short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Big garden birdwatch and the patch in the Sun!

   After me and George had finished our breakfast (weetabix, for those wondering) i topped the bird feeders up &  pulled the blinds  & began our hours bird watch for the RSPB.
 George excitedly pointed out a Blackbird and soon after a couple of Dunnocks arrived. Another female Blackbird soon appeared,as did a few Wood Pigeons and too a few Blue Tits. As the hour approached i was a little disappointed as a couple of Great Tits have been regularly visiting here but today were absent. But our local Robin did turn up and that was that.
 Now to the patch:
  It was a rather wet start this morning but as i got to the top of the Bridge the rain had already passed and the sun was shining.I scanned away to see that the wildfowl numbers were still large and decided to head there first. As i did i immediately heard the call of a Siskin .I looked up and there were 5 x Siskins sitting on the tree tops.A Greater Spotted Woodpecker flew over as i approached the Broad. I decided to do  a full count, which was as follows:
Gadwall x 137
Pochard x  27
Tufted x 43
Teal x 12.
 Also presumingly the same single Greylag and Canda Goose were on the water as last few visits.
On the shingle was 2 x Lapwings and a single Crow.
 I decided to next walk up Bunaglow Lane to try pick up some more year ticks. A huge tit flock flew into the bushes the other side of the Railway track but nothing exciting.Then a huge Finch flock gave me my first Chaffinch .Then i heard that piping call that always puts a smile 'on me old Boat' (as my cockney speaking dad would say) and i just simply stood still & waited for the magic to begin......  and there they were, 4x Bullfinches in all there glory. I watched as they made there way through the hedgerow and then out on top ,to lap up the sunshine & giving me around 10 minutes of super viewing -pukka!
3 of the 4 Bullfinches

male Bullfinch

  I picked up a few more Chaffinches and a Tit flocks as i made my way back to the van. A steak dinner awaited me at me in laws which topped off a super morning for me.
 Happy birding,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Another trip to the "all white" Patch..

 As I approached the little mooring area I checked the frozen dyke and saw among the edge was a Water Rail. I watched as it went about its business out in the open, and it wasn't long before I saw another , this time it ran along the frozen water in front of me - I had now seen as many Water Rails as I had seen all last year here- super !
  A rather nice Tit flock contained 9x Great Tits and a single Blue Tit , a case of looking in numbers.
The broad held much the same as yesterday but in addition a single wigeon resting on  the shingle spit along with some Teal ,was a good patch tick for here.
As i walked round towards the marshes i picked up 2x Reed Buntings (first for me in this particular month) & yet another Water Rail!This one was just asking to be pictured, so i did:

Water Rail

a very frozen Marsh scrape
As i left ,walking past the frozen marsh scrape i flushed up a single Redwing &
 2x Fieldfare-Luvly jubly!

 Happy birding

Monday, 21 January 2013

Patch in the snow .....

 Two trips to the patch , one on Monday last week ( before the snow!) and then yesterday .
Firstly last weeks visit which gave me first  views of year of Lesser redpoll , two seen but more heard as I walked round towards the broad opening.
On the broad it self;
Teal: x4
Gadwall:x 41
Tufted: x23
Interestingly coot count was up to x18 ( no doubt majority from Whitlingham )
A pair of Common Snipe sat on the shingle spit along with a few Crows,a Grey heron over head and few Cormorants dropped in to the broad.
A few Egyptian geese flew overhead as I picked up 3 x Lapwings on the marsh scrape. A large Tit flock along the railway line gave me , blue, great and Long Tailed tit for the year list .
 Now to yesterday's visit before the snow,which was quiet until I approached the broad . Immediately taken back by the vast amount of wildfowl , particularly the number of gadwall. Two counts were taken, 166 & 178 .Also
still a good number of Tufted and Teal and some Pochard.Part of broad was frozen over which a number of Coots were using to run across . As i made my way round towards the marshes i saw a Harrier flying low across, heading towards the railway line. I quickly got the bins on it and realised it was a Ringtail Hen Harrier! A super patch tick.I watched it disappear in amongst the trees the other side of the railway line & unfortunately to never see again.
 As i walked back towards the bridge with the snow just starting to fall, i  saw a pair of Green Finches up in the tree tops.
This weeks cold winter weather has brought some nice birds to the garden feeders and neighbours bushes. A few blue and gt tits , robin and 2 x blackbirds along with a few Redwings ,(cracking bird ) and a gt spotted woodpecker over the house were all very much welcomed as me and George watched from the comfort of our house.
 Saturday while walking George i had a Gt Sotted Woodpecker on the pub ariel (3rd time i seen it on there) ,a cracking flock of Fieldfare over which were probably the same flock that dropped into our neighbours front tree.  Also a Cormorant passed over head and then we had a smart little Pied Wagtail appear on the house top ,opposite our house as I approached home. I know this bird usually is seen at the the end of road near the local shops but its closest to the house I've had it.A good weeks  birding, me's thinks!
 Happy Birding

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Festive round up!

So it's that time of the year again. This time instead of visits to the patch and strumpshaw fen it was  trips to the inlaws and a magical wonderland walk  at Thursford including  a visit to the grotto to meet Santa and the elfs (little George loved it almost as much as mum and dad!)
But I have had two trips out , one to Buckenham and a mornings visit to strumpshaw and surlingham with Jim. 
  Last Sunday after a super meal round caterinas dads house we decided to nip up to buckenham to catch the Corvid roost something me and caterina have done around this time of year for the past 3 years. We arrived around 4 as it was getting dark in our nice warm car, George not lasting the distance from grandads and now fast asleep . We parked up watched as they poured in and gathered over the barn/ Large  shed  area but as quick as they started it all come to a holt. I knew that there were many more yet to arrive so decided to investigate . We drove east along the road and then to our left was an endless line of corvids making there way to roost  just as the light was disappearing - an awsome sight- one that we never get tired off. A few birders there said they estimated around 15,000-20,000 -it was a Superb 30 minutes of birding and worth another visit next month for sure!
 Now to this Sunday's trip out. I met Jim at buckenham hide for quick scan before shooting off to strumpshaw fen. He had already picked up a rather smart Water pipit , fairly close to the hide it's self . Also the expected wildfowl were present all looking superb in the mornings sunlight.
 We soon arrived at Strumpshaw where Jim and i was hoping to see the Otters. As soon as we arrived at the reception hide there it was,a gorgeous Otter making its way across the water with a huge Eel in it's mouth. What a mammal !
We managed to pick up a few marsh harriers but nothing else of note although as we left we did pop our heads back into the reception hide to be greeted with yet another stunning view of the Otter ,this  time though even closer views. 
We decided to end the morning off with a trip to Surlingham via a stop of at a field Jim had been keeping an eye on lately. It was worth the look as hundreds of Redwings and plenty if Fieldfare were feeding along with some gold finches, song thrushes and blackbirds- along with a few Teal too. 
At surlingham we picked up a nice Little Grebe along river and then with the sound of gun fire from the gun club a rather smart Marsh harrier was hunting over the reed bed. Also of note  6 x Common snipe took to the air which made for a nice sight,then as we made way back to car, we caught up with a large Tit flock. Mainly long tailed tits and blue tits with some great tits. Nothing else of note untill we were about to leave and I spotted a Common Buzzard over head.  
Here's to 2013!
Happy birding,