Saturday, 29 December 2012

A new garden bird

Two lesser redpolls on my garden feeders this morning were a new species for the House List. Unfortunately, they didn't stick around long enough for me to take any photos :-(
I have now seen 71 species from my house in 5 years. So far this year, I have recorded 53 species.

Friday, 28 December 2012

This is not Cambridgeshire!

Sanderlings, red-throated divers & a gannet - this is definitely not Cambridgeshire!

The beach at Winterton-on-Sea
Actually, it's the beach at Winterton-on-Sea, on the east Norfolk coast. I had just an hour to exercise Jet, our rather bouncy black Labrador (as illustrated in an earlier post), & practice a bit more with the new camera.

Herring Gull
I started with the local herring gulls, as they were plentiful, large & allowed an approach with a few metres. Both the above images have been cropped, but I'm happy with them. I then got distracted by a seal pup that I found hauled up next to a marker on the beach.

Grey Seal pup
The upper photograph was actually taken on my mobile! Whilst I was taking the photos, an adult was watching me from amongst the waves.

Grey Seal adult
Given the lateness of the birth & the appearance of the adult, I would say these are Atlantic Grey Seals. Nearby, there was also a more advanced pup that was able to take to the water as I passed by.
Between the groynes.......

.......sanderlings were feeding along the surf line. I'm particularly happy with this one, & have gone for a bit of artistic cropping!

All in all, a very enjoyable hour!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day walk

Just a quick stroll before lunch, but enough time to try out my new camera - a Nikon Coolpix P510 with a fabulous 42X zoom lens!
Water levels have risen once again, with Middle Fen totally flooded once more.

Flooding in Middle Fen
The usual suspects, mute swans, mallards & wigeons, were feeding in the floodwaters, whilst several cormorants and a grey heron flew along the river.
Ouse Fen was relatively quiet, but there were good numbers of shovelers on Cell 2 and a grey heron flushed a couple of snipe from Cell 1. As we approached the livestock corral, a nice male stonechat perched obligingly on some thin branches.

Male Stonechat
This was the best picture that I managed, & has been cropped a little, but given the bird was over 20 metres away, it's not bad!
Heading back through the village, I decided to try a couple of closer subjects; a pair of blackbirds along the alleyway behind the house.

Male Blackbird
Female Blackbird
The camera shows promise, so hopefully I'll be able to take plenty of photos in the New Year (particularly as I've also got a 32GB memory card for it!).

Monday, 17 December 2012

A bit outside the patch

Update 18/12 - one of my other photos has been used in an article on the BBC News website. Here's the link:

I know it's a long way outside of my Over patch, but I couldn't resist publishing at least one photo of the buff-bellied pipit that Dennis Hall & I saw today at Queen Mother Reservoir, Berkshire.

Buff-bellied Pipit, Queen Mother Reservoir, Berkshire
Hope you don't mind!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Enjoying the winter sunshine

The early news of the day was the return of the waxwings. A single in the orchard behind the house was followed by two in the bushes by the doctors' surgery. Unfortunately, neither of the sightings were by me :-( despite extensive searching. I was lucky enough, however, to see a peacock butterfly that flew over my head & landed on the front of my neighbour's house. So, it wasn't just me enjoying the early sunshine.
The usual suspects were on the garden feeders - house sparrows, house sparrows & more house sparrows!

Garden birds
Collared doves & woodpigeons seem to be ever-present. Best of the morning's sightings for me, however, was a single buzzard being mobbed by a pair of crows as it passed over the village.

Common Buzzard being mobbed by two Carrion Crows
During the afternoon, as Holly was at her Wildlife Explorers group Christmas party, I took a walk around Fen Drayton Lakes. Swavesey Lake held a good array of dabbling ducks, including gadwall, shoveler, wigeon & teal.

Swavesey Lake
When I reached Covell's Drain, I decided to head along the side of the Trout Pond & Far Fen Lake to the Bailey Bridge. Possibly a mistake as had I carried along to Ferry Lagoon, I might have found the Slavonian grebe that was reported there later! However, I did see a grey wagtail & four Egyptian geese amongst a very large flock of Canadas & greylags.

Covell's Drain
Canada Geese
My species total for the two hour walk was 55. Not bad at all :-)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Walking in a winter wonderland

Just a short walk, this afternoon, down to the river and back. Not much wildlife to report, but this little lassie enjoyed herself.....

Highlight was a green sandpiper flying out of Middle Fen, calling as it went. A few snipe were working the semi-frozen edges of the Swavesey Drain & goldfinches fed amongst the frost-covered teasels.

Due to its regular flow, the Swavesey Drain stays ice free, so is as good place to look for waterfowl, even on the coldest of days. Today it was a family of mute swans; the two adults still tolerating the presence of their three offspring.

Mute Swans
We still have some guelder rose berries around Giffords Way, so we are still hoping for the return of the waxwings!

Guelder Rose

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


During the last week, we have been lucky enough to have a few waxwings scattered around the village. The first one was found by me on the morning of 6th December & that afternoon there were two in the same location.

Waxwing, by me
Apologies for the very poor quality of the picture, but it was the only one I managed to take before the bird flew off. Here's what it should look like.....

Waxwing, not by me!
The following day, there were three birds in the orchard behind my house & by the weekend, the number was up to six. The last sighting that I am aware of, was two on 10th December. As you can see from the above photo, waxwings love berries, particularly those of sorbus trees. So, at the weekend, I bought and planted a sorbus hupehensis 'Pink Pagoda' in the back garden. Here's hoping it will produce lots of berries in future years!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Hi there,
Welcome to my blog!
The purpose of the blog is to record the sightings from my birding & wildlife walks around the village of Over in Cambridgeshire.
In January 2013, I shall be taking part in the Foot It challenge. Please take a look at the My Foot It patch tab to see the area that I shall be covering.
I will also use this blog to publish bird & wildlife sightings in the area, so if you have seen anything noteworthy recently, please leave me a comment.
Happy Birding!