Sunday, 25 October 2015

Radstone: twelve buzzards in a field

A perfect autumnal day and it was great to be out and about early.  I went in search of golden plovers - having seen a flock of 140 in yesterday's rain, just outside Upper Wardington.  This morning just one remained!  They do move around, but this autumn they don't seen very faithful to their "regular" field near the village. Instead, I headed onwards to check out some farmland bird sites near Sulgrave. The big flock of linnets remained, with plenty of skylarks and yellowhammers nearby.  A few fieldfares, recently arrived from Scandinavia, were scattered around, favouring tall hedgerows, attracted by the crop of haws and other fruit.

A recently ploughed field near Radstone proved to be a magnet for buzzards, with a total of twelve spread fairly evenly across the expanse of bare earth, waiting to pounce on earthworms.  They have done incredibly well in the past few years and are a great conservation success story for our area.

Near Helmdon I stopped to look at some finches in the hedgerow and immediately heard ravens overhead, then a red kite drifted through.  Small numbers of common gulls have also arrived; expect more in the coming weeks.

Last weekend a birding trip Pennington Marshes on the south coast was a great opportunity to connect with many of those waders we only ever see fleetingly, if at all, in our area.  Big flocks of black-tailed godwits fed in the estuarine pools close to the coastal path, sometimes taking flight and wheeling around in magnificent synchrony. A long-staying long-billed dowitcher added some rarity appeal. We even found a wryneck sitting very unobtrusively in a hawthorn bush.
black-tailed godwits feeding
black-tailed godwits in flight

 Small groups of spotted redshanks were feeding frantically - upending with great flexibility! 
spotted redshank with prey item
spotted redshank in classic up-ending pose!

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