Monday, 7 May 2012

Lowlights....and an Otter!

Very slow on the patch of late, the year list has crept up unconvincingly and a deluge of both rain and paperwork have meant visits have been few since late April- early May, but one obvious jackpot moment stands out.
On the 29th of April, the sun broke out nicely after a day (and week) of rain. I picked up Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Skylark and Swift, all new for the year. Great to have these birds back. Blackcap seem to have returned in force, and a few more Swallows are now hawking amongst the cattle at Wood's End. Nearing the end of the circuit, I stopped to scan a dyke I have viewed over 100 times before. Today, something special. A ripple in the water, a Mallard panicked. Revealing herself, a female Otter made its way toward me, totally unaware of my presence. Awestruck, I watched as she disappeared under for a couple of minutes, but following the bubble trail she resurfaced 5 metres from me. Amazing! What an encounter, and believe it or not this is my first Otter seen in the wild.

Later that week, Debs and I popped out to the Ted Ellis reserve in the hope of catching up with 2 reported Ring Ouzel. Although we didn't see these birds, I was reminded of what a super place this is, and certainly need to give these paddocks more attention. Some pictures below.
Yesterday, I observed a Barn Owl food carrying, heading across the marsh towards the church. Heard only but new for the year were both Cuckoo and Grasshopper Warbler, one of my favourites and this year a feeling of relief as it began reeling; I cannot believe how late they are this year.
A stop at Claxton Marshes had another hunting Barn Owl, a large gathering of Mute Swans (70+) but no late Short-eared Owls, seen here up until the end of April.

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