short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

December's Patch Highlights-A new species for the patch and more!

December had its cold weeks and some mild days which brought plenty of rain.  I managed to get soaked on one visit and extremely cold on the others but it had its rewards!

much of the marsh is now flooded. Wellies are a must!
As expected the broad was where most of the action was at, with good numbers of Wildfowl. 
One highlight was my personal  highest count of Shovelers for the year and possibly for patch in the 7 years I've been recording here.
On the 30th I had a total of 25 which is up on my personal highest yearly count which was 17 on the 1st of November , so all good.

Shoveler Ducks
Also of note the Pochards were still in good numbers with 55 on the 5th and up to 69 on the 12th. 
Teal were as usual hard to count as so many resting up in among the Broads edge . A total of  at least 51 on the 12th and 43 on the 30 th which could easily be doubled with so many coming out as I finished my counts typically ! 
Tufted duck numbers were lower then previous month but that said they do seem to favour Whitlingham broad and numbers at Thorpe Broad only seem to be high ive found from experience if a disturbance or event is on at Whitlingham. Highest count was on the 12th with 26.
There was most noticeably a influx of Gadwall on the Broad compared to Novembers counts. 
On the 5th there were 88 , 139 on the 12th & 102 on the 30th  . 
Little Grebes were seen every visit with 3 on the 12th  and at least 3x Water Rails were heard on every visit too .
Other things of note were 4x Lapwings on the 30th, 4x Common Snipe on the 12th and 2x Grey wagtails on each visit coming in to roost some where up river . 
Highlight of the month for me though was the male Bearded tit which had been seen around  the middle of the month (13th )and while resting up at home feeling sorry for myself on the 22nd ,after being very ill the previous day I was alerted that it was showing "very well" ! I tried to resist but after speaking to Justin on the phone  and then hearing James had seen it too I dragged me self down there. Arrived to see Justin who assured me it would be worth the efforts and true it was ! The bird spent around 5 minutes along the ditch in front of us giving superb views ! 
(photo curtesy of Justin  Lansdell) Male Bearded Tit - no.122 for the patch life list
This was my 122 species for the patch ,Thorpe Marsh/broad and one I wasn't expecting, so  you can imagine I went home very chuffed if not a little drained for me efforts ! 
Of note a Kingfisher dropped into the ditch where we stood and around 20+ Siskins were seen which was around 25 on the 30 th.
All in all a good month to be at the patch!
Happy birding and a happy new year to all


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

November-Patch highlights

  The month started out rather cold and the Broad was still full of Wildfowl and noticeably on the 1st my highest count of Pochards for some time with a count of 24. 
In fact Pochard numbers by the middle of the month were up to 67 (16th) and 62 by the end of month.  This high count of 67 was highest recorded count of the month of November and hopefully a sign of a good year for these I hope.
Staying with the ducks on the Broad , noticeable counts were :-
Gadwall-  24 on the 1st and up to 63 by the 28th. 
Tufted ducks- 92 on the 8th and up to 139 by the 24th.
Teal-6 on the 8th and 4 birds seen on the 24th & 28th . These ducks are always tricky to pick up as they enjoy resting/feeding along the broad edge and often go unseen so sure there's a lot more then I've recorded .
Shoveler count of 17 on the 1st was my only sighting of this species and was my highest November count . 

Now to a couple of highlights , starting with 2x Wigeon seen on the 6th and a single smart Drake seen on the 24th . Always one or 2 seen throughout the winter but always a joy to spot among the other ducks around . 

Drake Wigeon

Tufted and Pochard
Pair of Kingfishers were noted on the 1st and 8th of the month. 
Also a pair of Lapwing were seen on the 6th and s single Little Grebe on the 1st.
Now a good sign that the winter is now upon us is finding a Goosander and on the 24th late afternoon I found not 1 but 3 x Drakes on the broad . I was well chuffed as I had never self found these on the patch before (previous individual birds over years gone were picked up by local birders James & Justin) . It's always a bit more special when yeh "find yeh own" so these were nice to study. These birds cruised around the broad as if they owned it and seemed so much larger then I remembered once on the Broad water .



Other highlights of note:- 
With  the days drawing in earlier I'm able to stay to dusk and this has helped me centre on the numbers of birds roosting at the reserve . 
At least 10 x Grey wagtails were noted dropping in at the Rivers edge among reeds on the 8th .
10 x Meadow pipits were counted on the 16th and more heard as I left but couldn't be sure of how many .
Water Rail numbers again were between 2 and a high of 5 on the 8th which made for a nice noisy backdrop as dusk set in . 
A couple of Siskins were heard on couple of occasions from over on the Whitlingham side of river and a nice flock of 22x Gold finch were noted on the 22nd also. 
The pair of Stonechats which were seen throughout the first half of the month and then after not seen but after speaking to James Emerson he reminded me of how they went missing occasionally last year so hopefully I'll pick em back up through out December . 

Female Stonechat

Male Stonechat

The Cetti's warbler numbers heard on every visit as expected and 4 birds heard regularly .