Thursday, 20 September 2012

Grabbing the odd moment

Consumed by school at the moment, hence a gap between updates here. Now that the patch is more tricky to visit regularly, I appreciate it being there even more. Nothing scarce to report, just some general goings on that keep the broads ticking.
The bat detector has proven a solid investment, and despite missing an outing with the Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group due to car problems, I have been amusing myself down at Surlingham now the nights are pulling in once more. I am getting to know good bat 'spots' and have enjoyed some close encounters these last 2 weeks as the young Bats join the adults on the wing. I have recorded Noctule, Brown Long-eared, Soprano and Common Pip so far, and last year Daubenten's were hunting the Yare and no doubt are doing the same this year. If anyone knows of any swarming sites in and around Norwich, do let me know; that would finish off the season nicely.
Whilst the bird activity has been quiet, 5 returning Wigeon are a sure sign of the season changing, and both Cetti's Warbler and Robin are singing again. The Greylag flock are back together across the river at the evocative Wood's End, and many of their number roost on the lagoon at Church Marsh. Kingfisher, Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel have all been seen or heard in the last 2 weeks.  Best of all, 2 Barn Owls against a pink sky hunting together at Church Marsh.
A walk round Wheatfen had me and the insect life clinging onto the dregs of Summer, for Hawkers were on the wing along with Red Admiral Butterflies- glad to see a few of these this year, better late than never.

Couple of Bat walks coming up- Weds 26th with Norwich Bat Group (Mousehold Heath looking likely) and   Sat 29th at Surlingham.  Bats, and a beer afterwards.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cley jaunt and a Buckenham sky

A sortie to Cley on the 2nd had more on the menu than birds. Debs was keen to eat at Cookie's Crab Shop (albeit in neighbouring Salthouse) and we wanted to try out some new scopes at CleySpy with a view to a new year purchase. We of course had a leisurely stroll around the reserve, but first this:
Fresh, tasty and well priced at £6.50. We sat out the front of the shack, watching the world (and some birds) drift by and my good friend and birding mentor Rob Lambert (2nd place in celebrity wild brain of Britain at Birdfair, so he says) turned up. We had a nice catch up.
Anyway, the reserve was a little quiet but we did pick up a distant Curlew Sandpiper and 2 sleeping Spoonbill. Keen to prolong the day we dropped in at Stiffkey Fen. A Pectoral Sandpiper had been reported and showing from the sea wall. No luck there, but we did manage a glimpse of the bird, looking over the reed tops on the way back to the car. Great location but a terribly awkward view of the pool, and views from the sea wall were always going to be distant.

I had no idea the nights were pulling in at such a rate, and probably only enjoyed three quarters of an hour at Buckenham last night, but it was absolutely superb. Nothing exceptional seen, but standing in the near dark as Geese whiffled in with newly arrived Wigeon and Teal calling gently on arrival was magic. Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Redshank called as the mist replaced the red sky. All a reminder of the changing evening commute for some of our birds. My favourite time of year approaches fast.

                                                                   Big Sky Country