Sunday, 16 December 2012

Woodcock- new to Surlingham

After an evening of both superb food and company, I was ready to blow out the cobwebs at the patch. Bird of the morning presented itself as I left the car behind, a Woodcock blazing a trail from the churchyard into the small pine plantation. Unsurprisingly, I was unable to relocate it. When a Woodcock arrives like that, landing gear out, it almost appears as if someone has flung the bird towards its destination. What a buzz. My dad once told me of an old tradition: if a chap shot 2 Woodcock with a left and a right, and someone was there as a witness, the 'winner' gained a year's subscription to The Shooting Times and a bottle of Grouse. I would hope this has been phased out! Woodcock is my 110th bird recorded at Surlingham Church Marsh.

Continuing round the river bend, I picked out 3 Redpoll in flight. One landed, a very pale individual (never straight forward) and I was able to observe feeding and plumage from various angles. The think dark band on the undertail coverts gave this one up as a Lesser Redpoll. Nearby, the familiar call of Siskin overhead. Although not yet a good Winter to see Siskin on the reserve, numbers have certainly increased since my last visit. The calm, relatively warm weather was proving productive for me: Treecreeper, Goldcrest and Coal Tit all observed at close quarters. A female Sparrowhawk flew right past me, disappearing into the undergrowth.
By the time I had arrived at the lagoon, the shooting had begun across the river and the Teal and pair of Shoveler were clearly spooked. A Kingfisher near the gun club didn't seem too bothered though, allowing me to follow him for a while.

With one eye on next year's patch boundaries, I spent the remainder of the morning at Rockland. A Kestrel was hunting the marshes, and I picked up Marsh Tit and Bullfinch in the scrub. On the water itself were both Great-crested and Little Grebe.

This evening, Debs and I arrived in The Broads and opened the car door to the sound of Whooper Swans and Cranes, it just does not get any better than that! We also caught up with a few Bewick's Swans, 2 Barn Owls and 2 Kestrel. The day finished as it had begun, a Woodcock across the track in front of the car.

Below, a Barn Owl, plus  driving between sites, this (female?) Red Deer was pished almost into the car!

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