The good lady was away for the day with my daughters in London on Saturday 8th August so I took the opportunity to sneak a couple of days away in my motorhome to somewhere different.
A little ‘googling’ lead me to decide to stay and have a sniff around Northamptonshire, I regularly drive for work around this part of the east midlands so I thought why not?
I got booked into Billing Aquadrome and settled on on the friday night for a full day out (weather permitting) at a couple of places, Summer Leys NNR & Stanwick Lakes.
Billing Aquadrome itself is not small place and was quiet active bird-wise and the best sight for me was when leaving in the rain an elegant Grey Heron was seen standing proud on the bank of a river reviewing its territory, nice!
Weather looked good on the saturday so 8amish I was off to Summer Leys NNR about 20 minutes drive from Billing Aquadrome. Summer Leys is an old gravel pit that has been transformed into a haven for breeding and wading birds.
I saw a few birds kicking about but a lot at distance, on the track leading to the first hide I got continual glances of mobile Bullfinches with young bird too. The Paul Britten hide provided views albeit distant of Greylags, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Common Tern, Swan, Cormorant, loads of the usual hedgerow birds and Little Egret too!
Sadly there was no sign of the Greenshank a local birder told me about in the car park. More walking around lead me to the feeding station which, when I got there, was full of action with at least 9 Bullfinches, males, females and young, great. There was the odd appearance by Marsh Tit also which was nice! Few of the better pics below 🙂
I walked about half way round stopping regularly just enjoying the peace and quiet. Because the sun was directly into the face of the other main hide I decided not to bother going full circle around this lovely little location. I made my way back enjoyed watching the Bullies etc. close up again and saw a marauding Sparrowhawk causing the Magpies to force their raucous call into the ears of all around “it’s here! it’s here!”
After a light lunch in the motorhome (no beer!) I moved then onto Stanwick Lakes a further 25 or so minutes ride. Stanwick Lakes is a massive 750 acre site with a lot of focus on family entertainment but with loads and loads of lakes, various vegetation for birdlife.
I knew already that the birdlife seen may be limited and it was a lot quieter at Stanwick but I still had a great 4 1/2 hours walking around, less opportunity to photograph birds but seen were Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Black Headed Gulls and the odd Herring Gull. The call of the Green woodpecker echoed around many times with the odd glimpse of a bird flying from one side of a lake to the other seen. Swans were out and about in force here too.
Common Tern were a plenty and feeding a good number of young on the various scrapes, did not get the shot I wanted with a fish in its mouth though, next time eh?
I got back to the beer, sorry Billing campsite after 5pm and had a thoroughly good time, personally i ma happy if I get one good image from my time out and my favourite of the day was that of a juvenile Bullfinch, my first 🙂
On the way home on the sunday morning (in the rain) I saw 4 Red Kites, all were flying low – treetop height – this kept me entertained on the journey.
A very big thanks goes to @DouglasMcf1 on Twitter for his great help on locations and birds about in the area – cheers mate 😉
Some photo’s from my recent trip to Phuket Thailand