warm a shorter walk into the Holcot Bay as led by Nick Parker. This time of the year insects are on the wing and should be visible as well as the breeding birds and even a few transient migrants should be about.

In addition we hope to have microscopes and computers on hand to examine collected mini beasts in the Fishing Lodge and of course hot drinks and biscuits will be on hand too.

In the unlikely event that we experience rain (!!), there will be a digital presentation we can fall back on!

We look forward to seeing you there!


Neil M

Common Tern.

Great Crested Grebes.

Common Blue Damselfly.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

NBC Car trip

New fen viewpoint.    David Arden

The 24th saw BC Members descend at Lakenheath RSPB reserve.

Once the habitat for Golden Orioles, Lakenheath about an hour and a half from Northants.
Its a premier site for observing Bittern, Frequently seen flying across the fen and skulking at
the edge of the reed beds, giving good photographic opportunities.

Bitterns breed here and two or 3 youngsters could be seen from Mere hide whilst mum
was away feeding.

David Arden
Bittern youngster David Arden
Kingfisher can also be seen from Mere hide, normally at distance but can show well
in front of the visitor centre.

David Arden
For those interested in insects today was particularly good for Longhorn beetles especially
for Golden-bloomed Grey with Bob Gill finding a dozen or so individuals.

Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn. Agapanthia villosoviridescens Bob Gill
Variable and four banded longhorns were also found.

Variable Longhorn Bob Gill

A great many Dragonflies were on the wing, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four-spot Chaser etc
along with numerous Damselflies including Variable and Banded Demoiselle.
Only a single Hobby was seen hawking.

Hobby David Arden
A very warm day but still very pleasant, sadly the Bearded Tits refused to show well but I'm
sure Richard (barford) will catch up with them soon.

Bob Gill

Thanks Mark for taking us.