Thursday, August 12, 2010


American Mink
I took the cruise from the marina up to my usual mooring spot near bridge 101 Oxford/Grand Union Canal yesterday afternoon, an open area of countryside which overlooks open fields towards Tibbit's Farm on one side and the disused LNWR railway line on the other, a very idyllic and peaceful location, although the canal traffic at this time of year is at it's peak.

The journey up was very pleasant with the occasional sunny period but strangely enough on this occasion I never managed any Yellowhammer, a bird which more recently has been very common on this stretch of canal. As I passed by Flecknoe Fields Farm at least 100 House Martins were perched on the telephone wires and surrounding farm buildings, a couple of Kestrels, several Linnet and a lone Buzzard were the only other species of note.

This morning I decided to put in a couple of early hours at Brandon Marsh, having placed my car strategically at a nearby bridge, and came face to face with the an American Mink as I set foot off the boat onto the tow path. I'm not sure who was surprised the most but after a few moments standoff  he duly jumped into the canal and made off! I took the back roads passing Grandborough Fields and on into the village in the hope a few Owls but things were particular quiet, the best being Buzzard, Kestrel and a lone Red-legged Partridge, as I passed through Birdingbury the usual House Sparrows were already chirping away.

Brandon was once again particularly quiet, with the exception of three Kingfisher, two Ringed Plover (1Juv) which flew onto East Marsh Pool at around 8am, a single Green Sandpiper was on Carlton Pool. A Water Rail did it's usual run in front of big hide, firstly from the left and then back again a short while later. I did manage a couple of Sparrowhawks too this morning as one came across Teal Pool, and a second went whizzing by my head in pursuit of what looked like a Song Thrush. It was this time last year that Greenshank began to appear on autumn passage and so well worth keeping an eye out, my records show that last year on the 14th a flock of 14 arrived on Teal and River Pools.

Its a nap this afternoon and the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight, something Dee and I always sit out and watch, although the last few years have been somewhat disappointing and the weather tonight looks grim, but you never know!