short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Just the one patch visit-im slacking!

With becoming a Dad my time is being taking up (im not complaining though as its the best time ever)so im finding less time to get out to the patch.So with only the one patch visit from last weekend to report (i know its a bit slack) but it was a rather rewarding one in the sunshine.I decided to do a count on how many territories were being held by potentially breeding birds here (i.e-Cettis, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Sedge and Reed Warbler,etc). I had a good idea roughly where they were from the last 5 visits so i slowly made my way round.
 Cettis- 3+.
 Common Whitethroat-5/6.
 Reed Warbler- 3.
 Sedge Warbler- 5+.
 Reed Bunting- 4/5+.
 Willow Warbler-1/2?.
 On the Water there is at least 1 pair of Tufted Ducks, a pair of Gadwall ,a pair of Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Mute Swans .
While walking round i had 2x Common Sandpipers on the spit and a single Common Tern along the River Yare. A new patch tick with a pair of Garden Warblers in full song too-Lovely Jubly!
Common Sandpiper

A pretty naff record shot of a Garden Warbler
A few fledglings were seen too -my favourites being the Moorhen and Reed Bunting chicks of which i got a few pictures of:
Moorhen chick

Reed Bunting
 So plenty happening , just need to find some spare time to get back there......
 Happy birding,

Monday, 14 May 2012

weekly catch up

 Bank holiday morning was spent at the patch with main targets being returning Reed Warbler and any passing migrants over. Me and Matt were joined by Simon on route to the broad.It was quickly evident that there had been a large fall of migrants in over the weekend and the broad was full of Hirundines and Swifts-too many to number ! As we scanned the spit Simon noticed the Swallows were alarm calling and up above i picked up a passing Hobby over. There was 3x Common Sandpipers were on the spit, and a good number of Blackcaps & Whitethroats along the path as we made it round to the Marshes. A pair of Shovelers was a nice sight and a Yellow Wagtail over (thanks to Simon's Sharpe ears).I picked up a nice showy Reed Warbler in the reed edge  which was my patch tick for the year as was the yellow wag.We finished off with 4x Cettis Warblers, 1x Kestrel, 1x Sparrowhawk and a total of 4 x Reed Warblers.
My work sightings have been interesting over the last week too.Ive had a pair of Grey Wagtails tirelessly feeding there newly fledged young along the river Wensum in Norwich.I witnessed them feeding two and then watched as a 3rd dropped out from under the sluice where nest was and into the water .I waited for what seemed ages but it never appeared. But the two that had made it to bank edge were being well fed by the parents.

Grey Wagtail feeding young
 While working in Old Catton on Friday i had a Hobby over , this was actually my first ever Hobby away from water so a very nice experience. Alot of nest building and young feeding as been going on as you would expect this time of the year in all the gardens i come across and with that alot of drama. I witnessed young Coal Tits caught by Cats to a pair of newly fledged starlings being caught in the gusty
 winds on Friday to which ended in one being fatally blown into a wall and the other into a car,luckily it survived and was tended to by its frantic parents .
 At home the Gold Finches have been making more visits to the feeders so hunger mouths must be calling! A Greater Spotted Woodpecker passed over a couple times and the Great/ Blue Tits have been emptying the feeders! My regular pair of Collar Doves too have been looking a little ragged which is not surprising with this weather and young to tend too. The Swifts had gone from 2 to 10+ by Wednesday and over the weekend were numbering 30+ so fingers crossed that finally this year they will choose my roof to nest.While taking George out one morning i was treated to a male & female Bullfinch, my favourite british bird.They were going backwards and forwards from a bush on the other side of a green, so it looks like me & George will be walking this way more often!
 The weekend i was busy with the family taking advantage of the beautiful weather but i did spend an hours birding Saturday evening at Strumpshaw Fen.As i made my way up to the Tower hide i had 3x Chinese Water Deers and 2x Kingfishers perched-what a bird!


 At the Hide i watched the Marsh Harriers return with food and a couple of Cuckoos calling (one flying across and landing).I  was also treated to a beautiful sunset as the noisy Black Headed Gulls started to roost up.A cracking evening which was topped off with some nice views of a family of Foxes including some rather cute cubs- super stuff!

Sunset over Strumpshaw

 Happy Birding,

Friday, 4 May 2012


 After work today i shot down to Whitlingham after hearing a Nigthingale had been seen/heard there.
On route i picked up a family of rather cute Long Tailed Tits and a single Bullfinch along the walk to the observation area and then had a couple of Common Whitethroats as i passed the path towards the bird screen. I stood and listened out for that explosive song..... nothing.I continued a bit further and after a bit i heard a quick burst of song.I was in the right area now.I would hear it sing on and off for around 30 minutes before i got a brief flight view.I carried on scanning as it sung and amazingly picked it up out in the open! This was my first good view of this bird as the one before was a rather sulky affair! Super bird and thanks to the person who found it and who put the word out of its where abouts(and cheers James for passing on your detailed directions)A very satisfying picture of a smart Nightingale below:
Nightingale- Lovely Jubly!

As i walked back i saw a couple of Common Terns over the great Broad and a mass amount of Hirundines .In fact quite a few Swallows (tired ones no doubt) were resting up on the boats on the water. As i watched a boat  2x Common Sandpipers landed on it among the Swallows-super!
Swallows and Common Sandpiper

 A good bit of local birding and one very happy essex boy!

The Patch & Surlingham evening visit......

The weather was so good on Thursday after such a run of awfull weather so i decided today would be a rewarding day for some birdwatching! So i started off at the patch and i had only stepped out of the van a few seconds when i looked up to see a Peregrine going over thunder lane towards the city.At the water I had 2 x Common Sandpipers on the Broad spit and a couple of Great Crested Grebes . 5x Common Whitethroats,1x Grasshopper reeling and 5x Cettis Warblers were picked up along the way round. Migration was really happening here with large amount of Blackcaps and Sedge Warblers too. I got back home to bath the little one and nipped back out to Surlingham Marshes for around 7 pm. I had only walked down a few yards along the river to hear a Cuckoo! I quickly got on it as it called from near by tree top.

I continued on and heard plenty of Blackcaps and a couple of Cettis as i arrived at the Lagoon.A few  Gadwall and  Teal were present with a lonely lapwing.Over head was a soaring Common Buzzard. i then scanned out again to see the Cuckoo which now come closer and then saw a Hen Harrier (ringtail) go over towards Rockland. As i got round to the start i decided to go round again as it was such a gorgeous evening.As the sun set a Grasshopper Warbler begun to reel .Perfect end to a great bit of birding!

Surlingham sunset

 Happy birding,

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

weekly round up!

A catch up with my sightings over this last week.A wet day last week on the 25th i decided to have my lunch with a coffee at whitlingham car park.I pulled up in front of the main ramp and was drawn immediately to a large amount of Swallows in the tops of the trees.Around 50+ were all resting in the pouring rain.An unusaul sight to see indeed!
Swallows gathering in the tree tops

As i looked out over the section of the broad i saw nothing but some Black Headed gulls and then a wader dropped in right in view of the van & me-it was a Common Sandpiper. I watched as it just made its way along the shingle .
Common Sandpiper
 Also of note were  3x House Martins Later on that day i also nipped down to the patch and had the Grasshopper Warbler reeling which again was sulking low down ,not viewable.
  Thursday 26th I had my first swifts - over the broad , i had been expecting these any day now with the swallows and martins all ready been here & especially after James had seen one over whitlingham . There were at least 30 but as i left many more seemed to be appearing . I had heard the Grasshopper  Warbler reeling but decided to leave this till later so i walked up and scanned the spit and broad . Immediately i spotted a nice common sandpiper along with a single LRP.
As I made my way round the south side of the broad i had 3x blackcaps all singing . As i stood listening and watching i heard a Common Whitethroat . No views as the rain was becoming to lash it down but i did however enjoy views of a stunning rainbow over the marsh.

As i begun to think about heading back it stopped raining so i continued on. A single snipe was seen feeding at the spit edge among the vegetation and the Mute Swan was still sitting tight on her nest. I checked the marsh to the west- nothing but a Grey heron so on to the cattle pen and the cows!
These cows have been a blessing as they have stopped most dog walkers ( no I don't dislike or have issues with dogs but only those who seem to persist on allowing them to run every where including on to the marsh and scrape where the delightful LRP s are) . I scanned away at the marsh and flooded over scrape to find only a pair of teals and a pair of gadwall. Interestingly 10x Greylag were among the vegetation and the ever regular pair of Canada geese had the heads high.As i scanned the marsh I heard a calling Kingfisher, I hadn't had one this year yet believe it or not. ( although everyone seems to see one) . I approached the footpath and to my surprise it was perched on a branch over hanging a dyke! I watched as it called away, and then it took off only to return again. Super views !
As I walked back I heard the Grasshopper Warbler reeling again as i did at the start of the walk but this time it seemed alot closer . As I stood listening I see it fly across to a reed. I watched as it reeled away and then flew across the path. At this point I meet Paul , a very nice bloke indeed and we both watched and listened( and a bit of good wildlife chat too) as it made its way through the reeds.

Common Sandpiper

On sunday i walked into the city with George and as i walked out of the front door i looked up to see my first returning Swift to the street! Such a great bird and looked rather lonely in the rain.A
local Sparrowhawk then dived into the feral pigeon flock on the old hospital ( over a 100 now if not more!). My walk was finished off with our ever singing Song Thrush from the local park.
Now back to the patch .On the 30th i had the following, starting on the broad:
1x Common sandpiper ,2x Oystercatcher ,A Juvenile Grey heron,2x Great created grebes
A nice Pochard then flew over which drew my attention to the sky.3 x Swallows were counted and then a noise came from Whitlingham broad .It was a pair of Terns.I watched & studied them and it was soon evident they were Artic Terns-my first for the patch.I watched as they spent a few moments over the broad and then back over to Whitlgham. Along the path i had 2x Common Whitethroats and a single Blackcap.One of the Whitethroats was very showy and made for a good picture. As i continued round i had a passing Marsh Harrier and a soaring Common Buzzard.

Common Whitethroat

At the flooded Marshes i had the usual pair of Canada Geese and 6 Greylag Geese.One pair had 3 young with them and i watched as they paddled through the water-proper cute!(im a sucker for little goslings) A mute Swan was on the dyke and i saw a Water Vole swim across the same dyke too.Reed Bunting calling and Willow & Sedge Warblers singing it was feeling like summer.I finished off with a Kestrel over the railway line.

Happy Birding,