short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Thursday, 27 January 2011

2011- Half way through January already! Here`s what i`ve been up to so far . . .

Well  after  New Years Day, i planned to meet up with Yorkie & Brian at Cantley Marshes to catch up with the Bean & White Fronted Geese( & possibly the Lesser White Fronted which i`d seen earlier in December).Before i had got into me van i started my year list off with a singing Blackbird in my garden, along with feeding Wood Pigeon & our new resident Greater Spotted Woodpecker out front in the tree. On way to Cantley i had picked up flocks of flying Fieldfare over A47 & Redwings in fields.
Cantley Marshes:   
   Parked up and on walking down to the Lads i disturbed a perched Merlin, nice bird to catch up with and my first for the Winter. Brian & Yorkie had got there earlier and scanned the Marshes , ,Lots of Bean Geese & few White Fronted Geese but not alot else. We soon headed in van to Buckenham Marshes. There we picked up a Hybrid goose(White Front x Grey Lag i think?) which was among some Grey Lagged Geese . The cracking Peregrine Falcon which is always on show in the Winter if you wait around for a while , was on a gate, giving nice view to then gathered crowd who were on search for the Lesser White Fronted. Before leaving we got Lapwings in fields & a Marsh Harrier over head.
 Strumpshaw Fen :
 Started off in car park .Scanning trees we picked up Blue & Great tits and then as crossing over Brian heard the Marsh Tit call, and soon enough we tracked it down in trees near the feeders. Quick look at feeders gave us the regulars and then on to the Reception Hide. Well in matter of seconds we had BITTERN !!! Fantastic views , similar to those i got a week earlier over the ice in front of the reeds at back.


Spent some time enjoying this super , ( but usually shy bird  ) and scanned the rest of the area .Teal , Mallard & Shoveler all seen and off we went towards the Fen Hide. On route we picked up on a  flock of Siskins which must have numbered around 35-40.They kindly dropped into some Alder trees & we started searching through in hope of there being some Redpolls which had been regularly seen with them in the previous month. None were seen although apparently heard, so we headed on to Hide. Nothing to exciting happened there other then me pouring  a hot Cuppa  from me flask and a Grey Heron dropping in , As we were getting ready to set off a Bittern flew across the reeds . Like a bus that never comes, you can wait for ages for one  to show without any sight of one, and then two within a matter of minutes of each other!
 We headed back to van as Yorkie & Brian had to be back, so i headed on to Ransworth Broad.
  Straight to the water and as i got the bins out it started to drizzle! I started to scan the broad and saw plenty on the ice : Black Headed Gulls, Shovelers, Poachard,Tufted Ducks amongst the common stuff.I got chatting to a fellow birder who was braving it in the rain. James was a helpful chap, in telling me about some Redpoll he had seen on start of pathway down to where we were, among some Siskins. we got chatting some more as we headed back to the spot. We didn't have to search for too long when we picked em up on the edge of the trees. We managed to tell them apart after some much debating. A few Mealy & couple of Lesser Redpolls were found among some Siskins. While there we also had 2x Treecreepers and a Nuthatch - always  a pleasure seeing this 2 Woodland birds. I love watching them make there way up (Nuthatch) or down (Treecreeper) the trees. It was a pleasure meeting  James , with his help in identifying the 2 different types of Redpolls & and I'm sure we`ll meet again while out birding !


  Before the sun set i headed to Upton Broad . I didn't have much to see apart from a lonely Pheasant and then as i was about to return a Stonechat appeared on a gate post1 Cracking little bird which ended up i being no. 49  for the year list . A great days birding & I'm already looking forward to my next day out in the field!

 Waxwings, Waxwings ,Waxwings !!!
 On coming back from work i checked in on the flock of Waxwings at the station. They were still working there way through the nasty, old rotten apples there & i was able to spend a few minutes watching em tuckin to there late lunch!

 After there i headed to Tesco`s  for some much needed ingredients for that nights dinner and i caught sight of a small flock of Starlings as i approached the car park. I was pretty chuffed to see this as i`d been wanting to see a local Starling roost on my own patch , even though it was a small flock it quickly got larger as another flock joined it & then another. I reckon there were around 250-300 within the 10 minutes i sat there watching from me van. They finally put on a nice dance for me as they swayed one way & then another as they descended to there roost which was a huge Fir Tree . Not something i was aware of  them roosting in, but it soon came clear to me how well covered it was from not only the bad English weather , but any possible predators. Plus when i stood underneath it i could see among all the kaos of them fighting for position, that it would be extremely warm up there . Nice spot i reckon! Anyway I'm off now to make dinner  :-)

 Bewick & Whooper Swans . . . 
  I nipped in to Catfield to see if i could spot the returning Swans of which i have seen the last two years grazing in the fields there. After a quick drive around the usual areas it was apparent that they had moved on to some where else then there usual spots.I drove some more around Catfield & into Sutton and finally i caught up with em! They were in a corner of a open field (along with two Chinese Water Deer) and made for cracking viewing !

I got some lovely views of them from the comfort of the van, making sure not to disturb them. I managed to pick out at least 6 Whooper`s & around 80+ Bewick Swans.The sun started to to set i watched as they all took off to roost.


Uea & Whitlingham CP :
 First visit to the Universaty this year & with the cold wheater we`d had  i hoped for a possible Gooseander or Smew (i know i was really optermistic but you never know with this horrid weather!), so heaeded straight to the Broad and scanned the water. Well there was alot of ice still and on it nothing of great interest .A single Herring & 40+ Black headed Gulls. Moor Hen, Coots, 2x Grey Herons, 2x Carrion Crows & 2x Cormorants. I turned my attention to the River Yare. I had flocks of Green, Gold & Chaff Finches in trees over head.Also 7x Long Tailed Tits ,6x Blue Tits & 3x Great Tits.In the woods opposite : 2x Jays & 4x Magpie, Greater Spotted & Green Woodpeckers & a with a Marsh Tit. As i slowly made my way through the flooded path which followed the bend in the river i scanned the bank . After a few seconds i caught up with a stunning male Kingfisher!
What a joy to see & such a great bird to stand & watch, as he was perched on a over hanging branch ,awaiting a small fish to pass by.Got close enough to take a picture too ,while watching him make his way along the River Yare. I followed him for a while & then decided to head back the way i came, once again checking the bank & bushes as i go .Well just when i thought me day couldn't`t get any better, i got a good butchers of a male Bull Finch! Not only one, but three!! 2x male & a female.


I was straight on em & watched there movements for the remaining minutes of light, which wasn`t that long (the picture has come out a little dark as a result but still a good memento of the afternoon! ).
  I checked in on Whitlingham after work for a quick scan.As i entered i noticed the huge flock of Greylag Geese in the Meadow . Probably around 150+ & among them the Hybrid Goose . After parking i clocked the flock of Long Tailed Tits which were making plenty of `chit chat` up above. I walked to the Water & scanned across. Plenty of Gadwell, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe x7,  & the usual suspects. I walked down a bit and checked again but didn't notice anything of  interest. Turned around towards the meadows and woods & saw o flock of Redwings on the ground, about 40+ , which soon flew off towards the fields at the back. As i walked back i saw Blackbird, Robin & Tit flocks but didn't pick up on the Siskins which i was told were there , Maybe next time ill pop over the other side but as for now i had to get back . As i did i got chatting to a local birded who pointed out two Snipe (possible Woodcock as it was getting dark and unable to personally  get the jizz of the bird) ), zig zagging over the water to only quickly fly back into the woods. A nice way to end i think.

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