Monday, 2 January 2012

Off and running

Well, walking really. Credit to these hardy folk who make the early start for a New Year's Day list, but I prefer the relaxed approach. A mug of tea, a Neil Young song, a read of the headlines, then I'm ready.
Surlingham the obvious venue, and with daylight burning fast the full circuit would have to wait. Wood's End again was home to good numbers of Common and Black-headed Gulls and flocks of 35 Fieldfare and 10 Redwing flew overhead. A distant raptor that upset the Gulls was probably a Harrier. 150 Greylag were counted, not the complete flock. 2 Great-crested Grebe were on the river. More birds for the year list included Cettis Warbler and Green Woodpecker. An unexpected sight was a murmuration of c5,000 Starlings over Wood's End, later seen behind the ruins of St. Saviours. A small group of c100 is often seen around the reserve, but nothing on this scale.

We popped out for a couple of hours this afternoon, Spring clean complete.
Beginning at Barton Broad, 2 Marsh Harrier over the reedbed, 20+ Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Mallard and a single Pochard, looking lost. Very few passerines in the bushes and scrub, and we left a little disappointed.
Ludham again, and here our best ever views of Short-eared Owl, we agreed. Two birds, one of which we managed to phish a little closer. The camera was dead, so no record shots I am afraid. Other raptors we saw: Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Common Buzzard. We left when the light was still good, both Shorties still hunting. A group of wild Swans graced the sky, distantly.
Owls, great birds. It was observed the the legs of a Short-eared Owl are about as big as that of a baby (human).

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