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Latest Online Newsletter: Vol 35 No. 2 VIEW
WEDNESDAY 18TH MARCH 2020: PLEASE NOTE, THE REMAINING HCS WINTER TALKS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED
AND THE AGM HAS BEEN POSTPONED
|30th DECEMBER 2020: Today, we had a male Blackcap in our garden feeding on an apple. Only our second winter garden record. Also, this afternoon there was a Great White Egret by the Old West River next to Nine Acre Wood.
Happy New Year. Simon
|27th DECEMBER 2020: DUSKY WARBLER present around The Ponds, Aldreth until 15th December. Also a Chiffchaff there.
GREAT WHITE EGRET 2 feeding in rough grass field, Hill Row Doles, north of Hill Row Causeway on 26th December
Little Egret 1 seen several times along Long Drove
Black Swan 1 with Mute Swans Ewell Fen and Dam Bank Drove on 15th and 20th December
Whooper Swan 200+ on Ewell Fen / Dam Bank Drove until 20th December and then virtually none. Presumably they joined a large flock of 700+ feeding in a harvested sugar beet field north of Hill Row Causeway.
Canada Goose 26 with Whoopers, north of Hill Row Causeway on 24th December.
Green Sandpiper 1 Long Drove on 20th December
Merlin 1 chasing flock of Starlings to east of Earith Bridge and north of Hill Row Causeway on 13th December.
Photographs: Whoopers at Dawn, Ewell Fen (x2); Whoopers north of Hill Row Causeway; Great White Egret north of Hill Row Causeway; and Old West River in flood on Christmas Day (2020).
|12th DECEMBER 2020: Rare Bird Alert website that the Dusky Warbler has been seen again this morning, so it is still there and no longer a 'probable'. I'll attach a screenshot from the website, in case it is of interest or useful.
|11th DECEMBER 2020: a Dusky Warbler was spotted this afternoon at Aldreth, by the ditch which heads down to the river at the start of 'the Boot'. It was calling repeatedly, which is what drew my attention: a hard 'tack ... tack ... tack' call, not hard enough for a Wren, which made me think it might be a wintering Blackcap. It was quite flighty amongst the weeds, but I soon had several views of it, whereupon I could see that it was a warbler similar to a Chiffchaff, but VERY dark brown above. With further observations, I also thought that I glimpsed yellowish legs. The bird continued to call constantly over the 5-10 minutes I was following it. Eventually I was convinced enough to telephone Rare Bird Alert. I have only seen a couple of Dusky Warblers before, and none recently, so I was happy for RBA to put it out as only a probable. Stephen B
|29th NOVEMBER 2020: We have been seeing and hearing plenty of Whooper Swans around Aldreth since 16th November. Including a flock of 24 very low over the garden on 22nd.
7th November Little Egret 2 (1 Long Drove, 1 Church Fen Drain), Grey Wagtail 1 Aldreth, Siskin 1 Nine Acre Wood
8th November Migrant Hawker 1 near Nine Acre Wood
22nd November - Ewell Fen Whooper Swan 23, Long Drove Whooper Swan 19, Green Sandpiper 2
27th November Siskin 1 over Aldreth
Also, we have had a Fox visiting the garden fairly regularly, although I have never seen it. Simon.
|23rd NOVEMBER 2020: A walk down towards the Old Bedford river yesterday: 12 Whooper swans, 1 Heron, a few each of Redwing and Fieldfare. Then drive on down Dambank and Long drove: 1 male and 1 fem. Stonechat, 2 Buzzards and 4 Roe Deer.
Today in garden Station Road, 1 Siskin on feeder., and 2 Coal Tits regularly. S and I Dickerson.
|25th OCTOBER 2020: More recent sightings from SIMON.
17th Oct High Street, Aldreth Brambling 1
25th Oct - Long Drove, Haddenham - Green Sandpiper 2
|30th SEPTEMBER 2020: More recent sightings from SIMON.
22nd September: A confiding first-winter Wheatear on Ewell Fen was a treat this evening. Ewell Fen, Aldreth (Cambs) Wheatear 1 1CY
Male Hedgehog released into our garden.
12th September Garden, Aldreth (Cambs)
Hobby 1 heard calling, Yellow Wagtail 1
Bank Vole 1 - under corrugated iron
Grass Snake 1 juvenile (1CY) under terracotta pot saucer
13th September Clayton’s Bridge, Aldreth (Cambs)
Marsh Harrier 1 female, Lapwing 30+, Snipe 4, Yellow Wagtail 1, Meadow Pipit 20, Reed Bunting 20
19th September Garden, Aldreth (Cambs)
Yellow Wagtail 2 over
|6th SEPTEMBER 2020: A few recent sightings from SIMON.
16/8 Aldreth Causeway Yellow-legged Gull 2 adults, Clayton’s Bridge Golden Plover c6
23/8 - Duck Lane, Haddenham - Grey Squirrel 1 black individual
31/8 - Fen Church Bridge - RINGED PLOVER 1 calling multiple times in flight from direction of the bridge. New Cut Drain to east of Aldreth - Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler
Aldreth Causeway - Stoat 1, Great Green Bush-cricket 1 singing
1/9 South of Aldreth - Hobby 1 juvenile food calling
6/9 Dam Bank Drove - Marsh Harrier 1 female type, Giant Puffballs in stubble field. North Fen - Hobby 1 chasing Meadow Pipits
|30th AUGUST 2020:
• Migrant Hawker in flight and perched
• Small Red-eyed Damselfly
• Male Ruddy Darter
• Green-veined White
• Male Mute Swan feeding on duck weed
|12th AUGUST 2020: A couple of images of a Willow Emerald Damselfly taken by the Old West River near High Bridge. Simon
|9th AUGUST 2020: Early August report from Simon: Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1 on buddleia bush on 29th July, also seen on 2nd and 3rd August.
Pipistrelle 45 4+ low over garden at 21:05 on 1st August and most nights since
Green Sandpiper 1 over garden on 3rd August
Old West River, 9th August Otter spraint on pile of dried weed etc by river, Small Red-eyed Damselfly many, Willow Emerald Damselfly 2. I’ve not seen these 2 species locally before but I haven’t looked for them either!
|19th JULY 2020: some images from our garden - a Toad and a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar. The Toad was rescued from a drain and placed in a cliché set before release. It is only the 3rd or 4th individual that we have seen in the garden. Simon
|12th JULY 2020: Fairchilds Meadow today with many butterflies including this rare White Letter Hairstreak and Commas plus Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Peacocks, many small Skippers and a few Ringlets and Dragonflies and a lovely Emperor Dragonfly in garden S D.
|8th JULY 2020: a few bird sightings from Stephen B from a morning walk around the village:
- At least 1 juvenile green woodpecker in the orchard, I was pleased to see they have bred successfully in the village.
- A Hobby flew past Bedlam farm and headed off in the direction of Nine-acre Wood, although I don't know if that was its final destination. This was the first one I've seen in the area this year.
- A nice pair of Bullfinches along Fen Side to the north-east of there.
- At least two different Song Thrushes seen in the area to the east of the orchard.
|26th JUNE 2020: Poplar and Elephant Hawk Moths from trap last night S.D
|25th JUNE 2020: A few sightings from Station Road:-
A lovely Scarlet Tiger Moth (pictured below), Comma, Small Skipper, Meadow Browns, 1 Gatekeeper and 1 Migrant Hawker Dragonfly. All yesterday afternoon. S.D.
|22nd JUNE 2020: At least 3-4 Lesser Whitethroats along Fen Side south of the village this morning, one of which was still singing, whilst another posed for photos (TL462738). Stephen B.
|20th JUNE 2020: I spotted the Little Owl at Bedlam Farm again this afternoon (1 p.m.), on the willow by the large stack of hay bales. And this time I had my camera! Although I only managed this distant record shot. Also a Mistle Thrush in the orchard on Tuesday 16th June. Stephen B
|15th JUNE 2020: Photographs show a female Cuckoo, singing Sedge Warbler and Goatsbeard. All were taken along the Aldreth Causeway. SS
|29th MAY 2020: images taken in our Aldreth garden this week. A Common Toad in the pond was surprisingly only our second record for the garden. Moorhen and Common Tern were heard over the garden during the night / early morning. Simon
|27th MAY 2020: Little Owl on the big stack of hay bales at Bedlam Farm again this morning (10:00). Obviously a favoured perch and this time it did not mind me walking past.
…and a Reed Warbler singing along the drove just north east of Bedlam Farm at 10:10 (TL461737)
|26th MAY 2020: 1 Little Owl on the bales of hay at Bedlam Farm at 07:20 this morning. I think it's the first time I've seen one in Haddenham. Flew to to the adjacent willow as I walked past. Stephen B|
|22nd MAY 2020 (from Simon Stirrup): I recently bought a camera trap which is set-up in the garden by the pond. My expectations were low, but it has captured interesting wildlife most nights and not just the expected domestic cats. It has been a surprise to discover just what is visiting the garden after dark. We are capturing this Fox regularly with the camera trap. We’ve also captured a Hedgehog a couple of times and a Muntjac. We have never seen a Fox in the garden and I’ve not seen a Hedgehog in the garden for over 10 years! Checking the trap before breakfast has become part of our daily routine.
|10th MAY 2020 (from Barbara York): I took my second walk of this shutdown last evening from 8-9pm and had a look at this area down to the river. No Grasshopper Warbler but a lovely Hobby in the trees that saw fit to scold me a couple of times! Masses of Whitethroats including a pair mating in the Cow Parsley. A couple of Sedge Warblers holding territory, several Reed Warblers and 2 Willow Warblers competing in that private area to the right. 3 Yellowhammers singing and lots of calling Grey Partridges when the light faded.
I heard Cuckoo from my bed between 4-5am on 8th and 9th May. I think it’s 4 or 5 years since I’ve heard it from here. Also heard down on the fen.
9th MAY 2020 (from Simon Stirrup): Below is a list of species seen on a bike ride this morning from Aldreth, via Cross Drove and Linden End Doles. The highlight was a singing Grasshopper Warbler.
|8th MAY 2020 (from Simon Stirrup): A few images from the past few days (Brown Hare, Male Yellow Wagtail, Male House Sparrow).
|29th April 2020 (from Simon Stirrup): Some lovely photographs of the Old West River, a Grey Squirrel, a wonderful old apple tree in Norman’s Orchard and a male Wheatear. The Wheatear is a smart bird, but I don’t think that it is a Greenland-race bird; possibly one from northern Europe rather than the UK.
|27th April 2020 (from Simon Stirrup):
24th April on Ewell Fen there were Herring Gull 2 and a Common Gull
25th April I walked from Aldreth along the Old West River westwards as far as the irrigation reservoir. The total list of bird species seen was:
Great Crested Grebe 1 pair
Little Grebe 1 pair
Mute Swan 2 pairs
Gadwall 3 pairs + 3 in flight
Tufted Duck 2 pairs
Red-legged Partridge 1
Grey Partridge 6+
Coot 3 pair on Old West and 2 pairs on reservoir
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1
Common Tern 2
Kingfisher 1 or 2
Green Woodpecker several
Yellow Wagtail 1
Willow Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Sedge Warbler 2
Corn Bunting 1 singing + 5 in flock
Red Admiral 2
No Lapwing! And no Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Reed Warbler or Greenfinch.
26th April there was a Reed Warbler singing in our Aldreth garden which was a garden first for us. Plus a Speckled Wood butterfly. Also, today and yesterday a Holly Blue egg laying on holly buds
The photograph is an image of a Common Tern taken along the Old West River on 25th April.
|25th April 2020: An evening tour of North Fen. NE wind, clear skies, not ideal weather for birding or for bird movement.
Anyway, a few notes:
Reed Bunting 10-12 singing males, the commonest passerine on the fen at the moment
Corn Bunting 3 singing males
Yellow Wagtail 3 males on prepared potato field
Common Whitethroat 1 singing male in competition in the same bush with a singing Wren!
Yellowhammer 2 (1 male in usual bush, and another heard but not seen)
Linnet party of 6 very flighty
Lapwing 3 on ploughed field constantly harassed by Black-headed Gulls
Other item of interest: 1 Hare that seemed to be just loafing. Probably a male.
|16th April 2020: Male Willow Warbler taken near Aldreth on 16th April. I’ve heard several Willow Warblers near Aldreth in the past week but all seem to have moved on. Also, on 16th we had a freshly emerged Large Red Damselfly by the pond. Simon
|13th April 2020: Attached are images of a calling Red-legged Partridge, the wing of a Barn Owl and a Shelduck feather. See below for details of the Barn Owl wing and Shelduck feather.
28th March - Pumping Station area Rook c75 nests, Flat Bridge area Rook 8 nests, Irrigation reservoir Great Crested Grebe 2, Little Grebe 2, Coot 10, Mute Swan 2, Greylag 12, Mallard 2, Tufted Duck 2, Gadwall 2, Barn Owl 1 left wing only (predated by Buzzard?)
1st April - Green Sandpiper 1 east of Church Fen Bridge
8th April Aldreth to Bedlam Farm - Peacock 25+, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Brimstone 2+, Holly Blue 1, Green-veined White 1
9th April garden, Aldreth - a clump of feathers in the garden turned out to be from a Shelduck! The quills had been cleanly cut perhaps by a Fox?
10th April - garden, Aldreth - House Martin 2 or 3, Swallow 2; New Cut Drain Blackcap several males, Whitethroat 1 male
11th April Dam Bank Drove Yellow Wagtail 1 male
|29th March 2020: Here are a few snippets for you. The last Whooper Swans that I saw locally were 5 on Ewell Fen on 14th March, there was a striking white male Pheasant near Eight and Twenty Farm on the A1123 on 8th March and a Chinese Water Deer (presumably the same individual) was on Ewell Fen on 22nd March.
Whooper Swan images from 1st March, a recently ploughed field on Ewell Fen on 24th March and a male Roe Deer taken on 25th March.
|29th February 2020: The number of Whooper Swans on the local fields this winter continues to surprise 643 on Ewell Fen on 22nd and 250+ on 25th. Mike Everett reported 730 along Long Drove on 19th.
A CHINESE WATER DEER near The Boot, Aldreth on 25th was a local first for me. Simon
|25th January 2020: Today at the junction of Long Drove and Dam Bank Drove there was a flock of 250+ Whooper Swans feeding in a stubble field. Also a Marsh Harrier in the area. Simon.
|7th January 2020: 7 Roe Deer on College Farm. Ian D.|
|3rd January 2020: 40-50 Common Gulls( not common!) behind Bury Lane. Jake A.|
|3 January 2020: Recent Sightings:
1 Jan 2020 - A Kingfisher at the Boot, Aldreth reported By Sally M.
2 Jan 2020 Dambank and Long Drove - 100+ Starlings, 11 Corn Buntings, 2 Kestrel ,100 + Goldfinch, 126 Whooper Swans + 17 nearer to road (no Mute) and 3 Roe Deer. a family of 5 Whoopers on field by the Earith road too. S and I D. ( This was midday, not early morning, as usual)
3 Jan 2020 This morning, we put seed out on the lawn for ground feeders and had a total of 24 Stock Doves at one time! ( More than on the droves!) S and I D.
|3 January 2020: On 31st December Ewell Fen Whooper Swan 38; Long Drove Whooper Swan 69, Mute Swan 12, Roe Deer 17; Dam Bank Drove / Long Drove corner flooded field - PEREGRINE 1, Marsh Harrier 1, Buzzard 1, Lapwing 250, Golden Plover 250; North of A1123 Whooper Swan 5. On 1st January - Whooper Swan flocks of 31 and 129 on Ewell Fen and along Long Drove respectively
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