Sunday, 24 November 2013

Some changes at Surlingham

Headline news from the patch is a fond farewell to the Whaley Hide, dismantled and removed in favour of a sluice. Like other visitors I am a little sad to see the old hide go, but it was old and in many areas beyond repair. The installation of a sluice will connect the lagoon to the flow of the river, thereby increasing the biodiversity of the lagoon waters and putting an end to years of silt build up. Perhaps in time a few more Waders will look to stop here on migration, as the numbers of invertebrates increases. Exciting times. The team from Strumpshaw have also cracked on with more scrub removal, cleared ditches and uncovered a new mini lagoon between the main lagoon and the gun club. Excellent work and already I have noticed wildlife making use of their 'facilities'; today, a Treecreeper was frequenting an area of newly cut scrub that was previously obscured from view, and a count of 42 teal (2 females) was very healthy indeed.
Away from the main reserve, a skein of Pink-footed Geese flew north this morning at around 9am, 60+. This was actually a year tick for my Church Marsh list, which I just cannot see reaching the 100 before New Year. A mixed Siskin and Redpoll flock did not linger for observational purposes, but a Goldcrest in a Tit flock did! The churchyard was buzzing with Thrushes: Mistle, Redwing, Fieldfare and Blackbird all waiting patiently in the treetops to feed on berries below.

I then popped over to Wheatfen, and scored an unexpected patch tick. A Nuthatch was heard calling near the cottage, and the warden was on hand to inform me that a pair had been present for the last year or two. Not sure how I have missed them, but more than happy to add them to my list on a wet and windy November day. On top of this, 1/2 Brambling were seen and heard wheezing in Surlingham Wood- my first of this Winter anywhere on the patch. Love a good Brambling.

 Goodbye to the Whaley Hide
 The sluice; former position of the hide was behind the scrub to the right
 Fungi at Wheatfen. Fly Agaric I think. although someone has had more than a nibble.
Stunning Autumnal colours in Surlingham Wood, Wheatfen.

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