Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Monday, 25 April 2016

Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire (Stanwick Lakes in the Nene Valley)

Today we visited our daughter and grandchildren in the small town of Irthlingborough near Wellingborough.  The girls wanted to do some shopping in Wellingborough while I did my usual of visiting the wonderful Stanwick Lakes in the Nene Valley.
Stanwick Lakes is a wonderful, large area of many lakes created as a result of quarrying alongside the River Nene.  It is now visited by families, cyclists, walkers, dog walkers, and of course naturalists, including birders.
Willow Warbler at Irthlingborough 25/04/16

My visit today was productive for summer migrants despite the appalling conditions.  Frequent heavy showers were driven along on a cold moderate northerly wind.
I arrived at about 1100 on Station Road alongside the busy A6 road and walked north-east along the path to as far as a bridge which has traditionally been a reliable site for Sand Martins.
The habitat along the route here is superb for birds.  Hawthorn, Bramble scrub, Sallow, reeds, grazing meadows, lakes, and ditches are a magnet for birds and birders.
Notable counts for this mornings visit are as follows:

Sand Martins
10+ Cetti's Warblers
Sedge Warbler (common)
3+ Reed Warblers
1 Whitethroat
2 Lesser Whitethroats
4+ Willow Warblers

Despite the less than favourable conditions, my arrival started as the visit went on, great birds all sharing a variety of habitats, and often with a mix of song which I rarely get to hear when standing in one position.
Sedge Warbler 25/04/16 An abundant species at Irthlingborough

I got out of the car and was immediately greeted by 2 singing Cetti's Warbler, Whitethroat, and Sedge Warblers, this was followed at the beginning of my walk by singing Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.
An example of the wealth of birdlife along the route was seen and heard at one patch of thick Bramble, Sallow, Elder, and Hawthorn habitat.  I stood and listened to and watched singing Willow Warbler, singing Sedge Warbler in Elder, singing Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, and a couple of Cetti's Warblers, a real magical experience of a mix of wonderful song all sharing a variety of habitats at one location.
I then walked onto a bridge which has traditionally been a good location for Sand Martins, and I wasn't disappointed when lots of Sand Martins were wheeling about in front of me, and very close too.  Also here was further Sedge Warblers and Blackcap.  It was about this time when one of the longest showers passed through, despite this and the cold conditions, song continued, also, I looked up and saw a single Swift with Hirundines wheeling about.
Blackcap 25/04/16

As well as summer visitors, resident species seen included Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, a single Little Egret, several Blackbirds, and singing Reed Buntings.
Despite the thoroughly miserable conditions, the wealth of birdlife seen on this visit made the weather more than bearable.
Back at my daughters house, I sat and waited in the car for their return and watched a very low Red Kite patrolling local gardens and surrounding areas.

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