Monday, 17 February 2014

Tales from the patch and a bit of wardening

Although much of my free time of late has gone into the house move, I have managed to get out into the field with the extra time that half term offers.
Yesterday evening I made a quick visit to Langley Marshes. This is becoming an excellent spot for Little Egret, at least 3 were here. A peek across the river revealed the flock of White-fronted Geese, another 'extra' species for the patchwork challenge. A male Marsh Harrier ghosted by as I was watching the Geese. To the right of the Geese I could make out some smaller Waders on Cantley Marshes, probably Dunlin but too distant to confirm. It is looking decent out there! Onto Claxton, and 3 Barn Owls were hunting and a Kestrel was perched looking smart. A cloud of Lapwing and Golden Plover erupted over at Buckenham, the culprit a female Marsh Harrier moving through.

After lunch today I went to the new house to install the most important piece of kit bar the shower:


The garden behind us has a nice looking feeding station, so by placing the feeder here I can hope to pull in some birds from the wider countryside rather than steal their birds! Whilst I was assembling the feeders 5 Fieldfare flew over, and a gathering of Gulls were assembled over the small reservoir to the south of us, including a Great Black Backed.

I then headed to Church Marsh, now within walking distance. My saw was at the ready, and indeed I did cut back some vegetation:
As well as a bit of wardening I also did the WeBs count, totals of 2 Tufted, 3 GC Grebe, 35 Teal, 14 Mallard, 4 Gadwall and 2 Moorhen. Much more exciting was a Barn Owl hunting at 2.30pm, followed by further Owl action in the smaller guise of a Little Owl, calling. I managed to track him down and he proceeded to glare at me. Understandable, because I inadvertently alerted a Tit and Thrush flock as to his presence. He flew off, clearly disgruntled. A drumming GS Pecker was the first of the year.

Onto Rockland, and the BH Gull roost numbered around 200 which is sort of decent. Wildfowl numbers were lower than Surlingham, although 9 Tufted Duck just about deserve a mention. My favourite songster at the moment, the Mistle Thrush, was in excellent voice near the carpark:
At least 3 males were heard singing today, a healthy number compared to last year. It is very mild out and about, so perhaps our resident birds will have a good breeding season.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sunday stroll

Fairly lazy weekend on the birding front, but good reason for that as I will explain. Popped to Wheatfen after lunch today and the resident birds were making themselves heard, including Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Goldcrest and Treecreeper. I almost walked into a Water Deer, who was grazing on the track near the small lagoons. In the woodland, Bullfinch called but remained elusive. A female Reed Bunting showed herself nicely through a gap in the scrub.
A scan from Claxton Marshes allowed me to add to species to the list that were entirely absent last year. 3 Ruff could be seen on the marsh, as well as 3+ Dunlin! 17 Shelduck were new in, and 2 Peregrine were assuming the usual fence post vigil. On the Claxton side, female Marsh Harrier and Kestrel surveyed the marsh. Heading to the car, the breeze had encouraged a Buzzard to take to the skies.
I finished up at Church Marsh in the hope of the ringtail. Again no luck there, but I did enjoy Song Thrush in song and the over-wintering Wigeon on the small lake.
So, although not much birding done I have been busy. For a while now Debs and I have been looking to move out of Norwich, and we have been patient in our search for a new property. Yesterday we finally found the right place for us, and it is in Surlingham! This has not really sunk in yet, and the next few weeks will be pretty hectic. Living on the patch, I'll take that.