Firstly, a few patch visits to update (that's the hallowed bit, for those wanting to keep track).
The evening of the 9th was marred by drizzle and a slight drop in the temperature to around 9 degrees C, and although the reserve was a little quiet, I did pick up a year tick in the form of a pair of Red-legged Partridge, viewed from the ruins. Rarer than Redpoll at Surlingham! Also of interest here was a mixed Thrush roost, including Redwing, Fieldfare, Song and Mistle. The majority of the birds were Redwing, and it was a delight to hear their beautiful song in the evening light, the first time I have heard this here in England.
Back on the main reserve, 2 Green Sandpiper now frequent the lagoon and muddy margins. One less skittish bird allowed good views as it sat calling, preening and generally looking rather smart in breeding plumage.
Yesterday, the 10th, was undoubtedly one of the best visits of the year so far. Wrapped up for Winter again, we began the circuit with brief views of the Kingfisher before I almost trod on a Water Rail! The bushes were settling for the night but Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all sang. On the river bend, Debs shouted 'Hirundine' (she is getting a little too good at this) and sure enough, 2 Sand Martins were hawking for bugs!
Another year tick was again picked up by Debs in the scope, this time a welcome return for a Little-ringed Plover. Two had been reported on the board, but this evening we could only find one. No sign of any Sandpiper, but a pair of Shovelor were new in.
One dyke in particular appears to be home to at least one Water Vole, and up until now only noises have betrayed their presence. A patient wait yesterday evening and we did see one plop into the water. Continuing the mammal theme, walking back adjacent to the church and the pinewoods a few small Bats were out hunting. Using the detector, we picked up both Common and Soprano Pipistrelles, the latter seemingly flying higher and appeared more wary of us.
Before this super patch visit, I had been out at Hemsby and Caister on my first real migrant hunt of the year. Saw nothing. Might give up Hemsby. To say I was disappointed would have been an understatement, so much so infact that I decided I had earnt myself a twitch,so called in at Waxham for decent if brief views of the Hoopoe on the way home. Well, you can't argue with a Hoopoe, can you? Also here a Swallow moved through.