Thursday, 3 May 2007

Paxton Pits

Down Cambridge way for business I tagged along with the girlfriend so that we could make a day out of it, including a saunter around Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, with a number of target birds in mind. Number one was the Paxton speciality, Nightingale, indeed the reserve is probably the best place for them in Britain with 20+ calling males already arrived.

During our last visit there late in the season the birds were only shrieking the occasional alarm call and my girlfriend felt rather disappointed, not really understanding the acclaim of the Nightingale. This time I'm pleased to say they were in fantastic voice, just listen to the video (below). Best visual sighting was the occasions when a fairly small brown bird flew away from the bushes and the song stopped.

Other best birds of the day were the 4 Hobby that passed above, hawking for insects at high altitude for a while in the early afternoon, and my first Garden Warbler of the year [#150]. Attracted first by the Blackcap-like-call that doesn't quite sound right, it is really difficult to impress anybody who hasn't seen one just how plain they look. Speaks a lot that the most significant marking on the dull brown bird is a dull grey patch behind the ear. Other warblers showed well too, Reed, Sedge and Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat too.

Paxton also has a very large Cormorant colony, 160 pairs so I'm told.

On the way back up the A1 a brief detour to Rutland and a pull in on the A6003 that overlooks the Osprey nest in Manton Bay, where we saw the male bring in a late fish supper.
That pair are now incubating eggs which is great news, particularly since neither has bred before.

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