Sunday, 28 February 2010

27/02/10 Happisburgh and East Ruston

A gap in the showers late afternoon convinced me a trip out would be far more productive than watching the rugby, good decision.
Headed to Happisburgh and walked the clifftop track which had become saturated and muddy. Not a great deal to report, bit of a Gull fest with Common and Black Headed loafing in the clifftop fields. Out to sea 3 distant Common Scoter were sadly the highlight, nowt on the beach. Decided not to push onto the lane and headed back, 4 Linnets providing a brief distraction.
Drove down to the paddocks at Whimpwell Green, better birds to be had there. Mistle Thrush fed alongside Fieldfare, couple of Redwing in trees and a Song Thrush nervously joined its 2 brutish cousins for a meal. Blackbirds zipped around, the light just beginning to fade now.
Finished the evening with a walk down Weaver's way at East Ruston. Fantastic views of a quartering Barn Owl were enjoyed amongst ideal habitat. 3 Grey Partridge were notable. Arriving back at the car a Woodcock flew overhead.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Strumpshaw Fen, 20/02/10

Living back in Norwich is awesome! The fen is no real distance from our new place in the north east of the city, so it was agreed a pre-dinner walk was in order.
We walked out to the remains of the old pumping station, chasing up a description a visitor had handed in that sounded suspiciously like a drake Smew. Few Teal on the flashes, but a grotty looking Mallard may have been the bird in question. 3-4 Chinese Water Deer were positively romping in the meadows adjacent to the river.
With dusk closing in and the reserve quiet, we finished up in the Fen Hide. The Redhead Smew was present with some Gadwall. One Marsh Harrier was soon joined by another four, making up a small roost. Corvids headed towards Buckenham. Cettis Warblers, Bearded Tits and Water Rails called; the sights and sounds of the broads. I had hoped we would be lucky and see the Otters that have been reported more frequently of late, but on this front we were unlucky.
We walked back in near darkness to the beautiful liquid sound of the Song Thrush, and a brief sighting of a Tree Creeper topped off the evening nicely. Driving back through the village a Woodcock flew over the road.

Brettenham Heath, 19/02/10

Decided to make an evening trip to the heath. Local bird reports suggest Long eared Owls breed here, and February should be the right time to hear birds calling.
Spent around 2 hours wandering the heath until darkness, no sign of any Owls. However, a Woodcock whizzed past just above my head and an astonishing spectacle of 97 Red Deer, including 2 Stags, were watched jumping the fence into another part of the heath. A Yellowhammer flew to roost, as did a Fieldfare and the local Corvids. It was a beautiful evening, and despite no sign of my hoped for quarry, a pleasing outing.
Drove home via East Harling Heath, stopping at various pull ins and listening for calls. Again, I left feeling frustrated but the habitat looks promising and persistence may just pay off.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Breckland birding

Been awhile folks, but after a seamless house move (back to Norwich, Anglia Square massive and Wroxham as a local patch?) I am back, and a half term visit to the forest seemed in order.
East Wretham Heath has bags of potential but no birds. Well, not the birds I wanted! Had a good look at some Marsh Tits, recent BB article in mind and all. Loads of corvids leaving their morning roost.
Santon Downham held a handful of Brambling, lovely to look at after what I am sure has been a lean winter. Pretty sure I heard a Lesser Spot, ticked off both the commoner species.
Lynford was on fire, Crossbill in the carpark and Hawfinch in the paddock, 10 and 15 respectively. A white Pheasant was just weird.
Went onto you know where for a Goshawk, no sign this time but picked up Yellowhammer, Sparrowhawk and the calls of Siskin and Crossbill. The walk back yielded 2 white deer (theme continuing) amongst some more regular coloured Roe plus a porno mag, lovely stuff.