Thursday, 21 April 2016

Cranes over Claxton the highlight of mid-April

The 17th was the first of many days of settled weather characterised by high pressure. This has led to dewy, even frosty lawns in the morning but perfect conditions for migration. Perhaps too perfect, for in weather like this some birds won't stop until they reach their breeding grounds, making hay while the sun shines. It was early afternoon and myself and Debs were out fixing felt onto the shed roof, Storm Katie having stripped us of the previous offering. My better half noticed the long shapes high in the sky first,and I dashed in to get the bins. Having lived in the valley for less than 3 years, these were the first Cranes I had seen here, better late than never. Drifting through on the thermals, the pair were eventually lost to view as they headed west, away from the river. Carrying on with the task in hand, and a House Martin flew through the garden. I really thought we would struggle to better the doorstep birding of our previous house in Surlingham, but here we have had regular Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Barn Owl and Siskin (all seen from or in the garden) flyover Woodcock and now a pair of Grus Grus. Can't complain.

Whilst the Cranes will probably return to their north Broadland base for breeding, plenty of other species are engaging with the hustle and bustle or the breeding season on the patch. The first Willow Warblers were in on the 3rd, followed by Blackcap on the 5th and Sedge Warbler on the 8th. At time of writing, I am still yet to record Grasshopper Warbler but I expect they are probably here, favouring evening to sing. Over at Church Marsh, the Little Owl gave away its presence with a call yesterday ( I believe last year was a blank, although I probably didn't search that hard) and although not seen by me, a Lesser Whitethroat has made a welcome return to the reserve list. At least the male Marsh Harrier is still present, and a pair of Kingfisher indulged in a courtship chase which took them across the footpath, into trees, across the marsh and back to the river. These birds looks so exotic, I can imagine people from abroad would have a hard time believing they are British residents.

A Cuckoo was reported at Church Marsh yesterday; I am hoping to hear one at Ducan's Marsh in the village before long.


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