short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Sunday, 27 February 2011

From Strumpshaw to Stubbs........

 Well after a lovely breakfast of 2x Eggs on toast, i was ready to pick up  Yorkie and head to  Strumpshaw Fen. On the way i to spotted around 50+ GreyLag Geese just coming in to the River Yare as i turned off the A47 to Brundell & then as coming up to the Reserve the usual  Pheasents made a spit second decision to run out in front of my van, causing me to take to the bank (and in doing so ,some more dirt to the passagers side door!),   Just the usual journey in then!
When we arrived we decided to check the car park & then the feeders while we waited for the lads to arrive. Nothing in the car park so off to the feeders. Started a quick list of: Chaff finch x15, Gold Finch x6, Coal Tit x1 & Marsh Tits x3. We decided to head along the path towards the Meadow  and were rewarded with 3x Bull Finches! Also love a nice view of a male Bull Finch. These are no doubt the same small group i`ve seen all winter here and they finally gave up hiding and came to the fore for a while just as the lads arrived. A quick look in the bins and we all decided to head for the Tower Hide. As we walked along the path way we looked across at the woods and i saw a Buzzard soaring . We agreed it was just a Common but wasn't able to get much on it as it headed towards Buckenham so we continued on . A male Bull Finch was the only notable bird picked up along the bushes just before the Tower Hide. Tower Hide was pretty quiet. Grey Lag & Canadian Geese, Teal,Tufted ,Little & Great Crested Grebe & 2x Marsh Harriers over the Reed beds.
We headed back to the Reception Hide and checked out the Woods as we went. Me & Brian were pretty sure we had a Willow Tit but once it was flying we were unable to pick it up again (that's a maybe then). At the feeders again we picked up: Siskin x1, 4x Gold Finches, Marsh Tit x1 & Brambling x3! Was waiting for these to turn up on the feeders. 2x Males and a female. Got a picture too.

We got to the car park and started to take off the muddy boots and i shouted Siskins! Yorkie still had his scope out and got on em as they settled in the Alders opposite. He managed to pick out a Lesser Redpoll among the 40+ flock and let take a peek .I think he might off saw another too but the light wasn't the best  and we decided to nip up to Buckenham to see what was about. The weather wasn't great , pretty dull but dry .We scanned along both sides of the pathway and saw nothing more then a few Grey Lag Geese then i saw a Marsh Harrier & something smaller underneath going across the train track. Yorkie said it was the Peregrine .As we waited for it to reappear a Marsh Harrier went over head & then Yorkie picked it up on the ground with some prey underneath its feet- ` Good spot Fella` i shouted and with that off we headed to Cantley to see what Geese were about.
 At Cantley we were a little disappointed as not much Geese were seen .Around 50+ Bean Geese & a few scattered Mute Swans and accept from the regular Green Woodpecker which flew behind us to the trees ,not much else to report.
 We headed to Yarmouth , on doing so we picked up a huge flock of Pink Feet in the fields to our left along the Acle straight.We pulled over and started to scan in hope of a white Goose one among em. No luck but a nice view of alot of Geese, i would guess there were easily 1,000+ . Steve spotted a Little Egret  but  other then that ,that was it. Back in the van and off to Yarmouth! ( for the Med Gull  that is,not to build sand castles or to play on  the amusements). We parked up and the Med Gull was standing in front of us on the beach.  Not always that easy ay!

After a few moments on it we turned our attention to the sea as the weather was improving slightly and visibility was better now then earlier. We picked up : Cormorants x5 , Red Throated Diver x3, & plenty of Gulls.
 On way to Hickling we stopped at Filby Broad to catch up with the Smew. Was a long way off but Yorkie and Brian managed to pick it up and let me take a a butchers through the scope. A few Goldeneye , Tufted,  Pochards  too but not much else. Back on the road ,heading towards Stubbs Mill i picked up a Barn Owl and a  Marsh Harrier in the same field on my left , stopping the van dead and jumping out to view it -Brian had luckily been  lagging behind a bit so he was able to avoid hitting me up the arse! (must stop doing that). After quick views we arrived at Stubbs. The walk up was cold and we spoke of what we were hoping to get when got there- a Crane or two would be nice.Well we didn't have to wait  long as 2 Cranes passed across us. In the panic i somehow managed to miss em. Thinking i had missed me chance i decided to pour a coffee to cheer me up. As i drunk a Male Hen Harrier passed by  close! My first Male Hen Harrier - What a Super bird!! I had gone from being naffed off to a  happy lad in the matter of seconds! It was going at a pace as the wind was behind him but a cracking view as the light was still good and helped show its stunning white & grey colours. As the light faded about 15x Marsh Harriers came in to Roost and also 2x Female Hen Harriers. As i was hoping,  i got a second chance with the Cranes as 2 more came in from thewest this time. I made sure i got em this time!  We headed back to the car park and as we said goodbye i looked up and saw a Woodcock overhead - what a nice way to end the day !

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