My second BBS visit

Not a lot of people to dodge at 6am in rural Northants

This morning I did the first visit of 2020 to my second Breeding Bird Survey square. Although starting in a sizeable village, as usual, there weren’t many people about, and as usual the caged canaries in a shed in a garden made me pause briefly to think ‘What’s that?’.

I did meet a man with a dog but we did not embrace, we muttered ‘good morning’ in an understated way and went our opposite ways. Well he did, while I watched his dog deposit an enormous pile of faeces on the grass verge as I wrote GR and circled it on my recording sheet to show that I had noticed the wheezing Greenfinch above our heads in the tall conifer.

The start of this walk is dominated by House Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds and Collared Doves. As I move into the farmed countryside, and walk along the River Nene, the birds get fewer but more interesting in some ways – certainly more varied.

There was a Common Tern hunting along the river and a Little Egret flew along it – I’ve recorded Little Egret or Great Egret at this site in each of the last four years, but never before.

At the place where the Sedge Warblers often are, there were two singing Sedge Warblers. They were much closer to the footpath than usual – chance or the effect of Stay Home? I was staying alert for birds and was rewarded by the sight of a non-singing, non-calling, Cuckoo – my first here since 2016.

Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Brown Hares and Whitethroats are the best things on the farmland stretch of the survey and then it’s the home run back to the car for more House Sparrows, Starlings, Collared Doves but also 3 Swifts and 5 House Martins.

A good walk, with a purpose, on a lovely morning.


2 Replies to “My second BBS visit”

  1. My first visit (lates only here) to my square nearest to home (about 6 miles away) on the edge of Wimpole estate… didn’t visit last year as NT have bought the field which borders sections 1 through 5 for their new carpark and access… last year it was a fenced off building site but it is completed now. I will have to rearrange my route slightly with the farmers permission to account for probaby not being able to walk down the non-road edge, so I am guessing that NT have fenced the edge of the plantation… so I need a recce in th enext couple of days to plan before I visit. This was one of th eoriginal squares, and I walked it since the formal outset of BBS, and the preceeding year when two different methods were beign trialled. So much has changed but superficially also not changed on that farmland…….fewer red-listed farmland birds, but there weren’t many in the first place, now breeding buzzards, more blackcaps and chiffchaffs in the wood, ……..still very very bog standard. My second square, about 12 minutes drive, used to hold Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow wagtail (both gone) Turtle Dove (hanging on) and Cuckoo, but that one waits till first week of June, to keep my visits roughly in line with previous years. I dislike the horses which seem to be more and more every year on half of this square, now grazed flat, but I am looking forward to seeing the Ravens which ousted the regular Buzzards from their nest at the end of section 9 (from a walk before lockdown there) and hearing the turtle doves, assuming they made it back.

  2. Bit of a cliffhanger there Mark – did the large deposit get lifted by the responsible person?

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