short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Februarys Patch sightings ....NWT Thorpe St Andrews Broad /Marsh

  February started off cold, damp and ended with 3-4 foot of snow.

 Starting off with the broad  and noticeably the Shoveler numbers started to drop as the month went on. A count of 35 on the 2nd but by the 27th they were at just 13.
 Also the Pochard were at 40 by the middle of the month but down to 9 on 27th also.
 Gadwall numbers of 97 on the 7th and  at 71 on the 27th .
Tufted counts were 66 on the 2nd,  74 on the 16th  and as low as 19 on the 27th. 
Teal were around 25-28 on each visit ( plenty more hiding I'm sure though) 
Pair of Wigeon seen on the 7th and a count of 23 x Coots on the 19th of note.

I had 6x Common Snipe flushed from east marsh and a pleasing sight to see 3x Kingfishers seen on the 19th which equals my highest count here. 
 On the 27th it had snowed ( beast from the east finally arrived!) and I made sure a trip to the patch as these unpredictable weather changes can bring a few surprises or mis placed birds to any inland patch .  
The Gulls were starting gather and around 150+ Black Headed Gulls were  seen on the 27th with 39x Herring Gulls
 Of note was my earliest recorded Green sandpiper on the West of the Broads edge .

Record shot of my earliest Green Sandpiper
Also 2x Woodcock were seen taking to the air from the east marsh due to a dog flushing them. These being My first for the winter and always a good bird to see on any day.
 On the frozen dykes I saw Water rails slipping as they scrabbled away from my precent . Total of 3 birds were seen and all very showy.
 While I was watching the Water rails I picked up on my only 3rd patch record of a Stoat. It was running around in the snow and along the Pool edges.   It quickly spotted me and soon disappeared though . 
 My first Little Egret sighting of the year too was seen on this snowy , cold day ,as one flew over westwards just as I was taking a Digi scope picture of the wintering male Stonechat , which was still at its usual spot . 
Male Stonechat
   Now to bird no.123 for the patch!  I was alerted to a report from local  birder Gary white , who had found a Mandarin duck near the bridge on the New cut of the river.   I woke early in the 25th and set up on the green at the Rushcutters pub and within seconds picked it up right in front of me.

Mandarin duck viewed from Rushcutters pub
  It swam about for around 5 minutes and then back to the bridge to rest. Wasn't expecting a new bird species for the patch in February so was well chuffed!

Mandarin Duck-Bird Species no.123 for the Patch

 So as the month came to an end we were currently under 3-4 foot of snow and freezing temperatures, I wonder what March would have in store and the wildlife therefore.
Happy birding


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