short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Red Footed Falcon ,Felbrigg Hall & trip to Sculthorpe moor -

 Ill start off with an up date of this weeks sightings.Well after the excitement of the Roller (which I'm still buzzin from!) i was off again for yet another first for myself. I was struggling to work as the rain was coming down, so i thought id take this opportunity to either do some book work or head out to Horsey for the Red-Footed Falcon which was hanging around? Well the book work was never gonna win that one! 
I got there pretty quick and parked up near the pub & headed down the footpath picking up a few Reed Buntings and a Whitethroat. I noticed another couple with scopes up. They didn't have it but said they had been told it was around so i carried onwards. I set up my scope as i got halfway down & checked all the fence posts and Bingo.....Red-Footed Falcon! It was sitting out on its own (well not quite as it had a family of Magpies beside it for company) on a post. I was shortly joined by the couple from earlier down the path and we all enjoyed watching it as it flew into the air grabbing the insects and returning to the post to eat it..  A nice looking 1st summer male.Also of note was a nice Cuckoo perched on a fence post which ran along the bottom of the dunes .I headed back home but there was more birding to follow......
Red Footed Falcon (234)
  Me & Cat decided to check out Felbrigg Hall in the week. The hall itself was very nice and the food there was cracking (beef stew, yummy!) but enough of that, the action was down at the lake! I got some great views of 9x Sand Martins  which was really nice as we were able to sit & watch em go back and forth too there nest holes in the sand bank. We also got to see a nice male & female Mandarin ducks. Other then that the usual stuff was seen.After we nipped up to Cromer for some chips ( well u have to don't yeh)  and parked up in the car park just before Runton and other then the usual Gulls we had a nice close Fulmar pass us by- Lovely bird. All in all a nice day out. that brings us up to the weekend where i  decided to check out a new reserve and one that caught my eye was Sculthorpe moor. I've passed it many a time while heading to the coast and often wondered what treats were to be had there-so off I went . At the entrance I got talking to the warden who said 4 Tawny Owlets were around in amongst the Alder & Ash trees, along with a Spotted Flycatcher . Both were super birds to see but what really caught my eye was that 2 Bullfinch families were regularly seen from the fen hide . Now although not as difficult or maybe as rarer to see as the Tawny Young I have to say they are my number one British bird to see,so i headed off along the broad walk path over the dried out stream and up to the Woodland Hide. Inside a few other birders who immediately pointed out the common Finch families on the ground and on feeders. Then it got more interesting as a couple of Willow Tits came on. Although not for long ,it was long enough to pick out all the important features that said it was the Willow , not the Marsh. Also a few moments later the Willow Tit call which us always appreciated when struggling to identify .A few more Finch families and then a Marsh Tit was heard calling, and then seen.Outside and over the bridge i heard a movement in the bushes . I struggled to get on anything for a while & then I saw a sulking pheasant , but more colourful then the one I'm used to . It was a Golden Pheasant, first I've ever seen as I've not got time to get to Wolverton triangle yet. Now I believe this birds roots to be of escapee but has been here for around 4 years and had a female with it last year . Anyway it nice to actually see one and I'm sure I will head to Wolverton soon. As I passed through the woods I checked for Spotted fly but no joy but got a pair of Blackcaps and few more Marsh Tits. Then I started to scan around high up among the Ash & Alder trees. I found my self trying so hard to see the Owlets that I begun to make a large branch or a trunk into one ! After about 20 long minutes I got one! A cracking sleeping Tawny Owlet. And not long after a second and then third! I was buzzin at this point & as one of em started to wake up it seem to look down at me, at this point some people had approached me asking what I was looking at? Well I told them to look through the scope and see for themselves- then there was alot if "arrrrr there so cute ..." followed by lots of " thanks " !  They were so cute and also very well hidden.Got a few pictures and some footage to remember these little beauties.

Tawny Owlet no.1

Tawny Owlet no. 2

 I left them behind in search of the Bullfinch families . I got passed the dyke which was heaving with life. A few Azure Damselflies and a couple of Hawkers which I couldn't identify but great to watch.

 I got to the Fen hide and straight way in front of me was a female Bullfinch ! Super bird but could be beaten for me only by the male . And I didn't have to wait long as it flew to the edge of the bush in view. I got straight on it with me bins to really appreciate it's bold colours . This was a stunning male in its fresh summer plumage. As I got me camera out to digi scope it a Juvenile landed on the feeding table. Now I had the full set- bingo! I forgot to even check out the female Marsh Harrier which was perched on a post not too far away.I got me pictures and then watched as a male Marsh Harrier came in & passed over some food to the female in the air . The female then dropped in to the nest which was all caught on the live cam in the hide. Really was a great hide to be.

Bullfinch (female)

Bullfinch (juvenile)

Bullfinch (male)

After about 35 minutes of watching the Bullfinches feeding I headed up to the river Wensum. I picked up Kingfisher and a Hobby overhead which was nice & then a Cuckoo finally gave itself up and flew over. I started my walk back and had to stop in finally one more time to see the fluffy little Tawny Owlets. Proper chilled out they were.
 This place I recommend to anyone who as a few hours as it's not too big to get around , doesn't get busy and most importantly ... Has some cracking birds !
(also could someone try identify this Hawker ?)

1 comment:

  1. Sculthorpe is a lovely reserve, and worth a visit for the Bullfinches alone. Your dragonfly is a Four-spotted Chaser.