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Northamptonshire View

Holidays In Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire

Birdwatching

Michael, who works on the farm, is a fanatical birder. He will be able to give lots of advice as to what can be seen on the farm and nearby.

The headquarters of the RSPB are at Sandy Lodge in Bedfordshire, about half an hour away. A good website that tells you what is happening locally is run by The Northamptonshire Bird Club. It will tell you what has been seen recently and where. Another good local site is run by photographer Richard Bedford and has lots of links.

Definitely neither an exhaustive list nor a promise as to what you will see, these are birds that Michael has seen in the last couple of years;
Little Grebe
Cormorant
Grey Heron
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Mallard
Red Kite
Hen Harrier
Sparrowhawk
Buzzard
Kestrel
Hobby
Red-legged Partridge
Grey Partridge
Pheasant
Moorhen
Golden Plover
Lapwing
Snipe
Woodcock
Common Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Herring Gull
Stock Dove
Woodpigeon
Collared Dove
Ring-necked Parakeet
Cuckoo
Barn Owl
Little Owl
Tawny Owl
Swift
Kingfisher
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Skylark
Swallow
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Wren
Dunnock
Robin
Black Redstart
Stonechat
Wheatear
Blackbird
Fieldfare
Song Thrush
Redwing
Mistle Thrush
Whitethroat
Garden Warbler
Blackcap
Chiffchaff
Goldcrest
Spotted Flycatcher
Long-tailed Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Jay
Magpie
Jackdaw
Rook
Carrion Crow
Starling
House Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Chaffinch
Brambling
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
Siskin
Linnet
Lesser Redpoll
Bullfinch
Yellowhammer
Reed Bunting
Wood Duck
Osprey
Little Egret

Neither I nor the spellcheck in the computer is an ornithologist so please don't email me in triumph pointing out my errors! You may be surprised to see Osprey and Red Kite listed. The former nest in Thrapston and overfly the farm occasionally but the latter are around in large numbers. I was surprised in the farmyard recently to find one feeding and we regularly see groups of up to seven birds.

Graham, who built the buildings, has seen some things which suggest either extreme fortune or a fisherman's optimism but I am sure he will tell you about the Eagle Owl and many other species he saw during construction. However, we have a house rule; official spots are made by Michael only. In fact, we have had a guest who also claims to have seen an Eagle Owl so pressure is on for our official spotter to find one.

But there are always surprises. We commissioned a study of the wildlife on the farm for some long forgotten EEC analysis which was memorable for two reasons. The first was that when the inspector got to the unconverted and nearly falling down barns that are now Nene Valley Cottages, there, grazing in a clearing, was a herd of Roe Deer that none of us had seen before. They still live round here and seem to be breeding.

The other truly astonishing outcome of the report was that we were told that an analysis of the variation of trees on one part of the farm proved that this woodland dated back to the 15th century. Curious, we followed this up and it seems that there are rules of thumb which work in a similar way to those that age hedgerows by the number of species in a 100 yard stretch. The poor fellow should have spotted the schoolboy error when he identified the site of this wood as being in 'the cutting'. This is a railway cutting from the old Oundle to Thrapston line that we had cleared of undergrowth due to rabbit infestation and replanted with whips in tubes. They were still in their plastic tubes when he came but the species had been meticulously identified and the results fed into the model which, hey presto, tells you that Shakespeare could have wandered under those trees. Breathtaking.

Nene Valley Cottages
18 School Lane
Islip
Northamptonshire
NN14 3LQ
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