Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Everything's new!

The one day of the year when even a Woodpigeon is greeted with enthusiasm. Well, for a brief moment anyway. I realised on our return we never actually saw a Dunnock, an early riser perhaps, which we certainly were not. Still, some great birds to get the Surlingham and South Yare list off to a good start.

We centered our New Year's Day stroll around Rockland to start with. On the broad were a pair of Goldeneye, a bird I would be unlikely to score on Church Marsh. Tufted Duck, LB Gull, Coot, Little Grebe and Greylag Goose added to the variety. A Kingfisher was vocal and we did manage to see him in flight amongst the scrub. The water level was as high as I had seen it here, perhaps the bird was varying his fishing strategies accordingly. Also amongst the scrub were Marsh Tit, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and a Stock Dove over. Driving between here and Claxton we picked up Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier.

Viewing from the Beauchamp Arms, one can obtain views across the river to Buckenham Marshes, if height allows. Here I could make out the Barnacle Goose flock, but could not positively ID the group of Waders seen in flight (probably the Ruff from last week). According to Patchwork Challenge rules, birds seen from your patch count! This could be crucial. The real stars were however on the Claxton side of the river, 2 ghost-like Short-eared Owls. One individual was subject some of the most persistent mobbing I have seen, unable to land or hunt for around 20 minutes as a Rook had the Owl pinned up high:
This meant that the other bird was able to hunt relatively unnoticed along the river bank! Super birds as always, and a great patch tick. Also seen here were 2 Barn Owl, 2 Kestrel (one of these had a go at the Shortie too)
2 Grey Heron and a Little Egret. A Ringtail Hen Harrier was reported from this area too, perhaps we were the wrong side of the marsh for viewing.

We finished the day at Langley marshes. 1000's of Lapwing with smaller numbers of Golden Plover had crossed the river from Cantley. 2 More Barn Owl were enjoyed, and as the Corvid roost built up we headed  home. Perhaps the best 'tick' of the day came as we were driving, in that it was unexpected and a difficult species to connect with. A Little Owl was perched in a tree outside a farm in Langley, to make it a 3 Owl day and provide the perfect finish. And I haven't even been to Surlingham yet!

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