Monday, 22 April 2013

The week just passed in review

Sensing that this was a week in which to catch up with migration in action, Debs and I headed out to the patch on Monday 15th after work. A super evening. On arriving at the river bend opposite Wood's End, that call of the wild resonated from across the Yare. Somewhere, a patch first, a Curlew was calling! I didn't have to search for him, since the large Wader flew over our heads and over Church Marsh! Elsewhere on the reserve, a Barn Owl was surprisingly and worryingly the first recorded here this year (better numbers at Claxton) and the reel of a Grasshopper Warbler also alerted us to another year first. Walking back to the car, at dusk, 5 Common Pipistrelle's caught insects high at tree top level.

Rockland Broad on Wednesday night held little of note, bar courting Great-crested Grebes.

Fast-forward to Saturday 20th, and another visit to Church Marsh mid morning. A Whitethroat sang from across the river, NFY. Willow Warbler appeared to be outnumbering Chiffchaff now, or at least were louder! 2 male Marsh Harriers are now present on the reserve, but not at the same time. One bird has almost silver coloured wing patches, very distinctive. A Great Black-backed Gull heaading towards Postwick was shockingly a second 'patch tick' of the week. Many Peacock and Comma were on the wing along with a smattering of Brimstone.

That evening, I attended a Bat detector course at Santon Downham, run jointly by Suffolk Bat Group and the BCT. This was both an informative and enjoyable course, and I learnt a lot about rhythm, tone and how variable calls can be. We were able to put our new found knowledge into practise, and despite the cold temperatures we located Soprano Pips and Daubenton's. I return here later in May for a NBMP course which will help with my intended survey work this year.

Yesterday, I took in some of the wider South Yare patch, starting with Rockland Broad. The Broad has been pretty devoid of anything decent so far this year and I am relying on it to deliver some more difficult birds I am unlikely to pick up elsewhere. Very few Ducks seem to use The Broad, perhaps it is too deep for dabbling? Anyway, enough whinging because today I struck lucky with an Arctic Tern. the bird was distant at first, although clearly 'legless' with long tail feathers. There was some black at the tip of the bill which initially threw me, although it would seem some Arctics can display this feature we would usually associate with Common. So, a top patch tick and hopefully one of a few species of Tern I will see here this year.

Later in the afternoon, Debs and I enjoyed a stroll round Langley. A Peregrine was across the river (a 'stolen' patch tick) but the best find was a Grass Snake, lounging in the sun and proving photogenic.



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