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Showing posts from March, 2014

New arrivals on the patch

I awoke to the song of a Mistle Thrush, a beautiful tune when one is halfway between asleep and awake. It sounded as if it was in the garden, probably perched in what I think is a Cherry Tree. By the time I was out of the door it had departed, still singing, but further away in the nearby copse.
It was to be a morning of song and calls that allowed me to pick up more returning migrants. A Willow Warbler was singing in the scrub, the end of the song to me sounds like he is laughing all the way to the bank. On the other side of the reserve, a Blackcap fired out its own tune. Last year, I welcomed back these pair on the 13th and 14th of April respectively. Factoring in a harsh Winter and my proximity to the patch would suggest it was always likely I would pick these two up earlier this year, but to record them both in March is at least of note if not significant. I will compile a list of arrivals and departures in the near future.
Elsewhere, a Kingfisher bombed away from the river and ov…

Two-barred Crossbill clean-up

The last time I dipped these birds was late Summer and again into Autumn last year, so the reports of a maximum of 5 Two-barred Crossbills at Lynford had me firing up the Fiesta and heading to the Brecks, accompanied by James and Connor. A glorious day it was, and upon arrival it did not take long to hear singing Firecrest (4 + territories encountered) and Nuthatch. We began searching for Crossbill at a construction site just inside the arboretum, and after 10 minutes or so a male Crossbill landed in a small tree. A closer look revealed it to have wing bars, one in particular was chunky. Even more crucial were the tertials, fringed white. This looked good for the reported 1w male. He didn't hang around, and we were left almost convinced!
Searching amongst the varied trees and shrubs, Connor came across 2 Hawfinch. I managed a glimpse of one high up in a pine. I have never seen Hawfinch in the arboretum itself, only in the paddocks or on the ground near the feeders. Presumably we h…

Bits and Bobs

A quiet weekend, out birding on the patch early this morning. Took the saw with me for a bit of maintenance, and although I only cut back a few bushes the difference between today and this time last month is striking. Not much in the way of birds, although there are at least 4 Chiffchaff on the reserve now. A pair of Little Egret heading upriver was the highlight and now my max count at Church Marsh! Rockland was similarly quiet, but again presumably a second pair of Little Egret were heading down river.

Hardley Flood, and the water levels were high meaning no Waders and not much of anything else, bar my 3rd pair of Little Egrets today. With nothing doing I stopped off for a quick stroll round Sisland Carr, followed by a glance over Claxton Marshes in the hope that the Ringtail Hen Harrier would pass through. I had to make do with a distant Barn Owl.

Bird of the day for me was a Common Buzzard seen from the garden, being hassled by the local Corvids.

One of those weekends when I toyed…

Hardley Flood and an evening on the patch

A beautiful morning in Chedgrave as I set off along the river bank to take in Hardley Flood. Both Fieldfare and Redwing were on the move (the latter still moving over the garden tonight) and a single Redpoll flew west. On the water itself were 2 Pintail (both drakes), many Shelduck, a single Redshank and an immature Great Black Backed Gull. Kingfisher, 2 Little Egret and on the marshes 26 Curlew added to the variety. Not the hoped for GW Egret or even Glossy Ibis, but living much closer to this under-watched site means I can look to make regular visits here and hopefully catch up with some migrants over the year.

I called in at Langley Staithe on the way back, hearing Redshank across the river and an unseen Green Woodpecker. 2 Marsh Harrier were up high, looking in prime position for a food pass but nothing came.

This evening I managed a quick walk around Church Marsh. Of note was a presumed dead Bank Vole, picture below and happy to receive any comments as to an ID. A Chiffchaff sang…

Singing Chiffchaffs and other Spring features

Up and about early this morning, leaving the house on foot just after 7 to take in the patch. Highlights were 2 singing Chiffchaff, 1 near the pub and another in the scrub. I would presume these are resident birds that have been hiding throughout the Winter, but the warm air mass and records of Grasshopper Warbler and Wheatear further north may suggest otherwise. Joining the chorus were Reed Bunting, Cettis's Warbler and Skylark. A male Sparrowhawk cruised across the grazing meadow. Kingfisher and Green Sandpiper on the flash at Wood's End were the best of the rest.
On returning to the house, Small Tortoiseshell and Brimstone Butterflies had been encouraged by the balmy temperatures and were inspecting the heather I had planted yesterday.

This afternoon I got the itch to be out again, so popped to Wheatfen for an hour. a Common Buzzard was displaying over the wood, and although the Woodpeckers I had hoped to see were quiet, I did happen upon to basking Grass Snake. I finally c…

Settling in to Surlingham and the garden list is off and running

I have spent most of the morning planting summer bulbs, a Buddleia and some heather in the garden. The Snowdrops underneath the tree are perhaps past their best, but the Daffodils and Crocus that have materialised are welcome and look smashing. The mild weather has had me removing layers in the middle of the job, and the local wildlife scene appears intent and with purpose for the first time this year. Driving along Slade Lane this morning, I saw my first Butterfly of the year, a windswept Small Tortoisehell. Always a red letter moment in any calendar year. Back in the garden, 2 more Small Torts and a powerful looking male Brimstone. Added to this a large Bee species (I intend to get to know Bees much better this year) and a Ladybird species and Spring has truly sprung.
Although our feeding station is rarely utilised by the resident Tits unless early in the morning, the garden and surrounds has certainly thrown up some good birds. A reservoir to the south of us pulls in a variety of w…