short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Thursday, 28 April 2016

April at the patch .. Part 2-

 So plenty more visits to the patch from the middle of April with migrants starting to return.
First visit on 13 th:- I picked up a showy Sedge warbler singing in the sunshine in the bottom of a Buddlia over hanging the dyke , followed by a even showier Blackcap as I passed the small mooring area. I then picked up Sedge warbler no.2 as I made my way the shingle broad viewing area .

singing Sedge Warbler
 Here I joined Chris durdin who was on a wander round too so it made sense to join up ( 2 pairs of eyes are better then 2!) and we were quickly rewarded by a single LRP along with a Green sandpiper ( I saw yesterday ) in the same view as I scoped them . I was buzzin as my target bird of the day was LRP as it was yesterday ! It was nice to give Chris a better view with him not having a scope. We picked up a pair of Teal and 4x Gadwall on the water and on the shingle spit was 3x lapwings and 3x Stock doves which quickly became 6 as 3 dropped in. Also a nice soaring common buzzards over head  and then that high pitched  call of a Kingfisher which I quickly picked up a flying across the broad beach and over the River-this afternoon was looking great!

Then after stopping off to listen and view a singing Blackcap we arrived at the hide and I decided to scan away back at the LRP and to my surprise there was 3x Green sandpipers ! Ok you may say "calm down Ricky boy it's just a few waders " but this is what patching is all about. Waiting for something to turn up or not turn up on its migration route or destination . I've never recorded more then a single Green sandpiper before & never a sandpiper this early in the spring so yes this was worthy of a "get in there" !

Little Ringed Plover
It would get even  better later but before then we  picked up a single Oystercatcher before Chris found he's/ our first Lady's smock of the year and then a marsh marigold too. 
  Then after bumping into mike Borrows we scanned back at the shingle to find 3x LRPs in the sky! A loose dog had somehow made its way onto the shingle beach to flush them up and  its owners ( later found out the wire fence had been partially pulled away , not good) . I was now very happy , unhappy at the irresponsible dog walkers but happy with knowing 3 X LRPs had made the journey back here. They probably won't breed here with things like this happening but always hopeful . We finished off our circuit with a view of the mute swan on its nest and 3rd/4th Sedge warbler singing along the railway line .Also of note was 4x Cettis heard singing and a couple of Willow warblers.  It was a super visit & great to have the company of Chris too
  My next visit on the 15 th April was after a wet miserable day but I decided to brave it. As the drizzle continued i picked up a smart Female marsh harrier over followed by a common buzzard  followed by a Green woodpecker on tree top and then to the broad... Hirundines everywhere! A Couple of hundred at least- House Martins, Sand Martin and swallows ,alot on the deck resting up  after there long draining journey .
Also of note was a single Green sandpiper 2x male shovelers (good bird for april here)  2x teal and a superb sighting of a Water rail in flight! ( my first record for month of April)
 It was a great visit and shows you what rewards there are to be had even on a wet, damp miserable day at your patch!
 After dinner at the inlaws on the 17th April I headed down to patch for a quick visit where highlights were:
2x green sandpipers & 1x common sandpiper( My first of the year!)
Also 3x Oystercatchers- a proper Wader fest!

  My first Common Whitethroat of the year was found on my next visit on the 19th, in fact 2 were seen .
 Also some showy Blackcaps and noticeably there were plenty more Sedge warblers ,newly arrived.  But my bird of the day was the Grasshopper warbler I got in among the bush  of the marsh flood.  That sound is just a nice reminder of spring is here and I wait for the sound of the cuckoo to join it hopefully! Also the now regular  Chinese Water Deer ,picture below


  An evening visit between 7.15-9.30pm on the 20th April was with the aim of a possible Nightingale (as I found last year) and to hear the Grasshopper Warblers which really love to Reel away later in the day.
 As I walked down towards the hide I picked up 6x swallows over the marsh and broad,2x Cettis,2x willow warblers and 2 singing  Song thrushes. I soon picked up the usual suspects on the broad and 2x common sandpipers (up 1 from previous  visits ) along with some tufted ducks.  Now as walked round I was joined by local birder Mike as well as Chippy & we begun to share our recent sightings ( always great to exchange info on what you have had & to see what you have missed !)  anyway it wasn't long before we were listening to the reel of a Grasshopper warbler, in fact right in front of us & as the sun went & moon light shone we walked round to pick up not 2 but 3 reeling if not more !  A real treat and something I hope stays for a while.  Chippy heard Tawnys calling along with a Fox and as we walked back 5+ Common Snipe were flushed up . It was cold now so into the van with note pad and pen with some heat .

sunset over Thorpe Marsh

Happy birding ,

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

April at the Patch.... Part 1-

so a couple of visits in beginning of the month starting with  4th April when the following birds of note:-
1x House Martin ,
4x common buzzards (1pair displaying low over the broad)
1x kestrel
1x reed bunting 
On the broad 
2x Canada geese
2x grey lag geese
4x Gadwall 
4x Teal among the many Tufted ducks .
A nice total of 11x Stock doves bathing in the sun (my highest April count I think ) love this smart bird
4x Cettis , 1x Sedge warbler in sub song ( near the small mooring ) chippy had it a day earlier 
& plenty of singing Chiffchaffs!
  Now Onto the 5th April ,a Sunny afternoon-   Walking down bungalow lane I picked up Willow warbler singing at crossing.Then Swallows overhead and 12+ Sand martins heading south west
Willow Warbler- classic sign of migration
At the hide I scanned the broad.
Today only 4x Stock Doves and a couple of Lapwings. Plenty of gulls too!
Overhead a Sparrowhawk soared and then that familer call .... A kingfisher! I love this bird and was waiting for this moment for many ah visit ( no sighting last year for me!) I picked it up along the river perched.  I simply soaked it up  and just watched ..... After a while u simply took out the I phone and digi -scoped before it decided disappear into the bank before emerging and flying down towards Whitlingham.   Superb!
Stunning Kingfisher at rest
 Then onto the 12th April late afternoon after a day of rain.The sun broke out and a common buzzards over bungalow lame and a 2x willow warbler . Then east of bungalow lane I picked up cracking male Marsh Harrier , this was only my second patch record of a male( often seeing female ) also in the sky was a  sparrowhawk.
common buzzard

Then I added Gt Spotted WoodPecker to the day list ,at the kissing gate (where it used to be !)and then 3x blackcaps as the weather become dull overhead. 
Then From the hide -
 I picked up what I thought was a common sandpiper ?, from this distant it was hard to make out the colour in the overcast conditions but it seemed to be bobbing a lot . I decided to walk closer and view again. This time the bird was more viewable and it was quickly evident this was in fact a Green sandpiper ! My first new patch tick!

Green Sandpiper (no.110 patch tick)
It was making its way along the shingle bank and I watched as it went out of sight. Great stuff!
Couple of  common buzzards over head as I scanned the spit.
6x Egyptian geese and 2x stock dove and 2x gadwall 
Then as I walked around towards the cattle pen a sedge warbler started to sing and on the river yare my first brood of mallard ducklings,a total of 9.
female Mallard with x9 Ducklings
 Then  to cattle pen I saw loads of swallows passing through and a pair of gadwall to add to the pair on broad earlier. 4x Cettis and another blackcap (4 in total) ended off a nice start to the month! Spring migration was in full swing so more arrivals or birds stopping off on route to come me hopes!
Happy birding,

Saturday, 16 April 2016

My first 2016 Lifer!

8th April 
 So off to Strumpshaw fen in hope of a Penduline tit !
as I made my way towards the tower hide I passed Ben Lewis & we had a chat , of course the Penduline tit was discussed ! He told me roughly where to look and I was off.  Surprisingly there only 2 other birders I saw over the next 2 1/2 -3 hours .( not moaning as its a pleasure to hear the birds rather then people) I walked slowly across the sluice and checked the water. Plenty of ducks as expected and then on a small tree branch a Kingfisher! (2 in a week!)

Kingfisher taking off in flight !

 I carried on listening for the Penduline tit . Chiiffchaff, willow warbler and  plenty of noisey Cettis! I spent around an hour around that area and decided to check out the tower for a change of view. Inside I watched the Marsh harriers as they tussled and dived in the now sunshine . Swallows were passing over and a Little Egret dropped in .

FemaleMarsh Harrier

Marsh Harriers mating I think ?
 I decided to get back to the job in hand , it was now nearing 4 and I had planned to leave around 5.30 so decided to walk further up the path and along Lackford run. A good decision as I saw 3x Bearded tits ( first of the year for me) , a elusive Sedge warbler and then heard the Penduline tit calling! The first time I've heard it but hearing is good, seeing would be superb so waited patiently , and it seem to be heading towards the tower hide so I walked back as I turned into the river bank it appeared in top of a willow . No time for fluffing around digi-scoping for a record shot,I had to just stick with the bins and soak it up -It was a stunner!
this was the spot where I had the Penduline Tit (no.269)
Although active I watched it for around 10 minutes (4.24-4.35pm to be exact) and every time bringing a huge smile to me " boat". Strange thing was I was on my own , hey I'm not moaning but sometimes when a bird that's hard to sometines get on is in your view you kinda wanna help someone else onto it but as I say no one around so I left off and made my way back to the visitors hide. On route I picked up a couple of Treecreepers which was nice
Once at the visitors hide I was able to share where I had had my view of the Tit to a trio of birders ( 2 from Netherlands) . Hopefully they too connected with this superb bird as I did! First lifer of the year for me, Penduline Tit no.269) and hoping to add another this spring 
Happy birding