short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Monday, 10 April 2017

As March draws to an end at the Patch theres still time for some goodies

  As March comes to an end I decided to get to the patch as much as I could to see if I could catch the early returning migrants from south or even a species moving back into its breeding ground or just passing through. I was hoping for a LRP, Gargany , a Wader SP ,Blackcap or a early Hirundine?
  Well there was a noticeable change at the patch as the month drew to a close. The Reed Buntings seem to be calling from every side of the marsh and the Linnets seem to have returned with at least a couple of pairs this time.The male`s giving a nice song as i passed with each visit! The Great Crested Grebes have gone a step further this year as a nest has been built nice and early & were seen sitting tight on it with every visit( fingers crossed they actually breed on the broad this year)

Great Crested Grebe on nest


 A  pair of Grey Wagtails were getting all over the place, busy feeding on the 27th and a single bird was seen along the River each visit up until the month finished .
  Now to the Broad :-
  Of note was early returning/passing LRP on the 28th my earliest record since 2012.The single bird looked at home along the shingle beach among a pair of Oystercatchers. On  30th there was a hell of a racket when 2 Pairs of Oystercatchers were giving it large to each other along the "Arm". A charismatic bird to watch .
 Between 3-7 Lapwing were present on each visit and a total of 7x Stock Doves were seen on the 27th and at least 5 seen on each visit after. Pleased to count a total of 72 Tufted Ducks on the broad on the 30 th which seemed a high count , along with 4-10 Gadwall and up to 12 x Teal were recorded and just a Pair on the 31st . A total of 4x C Snipe were seen at rest along the vegetation on the "Arm" and at least a single bird seen on most visits.

2X Pairs of angry Oystercatchers


 A good count of 6x Shovelers (3xpr) seen on few days and down to a single pair by the end of month ,a super bird to watch and will be hoping to continue seeing this pair throughout April(please!). On the 28th a nice Shelduck dropped in and happily stayed on the the "Arm" for a while before taken to the water on the Broad which was a welcome year tick for the patch as this isn't a easy bird to find here and only my 3 rd record here myself and first on the deck.
 Now turning to the sky I had my earliest ever record for Sand Martin when 2 flew west over on the 29th, a nice sight and was a able to share it with long time local patcher Mike.
  On the Marsh :-
  A nice male Marsh Harrier was seen hunting on 2 occasions. Both times were rather brief but at the same time rewarding. Love to watch this raptor in action as it quietly drifts over the Reeds and marsh, always a Pleasure and sometimes its easy to forget I'm only a just over a mile from Norwich itself!
 Now if this wasn't enough March still had some more to give me! A Sedge Warbler was heard and briefly seen on the 31st March my earliest record for the patch and no doubt was passing through as wasn't heard again during the first week of April.  Cettis were heard singing on every visit as always at least 3 -4 were recorded. Now that just leaves me the final highlight ...a couple of showy Water Rails. This bird often heard but rarely seen. My usual views are a brief flying ones or in a cold winters day especially when the dykes/broad is partially frozen over so when I saw one appear on the 30th almost next to me I was beaming ear to ear! I had stood my self in one of my favorite spots to just watch out over the Marsh quietly and after 10 minutes I heard a rustle in the waters edge and there it was just partially out in among the vegetation, superb! It got even better as on the next day I had a calling Water Rail behind me and in front of me a single bird walking out along the vegetation ! I managed to take a record shotbelow.

Water Rail


If April is half as good as this end to March ill be happy boy!
  Happy Birding, Ricky

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