Thursday, 18 February 2016

The highs and lows of February birding

To many, February can seem like an unappealing month. Still dark, certainly dreary and very much Winter. I can't disprove any of this, but I always look forward to the half term week and see it as an opportunity to get some seasonal birding done before the season begins to shift in mid-March.

Beginning on Monday 15th, amongst a few other typical half-term potterings I was keen to have a look at the Cattle Egret near Aldeby tip. The bird was frequenting a small paddock with cows not far from my friend John's house, so after a quick stroll along the track at Boon's Heath, he and I made our way towards the river. Passing the paddock, we stood on the river bank looking across at Castle and Carlton Marshes where a large Gull roost had assembled. A Barn Owl had begun to hunt on our side of the river, and a Redshank called before alighting on a small river side pool. The Cattle Egret then arrived from the south, giving us a fly-past before landing back with the cattle we had just walked past. We walked back and the bird allowed a close approach and we were able to observe the short-legged, hunched posture as the Egret fed around the feet of the cattle, picking up larvae and other grubs. I only had my phone on me, so took a few record shots.

On Tuesday, the weather looked perfect for a day in The Brecks. The conditions were indeed perfect, but I think this has to be my worst day of birding in and around the forest, ever. I saw very little of note, despite trying out 3 Goshawk sites, searching for Golden Pheasant, giving Hawfinch a go; the rewards just weren't there on this day. I did see the back end, quite literally, of a Firecrest disappear into a Holly bush at Thompson, which probably made me feel even more frustrated! Just one of those days. Instead of any birds, some nice Breckland scenery:

Yesterday, I was keen to actually see some birds, so headed to Breydon Water. Here, I enjoyed swirling flocks of Dunlin and Redshank, accompanied by Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Knot and Ringed-plover out on the mud flats. A superb spectacle. There were plenty of Wigeon and Teal, and a few Pintail too. I spent a while scanning for either the reported Spotted Redshank or Lesser Yellowlegs, found neither, and headed to Halvergate Marshes. I enjoyed a good stomp out along the Weaver's Way, and although Raptors weren't really in evidence I did see this flock of 23 Bewick's Swans, below. This was more my kind of birding, forget about The Brecks!

Driving home I saw 2 Barn Owl hunting the marshes alongside the A47. At least I saw some birds of prey over the last few days.

No comments:

Post a Comment