short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Monday, 24 April 2017

April at NWT Thorpe Marsh/Broad is all a changing !



 So ive been hitting the patch hard again this month as I did in March and have been rewarded!
A quick round up of the Returning birds and those already getting on with preparing to breed at the patch  follows.
  I had some of earliest returning migrants which started end of last month on March 29th, with 2 x Sand Martins over , (a week earlier then my 7 years of previous records.) and by the 11th April I had picked up both  House Martins and Swallows . Speaking of early returning birds I had a single Sedge warbler on the 31st March (very early) which moved on 2 days later  but was yet another sign that things are happening a lot earlier this year. I added Blackcap and Willow Warbler into the notepad on 6th April too with Blackcap being my earliest record here. By the middle of April there were at least 12-13 Sedge Warblers filling the air with there busy songsinging away and showing off to those who wandered by.

Sedge Warblers have returned and fill the air with there busy song

  My earliest Common Whitethroat  on the 8th April was very early again (james informs me he's earliest being the 14th April so nearly a week earlier) I listened and watched as it called and then flew over to Whitlingham CP. I found my self thinking when my Reed and Grasshopper warbler would appear next! Well you probably wont be surprised to read I found my earliest ever  Grasshopper Warbler on the 14th April and enjoyed brief views as it reeled away on and off on the Marsh......magic!
 Linnets were all about with 3 males singing in there territory's and too the vocal Cettis Warblers which were totaling 5-6 birds .Reed Buntings seem to be calling at every corner I turned and will try to get as good as count as I can later in the month.

  Now to the Water! There's been a nice flock of around 70-80 x Tufted Ducks which slowly went down  in numbers to then rise back up to 78 on the 8th April , then dropping the very next day to 8. Obviously Thorpe Broad gets a lot of influx of birds over from Whitligham Broad , perhaps due to a event or boats being on the Great broad I'm not sure. Well the 3 pairs of Shovelers  soon were 2 pairs and then a single pair before disappearing altogether by the middle of April sadly. A bird I was hoping to see hang but ill keep an eye out with hope. A pair of Teal were seen each visit as too was 3x pairs of Gadwall up till middle of April.

  A exciting patch life tick appeared on the Broad on the 11th April ,a Drake  Common Scoter was picked up by local birder Justin Lansdell, who quickly  informed us and before long I was watching the bird in the sunshine as it chilled out in the middle of the Broad . Very nice Patch life tick for me ,no.117 ! I made my way round and noticed on the Flood my first brood of the year ....yes you guessed it...Mallard young! In fact 10 little ones were enjoying the flood and as I watched I checked out the vegetation edge and was pleasantly surprised to see a Jack Snipe bobbing away! Surprised as my only other patch records have been earlier in the year both flying views so this was a proper Brucie bonus! Digi scoped record shot pictures below-

Jack Snipe

Drake Common Scoter

 On the Broads edge ,the ever present  Stock Doves were seen every visit and from as low as 3 up to as many as 9 . Also regularly seen were the Lapwings which were dropping off as the middle of the month approached to just a couple of birds dropping in and leaving off south east . Probably the noisiest and most striking of birds are the Oystercatchers .One visit I saw a pair drop in and then to be immediately harassed by another pair...The noise was mega. These birds like to have the Broad to there self and it wasn't long before one pair backed down and  took off & it was back to normal !A smart Green Sandpiper was around for a few days on the 13th April a day later then I had one last year. Also I had another Patch life tick in Redshank ,no116.  A few have been reported here before from local birder James and Justin had seen one on the 24th March this year so I was pleased to finally connect with species.

  On to what's nesting now. A few nests have been spotted ,a  Moorhen nest in a new area for my self, 2x Coot nests and a  Mute Swan nest. Finally it looks like the Great Crested Grebes will actually get to try rear some young this year ! Previously nest building has started but never ended as much more and although I've seen young on the River before I'm certain these are from Whitlingham and not here at Thorpe.  A nice Wren nest was found in the root of a fallen Tree and finally a Crows nest again was evident and possibly a second -Of course over the river there's Jackdaws and Rooks nest but nice to see again the Patch this side holding some Corvids (although some of the birds of the Water wont agree with that !) .

Great Crested Grebe

Coot on Nest


 Also of note Kingfishers were seen on most visits. As in previous years March and April are always good months to get views of these smashing little birds as they make there way across the water and along river banks or dropping into dykes.These beautiful birds can make any visit here special with a glimpse of there electric blue plumage as they whiz along the water.
 Greater Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were noticeably more vocal and good views of both speices were seen on many visits. Always heard but not always seen, this Male Greater Spotted Woodpecker appeared at the bridge and gave me a chance to digi scope him .

Male Greater Spotted Woodpecker

 And finally I have make mention to the Marsh harriers which ive seen 8 out of the last 10 visits here ,watching the Male (a lot less the female for obvious reasons) as he hunts over the Marshes is something I never grow tired of and never take for granted neither. You sometimes remind yourself that you are only a stone through away from the city of Norwich , its a special moment for me every time. A digi scoped video clip (not the best but shows you what you what views you can get here)

 So there you have it a quick round up of what ive seen at my Patch ,NWT Thorpe Marsh/Broad.........Until next time,
 Happy Birding,


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