Sunday, 2 September 2012

Must be slipping...

Three of the last four posts have included a lifer so I was always going to be up against it trying to keep that ratio going!

Today I headed over to Blueberry Farm near Maidwell as I'd realised it had been about three months since I last did any birding in Northamptonshire - as I'm no longer driving to and from Uni three times a week and as Amy is summering in Sheffield I've been strangely absent from the county for a good while now!

So, off I went to Maidwell to see if I could catch up with any of the Whinchat that had been seen there recently. This was a tick of-sorts as I needed it for my Northampton list so hopes were high of finding one! Upon arrival I took the track from Hanging Houghton down into the valley and parked along the southern-most boundary of Big Lichfields (Field K on map below) where the likely Whinchat area could be scanned from the comfort of the car.

I produced this map of the site originally for my dissertation, as the one provided by Natural England is frankly useless.
p.s if anyone would like a copy of this map, don't hesitate to ask, either via the comments box or

 The target species was found immediately (x3) flitting from perch to perch but they were way off in the middle of the field....and as it's a pretty big field I had little chance of getting a decent image of one! So...I settled down for a couple of hours in the hope they would come closer whilst listening to the soothing tones of the Soton vs Man U match on ze radio. My patience was rewarded as they came closer....and closer....and closer....until they were in (sort of) photographic range;

They were literally on the cusp of flitting to a couple of perches mere feet away (one already was stupidly close, but it was obscured by vegetation) when.....a walker came past and flushed the lot back into the middle of the field! Bugger!

The walker did briefly flush them all into the same bush though, which was nice.
Eschewing another long wait for them to return I went to find some owls instead,  heading back to the site I'm visiting most at the minute, to see the soon-to-be-dispersing juveniles!


Finally, on the way home this Red-legged Partridge thanked me for not running it over by posing nicely by the side of the road;



  1. Hi

    I note with interest the Blueberry map you have with the field names. Can you tell me if these are the names used by the owners Mr and Mrs Knowles?


    Neil McMahon

  2. Hi Neil, yes I can confirm these are the names that the Knowles family use for their fields. Mrs Knowles was kind enough to provide the field names (and the history lesson!) during my survey period, many have been named as such for a very long time and point to historical land use (e.g. Bee Field, historically used by beekeepers).

  3. Many thanks for the rapid response. I'm clearly ignorant of your survey work but would like to know more, particularly as the future for Blueberry Farm looks a little uncertain at the moment...


    Neil M

  4. Check your email Neil ;) (the one on your blog!)