Sunday, 19 June 2016

Ducan's Marsh, Claxton

Having achieved both awful and brief views of the Blue-winged Teal at Carlton Marshes, I can finally say I have seen a 'lifer' this Spring. Along with the Teal, there has been some interesting birds in East Anglia, including a Great Knot and Pacific Golden Plover at Titchwell. Not needing to see either bird, I have contented myself with a weekend on patch.

Early this morning I took a walk down to the river. There were plenty of juvenile Sedge Warblers amongst the Reeds, whilst any Reed Warblers were still busy singing. A Barn Owl and Marsh Harrier hunted the marsh. 2 broods of Cygnets are currently being raised, and the parents will have to keep a close eye on them if they are to avoid falling into the clutches of a Mink or Otter. On returning home, I changed and went for a job whilst it was still cool. In Carlton St. Peter, I came across 2 Barn Owls together. One was much higher than the other and appeared a little uncertain, perhaps a youngster in training?

Before lunch I made my way down to Ducan's Marsh, and area of land I have kindly been given year-round access to. Today was an open day, and myself and a small group helped undertake an Orchid Count. In the main, we were counting Common Spotted, Southern Marsh and Early Marsh. Difficult to separate when so many have hybridised together. We ended up walking a transect of the marsh, anc counted 1,961 Orchids between us. As well as these flagship species, I was also able to acquaint myself with Marsh Fern, Yellow Meadowvetch, Marsh Mint and Sanicle amongst other things. Whilst walking the marsh, we put up a Meadow Brown Butterfly, my first of the year. A Broad-bodied Chaser hunted the dykes, and on the walk back I came across a Black-tailed Skimmer on the road, another first. Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were still singing, and a family of Bullfinch moved through unseen.This is a real gem of a site and I am lucky it is but a short walk from my front door.

Elsewhere, I have been fortunate enough to happen across 4 Red Kite on my travels, and this is a site I intend to return to in order to establish if breeding has actually taken place. A Little Owl was in the village on Friday evening, taking the parish Owl count up to 4.

 Rockland Broad last week
 Ragged Robin, Ducan's Marsh
 Marsh Fern with unknown Sedge/Rush?
 Early Marsh Orchid, I think.
Ducan's Marsh- the area to the right held 1,961 Orchids! 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Finally, just in time for the tail end of Spring migration........

.......we get some good weather. Too little too late? Only time will tell. I have enjoyed watching the resident birds go about their business on the local marshes and broads, but that ranks as the poorest Spring I can recall in terms of migrants and variety. That is not to say the birding is not good- but just a little underwhelming. Over at Rockland Broad on Saturday, I enjoyed a bit of a raptor fest, with 3 Hoby, 2 Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier and Kestrel all seen well. 2 Garden Warbler were singing, one by the carpark and one by the broad. A couple of Common Tern were hawking over the broad, and a Kingfisher was up to the usual near the hide. Don't get me wrong, this is all great (and in the warm too) but I was hoping for something a little different at Rockland this Spring. Still, with the decent weather set to continue for the next week, eyes to the skies. And indeed, to the ground, for my first Wall Browns of the year were flying and I happened upon my first 4-spotted Chasers of the year too.

I made my way round Church Marsh early Sunday morning, and whilst the broad itself has quietened down with nesting wildfowl tucked away, the (resident?) male Marsh Harrier continues to hunt, and the reedbeds remain alive with Sedge and Reed Warbler song. Back on the marshes close to home, a Hobby showed nicely from its perch on a post. The highlight of the last week has been without doubt the local Barn Owls. At least 2 have been screeching from the field beyond our garden limits, and on clear nights the birds can be seen silhouetted as they fly backwards and forwards.

I see a Blue-winged Teal has been reported from Carlton Marshes, a bird that has given me the slip on 2 previous occasions. My next opportunity to try for this would be Wednesday or even Thursday, so hopefully it will do the honourable thing and hang on for me.
 Hat weather
Shorts weather