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Showing posts from February, 2011

Strumpshaw Fen 27/02/11

Glorious day, if a little windswept.

Birds of note on the reserve included a Bittern, which appeared to come from Rockland across the river, and flew high onto the reserve and landed somewhere near the railway line, hopefully not on it. A stonechat was seen in the reedbed from the Tower Hide, and loafing on the water here were a few Gulls, Shoveler, Pochard, Teal and Greylag Geese. 4 Snipe were in the long grass. A Marsh Harrier appeared to be nest building, disappearing into the reedbed on 2 occassions with a largish twig.
Birds of the day were undoubtedly the Treecreepers. 2 Pairs were vocal: one near the start of the meadow trail, and one near Tower Hide. A lovely song and a sure sign that courtship is underway for some birds, and as we know more will follow.
6+ Siskins were showing well, feeding on the catkins hanging amongst the trees and bushes near the visitor centre.
Back to work tomorrow, trying to look on the bright side- perhaps the Grey Wagtail which seems to have overwintered…

Over-wintering Green Sandpiper

2 of them, on the main lagoon at Surlingham Church Marsh. With my late summer records last year, I would reckon Surlingham to be an important site for this species. I would assume they are not returning birds, so I wonder where they have been during the winter? According to RBA, a single bird went east at Hardley flood earlier in the month. Other than that, you have to go back to November for a 'reported' bird in the county. Maybe with the warmer weather, they have come from a short distance somewhere to the south of us.
Other bits and bobs included a pair of Coal Tit in the graveyard, 3 Bullfinch in scrub, pairs of Coot and Shelduck on the lagoon and a Cettis sang from somewhere.

Titchwell 25/02/11

Working hard on the patch (or east coast come migration) heralds obvious rewards, but sometimes it is good to see a lot of birds. Plus, I had not yet visited Titchwell's newest hide, a behemoth, a blockbuster amongst hides I would say. It did not take long to catch up with the Northern Harrier, hunting low and easy to miss, over the marsh in the direction of Thornham. Looked very dark on top, orange below, but at some distance. Just to confuse things, a Hen Harrier hunted roughly the same area a little later on that morning; due to lack of communication the two did not hunt side by side. From the new hide, I watched 43 Twite feeding with a few Skylark. My notes read: one with pink ring, one with 2 orange rings. Not sure what that means, yet. I also saw a Spotted Redshank from here. Right place right time on the beach; 2 Snow Bunting zipped over my head. Out at sea, a very flighty Scoter flock allowed me to lock onto a single Velvet Scoter. As you would, I called this to the small …

Things are starting to happen- The Monthly Count.

New hardback A6 Notebook in hand, I set out to count everything I saw and heard at Surlingham Church Marsh, yesterday. My past notes are a bit of a muddle/mystery, and aside from writing them up on here, incomplete scribblings are the fruits of my labour to date. That is about to change. Firstly, the highlights. A pair of Treecreeper engaging in courtship would be a good spot anywhere, but this wasn't anywhere; this was the patch, and this was a new bird! Nearby, a Blue Tit was chased and then violently attacked by a gang of 3 fellow Blueys. I stood by and did nothing. Across at Wood's End, a very lost looking Oystercatcher was also a new bird for the reserve list, and I have never been so pleased to see an Oystercatcher. There were 3 Great Crested Grebes on the river, a pair of which were nest building. At least 6 Siskin were seen, 2 Shelduck were on the lagoon and 2 Stock Doves called. Lovely stuff. The following is in no real order (common ones first, prepared at home) and to…

Surlingham 12/02/11

It was always going to be difficult to top a quite sensational goal in the Manchester derby this lunchtime, but after a reality check in the form of book marking, I got underway with a thorough grilling of the patch.
Some action was afoot on the river, involving the usually grass-bound Greylag flock and smaller numbers of Wigeon and Teal. 2 Coot were further down-river, and a Great Crested Grebe was also seen.
The scrub at the start of the trail is proving particularly productive of late; Bullfinch, c15 Siskin, Long-tailed Tit and Greenfinch were all here. A scan across to Wood's End revealed the hunting Barn Owl and a large flock of c200 Fieldfare and a few Redwing. Further a long, I watched a dog Fox investigating holes along the river bank, methodically marking his territory. A sublime view of one of our mammals about his daily business.
A few ducks were out the front of the hide, A nice pair of Gadwall and 8 Teal were looking smart. Water Rails squealed, Reed Bunting sang and a…

Stubb Mill Roost and Broads

Saturday evening and a visit from a friend, so an ideal opportunity to show off one of Norfolk's finest spectacles- The Crane and Raptor roost at Stubb Mill. Walking up the track, I informed him of the high likelihood of a gang of numpties at the watchpoint. He responded with "I'll just tell them all about the Cock Of The Rock I saw". Fair shout. After a slow start, the birding soon picked up, and we were able to count a total of 41 Marsh Harriers in the air, battling against the wind. A shout from next to us alerted us to a low flying Male Hen Harrier. I spied a small falcon with his back to us- I would guess Merlin, but must I have been looking away when he took off. As the sun set, a Woodcock blazed through, and despite my shout out, it seemed very few of the crowd knew what a Woodcock was. Muppets. We caught a glimpse of c14 Cranes landing far away to our left, and right on cue the crowd dispersed. Realising there was some light left and relishing the peace and q…