Skip to main content

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! 


  1. Hi Jim, just been reading your blog which was recommended to me by a couple of friends. I really like it since it deals with areas I'm pretty familiar with. My sister lives at rockland, my niece at Surlingham and my brother at New Buckenham! I spend a lot of time volunteering for the NWT and the RSPB and regularly visit the Yare Valley. Would you have any objection if I linked your blog to my own? If you want to have a look you can find it at Hope to read more of your blogging soon. Cheers Barry

  2. Hi Barry. Please do! I will also link your blog. Sounds like you have some vested interest in the Yare Valley! As you know, it is a super part of the UK to have the pleasure of birding in. Hopefully bump into you in the field at some point.


Post a Comment

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…