Skip to main content

Breakfast (and dinner) with the birds

A glorious couple of days on the patch, full of good birds, wonderful company and fine food.

Starting mid-morning on Saturday, a report of a Black Tern at Rockland Broad meant I would have to be quick to connect with this migrant, which always passes through at this time of year. An initial glance across the broad gave up nothing bar a few Great-crested Grebe, and I instead busied myself checking the water levels and checking the moorings. A Hobby flew overhead, launching itself into  an aerial assault on some poor insect. My first of the year, and a bird I never tire of watching. A look back to the broad, still quiet. The silence was broken by the squawk of  Tern, and 2 Common Tern then honed into view. Not bad- but not quite the bird I was after. Settled in the hide, I waited a while longer and sure enough one then another Black Tern arrived! Three year ticks just like that, the Marsh Terns in particular offering a superb display over the broad.

Later that day,I met with mum, dad and some friends to walk round Church Marsh. We had excellent views of a Cuckoo overhead, as well as a hunting male Marsh Harrier. The heat appeared to render some of the common species a little inactive, so we took dinner at The Ferry before heading to Coldham Hall for dusk. After a swift pint, we heard Grasshopper Warbler reeling, and watched a Hobby pass through. Luckily for them, the 2 Noctule Bats were out a little later and therefore not under threat from the Falcon which did not hang around.

Early this morning, myself and Peter met around 36 folk who had signed up to the SYWG walk round Church Marsh. We split into 2 groups, and I opted to take in the hide and river first. We quickly got onto a Cuckoo in flight, and I caught a brief 'reel' from the meadow. A pair of Shelduck were on the lagoon but wildfowl numbers were actually very low. Further on the trail, I got all excited with a Common Sandpiper on the moorings over the river, new for the year. A Garden Warbler was singing from deep within the riverside scrub nearby. From the foot of the ruins, we enjoyed excellent views of a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, probably the bird of the morning for the group. Having said that, we were lucky to see so many of our 'common' species so well- Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and another Cuckoo. We finished with a Treecreeper near the pub. I had toyed with stopping for breakfast, but Peter informed me that his group had seen 2 Avocet on Postwick marshes. I said a few quick goodbyes and headed back to the church and down the hill. The Waders had done a bunk by the time I got there, although I did see 4 Little Egret heading North. The Nuthatch I keep writing off also reminded me he is still there, now in the churchyard. An excellent morning, I am glad so many people came along and hopefully enjoyed themselves. I certainly did, showing and sharing the birds is a delight and I am always privileged to be asked to assist with these walks every year.

Debs and I have just returned from a walk to the river, where looking across at Buckenham perhaps the earlier Avocet were now looking much more settled. Ringed Plover, Ruff and Redshank could also be seen.

 Braving the heat at Church Marsh
 Common Sandpiper
Claxton Marshes


Popular posts from this blog

A local phenomenon

In the time it took me to drive down the long uneven track to the enigma that is The Beauchamp Arms, the satellite Corvid roost had grown from zero to around 300 birds. A roughly even mix of Rooks and Jackdaws assemble on Claxton Marshes every evening during the Winter (currently around 15.30) and 50 minutes later a mass of circa 5000 birds have left for the giant roost at Buckenham Carrs north of the river. This was the first time I had made a clear note of timings, and was surprised by how quickly the meeting point goes from raucous to silent. In fact, an eerie quiet falls upon the avenue of trees around 16.00, and a lone cock Pheasant outcried the 1000s of Corvids perched on trees or loafing on the marshy ground beneath. What follows are a number of reshufflings as the restless birds take flight in small waves, taking a new branch to perch upon. Around 16.15, a false dawn as a splinter group takes a more purposeful flight only to loop round and return to the main group. Only at tw…

Picking up the pieces is easy

Bumping into neighbour Mark Cocker in the Findhorn Valley proved not only how small our world is, but also how valuable the home patch is to us both. We compared notes around our Highland experiences, but attention quickly turned to where we had both come from. "Have you seen the Short-eared Owls?" We both had, and it was this pleasantly nagging thought that kept infiltrating my mind throughout the highland stay. Put simply, inside my head, it went like this: it is great up here, but when I get home I must get down the marsh.

Despite Spring being a leap ahead back home compared to the north, reminders of the season past were hunting  Claxton Marsh as we had discussed. The Short-eared Owls had not been present all Winter, and sightings of two birds in April were oddly my first of the year. A background orchestra of Grasshopper and Sedge Warbler was a contradiction, but here were the early birds and a couple simply not in a rush. 
I have been taking part in the Common Bird Cen…

Only the brave

No matter how many times I walk the well-trodden paths that criss-cross my local patch, nature can still throw up something new. At Surlingham Church Marsh early this morning, the temperature beginning to climb above freezing, I witnessed a pair of Jays mobbing a perched Common Buzzard. I have never seen this behaviour before, although from a Corvid of any kind not exactly unexpected. My presence appeared to be the final straw, the raptor taking flight and disappearing further into the small pine wood. Elsewhere on the reserve, a hunting female Marsh Harrier was hopefully a sign of things to come prior to Spring, and Siskins aplenty called overhead and amongst the Alders. Walking the holloway from the church down to the river, the first Snowdrops were braving the frozen ground and providing a welcome splash of purity and colour.

This afternoon as the sky took on a golden tinge above the copse opposite, I took this as my signal to walk the marsh path down to the river. I was rewarded w…