Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire

Pam and I set off from our home in Watton, Norfolk for Irthlingborough to visit our daughter and 3 grand-daughters. It was a good journey, we set off at 0700, arriving at 0840.  Alex, our daughter prepared breakfast, and all the girls planned to visit the town for a bit of shopping.  What could I do, I know, a birding trip to Irthlingborough Lakes and Meadows reserve along the Nene valley.
My walk this morning took me along the main path, the site of the former Nene valley railway, for about a mile or so before I returned along the same track.

Coot at Irthlingborough - seen on most lakes
Good numbers of Tufted Duck were seen with birds seen on all lakes, however, I only saw 2 Pochard. Mallard were common and Teal were both heard and seen.  I could see no sign of Sawbills on this visit.
Several pairs of Great Crested Grebes were seen with one pair having a half-hearted attempt at display.
A single Grey Heron was seen standing in shallows at the edge of some reeds.  Cormorants were quite numerous.
Large numbers of Black-headed Gulls were loafing as well as a huge adult Great Black-backed Gull.
Redpoll at Irthlingborough lakes 23/01/16

The only raptor species seen today
was a single Buzzard.  I am sure both Peregrine and Merlin will be wintering along the valley.
Passerine species were well represented by good numbers of Bullfinches which were seen and heard along the thick hedges along the course of the former rail-route.
Goldfinches moved along the tall weeds to feed along with at least a couple of Lesser Redpolls, the latter undoubtedly being a winter visitor to the area.
Just a single Cetti's Warbler gave its explosive song, however, the Lakes here at Irthlingborough holds many pairs.

1 Grey Heron, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes, Moorhen, Coot, 1 Great Black-backed Gull (adult),
Black-headed Gulls, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pochard, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Robin, 1 Cetti's Warbler, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Bullfinch
Goldfinch, 2+ Redpoll.

Red Kite in Irthlingborough
Back at my daughters home, I was watching Red Kite flying very low over residential gardens in search of scraps of food, a reminder of behaviour exhibited by this raptor centuries ago in the streets of London.

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