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Showing posts from January, 2016

Burgh Castle and Strumpshaw Fen

Burgh Castle offered a good chance of boosting the historical sites list, and with the Lesser Yellowlegs still being seen anywhere around Breydon Water I decided to give it a go Saturday lunchtime. By the time I arrived close to midday, the tide was already high leaving little to no mud exposed. I wasn't far off though, for the recently mud-less Waders were in the air, huge flocks of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings were circling. Redshank, Curlew and Ruff joined them, before alighting on the flooded fields to the north of the river confluence. Watching as I was from within the ruined fortifications, Marsh Harriers passed by at head height, offering superb views. Bearded Tit pinged from the reedbeds, a pleasing addition to my new list. I did take a short walk along the shore, but eventually the gusts of wind got the better of me and I retreated to the carpark.

On the way home I called in at St. Olaves Priory. The nearby priory restaurant was a giveaway in terms of location, but u…

WeBs count weekend

With frost on the ground and the first real wintry day of the season, I crunched and waded my way round Church Marsh. There were plenty of Wildfowl overhead, unsettled perhaps by the frozen conditions, but very few on the reserve itself that I could actually count on the WeBs! As always when the temperature dips below freezing, the Teal and Wigeon all congregate on the neighbour's pond which seems immune to the minus temperatures. Only a Coot, 3 Cormorant and GC Grebe were on the river, and a Kingfisher buzzed through. One sighting of note was that of a Yellowhammer near the gun club. I have come across a wintering bird here before, sharing the hedge with a Reed Bunting. Crucially, this was not a species I recorded anywhere on the patch last year (the Postwick singer may have sang his last) so this was good news for the year list. Elsewhere, the Nuthatch has now left the pines and moved into the Churchyard, and I actually got to see him this time. I would think the chances of attr…

Binham Priory and Warham Greens

Binham Priory was another historical site I was yet to visit, and with such stunning skies I felt confident I could take in some local history and up the new list too. The Priory itself was set amongst high ground to the north of the village, and along with the pillars and ruins the church itself is still used today for local services. I am not a religious person, but I do enjoy visiting churches and can't help but get caught up in the moment, imaging what might have been occurring here 900 years ago at its inception. There are a few finds inside on display, flint tool heads, even a coffin.
Walking amongst the ruins, I was especially pleased to spot a Buzzard alighting in a bare tree, and then it joined two more on the breeze. Other new birds for my historical sites list included Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch and Collared Dove. 
Of note driving from home to the north coast, 1 Red Kite near Lenwade, and 4 more Buzzard at various localities. 
Moving onto Salthouse, we had lunc…

Back at the patch- Nuthatch making History

With heavy rain forecast for the afternoon, which of course duly arrived, I was eager to make an early start and so I was at Church Marsh just before 8am in order to see what was about and get the year list underway. A good range of species were seen, eventually finishing on 52 with the expected and unexpected gaps at this time of year. Highlights were 2 Barn Owls hunting in the same binocular view, something I did not see here last year. Also abhorrent to a nearby group of Magpies was a hunting female Marsh Harrier. Ducks were hard to come by, perhaps due to the hunting Raptors, but I was chuffed to hear the pings of Bearded Tits from the reedbed. This species returned to Church Marsh last year, and to hear it persisting is just great, maybe this is the year breeding will take place.
The scrub held 2/3 Chiffchaff, and the usual Tits were present minus the Marsh, which does always take a little more effort. Siskin called as they flew overhead, and a small skein of Pink-feet headed off…

Happy New Year- Birdwatching at Historical Sites of Interest

With no big foreign birding trips planned for this year, I wanted to of course focus on the patch but also The British Isles. I will be returning to Scotland in early April, and Debs and I will return to Northumberland in the Summer. Much of what ties our trips together (as well as the birds) are the history and culture of the locations we visit, and particularly with Northumberland I felt we scratched the surface a few years ago but now with a joint membership of English Heritage in the bag we should really be able to get under the skin of a variety of historical sites. So as well as the marshes and broads on my doorstep, this year I intend to keep a list entitled 'Birds seen at Historical Sites of Interest'. This extends to wildlife in general (need to get on top of Wildflowers this year, and have been granted access to a super piece of marsh nearby to hone my 'skills') and should get me/us out and about to some different places all with a story to tell, and maybe so…