short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Local patch visits...

   Ive been stacked out at work of late but that hasn't stopped me getting down to my local patch a couple of times though.
 On Tuesday all was quiet, as it has been over the last couple of weeks now although that is to be expected this time of the year but some Duck numbers are starting to gather. Around 20 + Mallards and 11x Tufted`s were on the lagoon as too were the Mute Swan family. Both young were looking healthy along with both parents. A low count of just 3x Stock Doves & 15 + Lapwings were on the marsh . However a nice Cettis was on show at the bridge which was a nice highlight!
 This morning i was up nice and early & as i walked up the bridge with the sun shining on me back and the with the blue sky above me, a singing Chiffchaff was in the trees, i could have thought this was a gorgeous spring day! This was not the only Chiffchaff  `Chiffchaffin` away as i soon had another around the mooring area. As i made my way along the path i scanned the River where i had 36x Greylag Geese  along the New Cut and the usual Moorhens. On the lagoon was a nice number of 11x Gadwall.  As i looked out i had a Sparrowhawk going along the trees at the railway line.Then the Greylag Geese flock from the River went over head, towards postwick direction.At this point i was joined by another birder known as `Beefy` .We got chatting as you do and walked round towards the bird screen together .As we passed the screen i heard that familiar call of the Kingfisher.I turned to see it fly right by us and down across the path.We were both chuffed to see it and carried onwards round to the Marshes.As we did we had both Green & Greater Spotted Woodpeckers over head and as we approached the Marsh i said to `Beefy` how i had a Snipe here last week.Then as we approached the cattle pen 3x Snipes took to the air, zig zagging as they went & dropped down into the scrape!
We both stood and waited till they returned back to the Marsh.About 15 minutes later a single Snipe did and i was able to get it in the scope too which was nice. All in all a nice morning and nice to meet another friendly birder too!
  Happy birding,

Monday, 12 September 2011

Worth the wait!

 I set off yesterday to Titchwell in hope of a little gem of a bird ,knowing that i would not be alone but when i arrived at the car park  & counted 40 something cars i new this was gonna turn into a packed crowd, especially when the clock showed 7.10 am !
 I made my way up the path to see a crowd of birders along the bank looking down into the reed pool.Yorkie had been there since 5.45am and had missed the only glimpse, that of a quick Little Bittern flying low across the pool. Me and Yorkie started to catch up and watch the crowd increase.After a few flying Little Egrets and a Curlew , one of the wardens had just been told of the Cattle Egret flying.Immediatley all eyes to the sky(well actually some stayed hooked on the pool thankfully) and there it was flying from the new hide towards the direction of the car park.A new bird for me. Not long after this a Peregrine came over and soon was harrassed off by a Lapwing . It was around 10 am that we heard a yell of "got it!". The Little Bittern (240)was sitting on the edge of the reeds and was there for a few minutes showing well.I had it in my bins but then lost it as coats, elbows and heads got in my view!I was then kindly asked if i wanted to look through a birders scope which had a fantastic view of its striking streaks and bright bill.After thanking him, i relocated my scope and jacket among the masses. As i did i saw Jim and Debs heading up the path.They didnt wait long before they too got great views of this super Bittern. Me & Yorkie decided to see what was to be had at the Brackish Marsh and Island hide. We had a Grey Wagtail and a Juvenile Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipits, 2x Pintails,1x Spotted Redshank ,Avocet , Common Sandpiper,Dunlin, & Ruff.
 We decided to head back to the car park and as we did the Little Bittern had just come out in the open again and was giving great views.Couldnt have got any better views then this-magic! A super mornings work.
 Happy Birding,

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Work travels & local patch up date...

 This week Ive been working in the south of Norwich where i have been monitoring the activities of the House Martin colony . Of the 22 nests , 4 are still being used with hungry young inside( obivously there second brood) . I watched as a few adult birds  came back & forth to the nest.As i watched these small hungry hirundines receive food from there parents i thought of how they would very soon be on the wing and flying south wards making that long journey to there wintering grounds.
 On my lunch break on wednesday i sat and counted 32x Pied Wagtails in Tescos car park at Harford Bridge.I remember last year counting up to 50 + at one lunch break.I want to come back one evening this winter to get a count of the numbers that roost here.
 Over in Sprowston Thursday i watched a Sparrowhawk dive into a bush of House Sparrows.I then watched as it seemed to get stuck and took at least a minute to scramble out of there empty handed!
 At my local patch this afternoon i had another 30 minutes of nothing other then 4x Egyptian Geese, a couple of Lapwings and a pair of Stocks Dove but as i found last week, when it seems theres nothing about something usually pops up and thats what happened again today.I was searching through the sky at a couple of House Martins , when a Hobby came over head with legs hanging and dropping down over the lagoon. It stayed for around 3-4 minutes before heading off over towards Whitlingham .A new tick for the patch and another rewarding visit!
 I may go to the coast tomorrow in search of something new!
  Happy Birding,

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Local Patch and Cantley

 Ive been working extra hard this week to get ahead ready for the Autumn weather and shorter nights but still managed to get to my local patch ,Thorpe for 2 visits. On friday it was extra quiet with no sign of the Common Sandpipers or visiting Greenshanks or even the Geese were no where to be seen( all with James at Whitlingham i guess).However a Cormorant and a pair of Moorhens still gave me something to study on the lagoon. I checked the Marshes and again nothing -but just as i started to leave off i saw something coming out from the vegetation...a Common Buzzard.It seemed to be pulling up a few worms.That explained for the lack of regular visitors( Stock Doves & Lapwings). As i reached the bridge i turned back to see the local Corvids  mobbing the Buzzard and seeing it off over the River and beyond Whitlingham woods.
 My second visit to Thorpe was this morning  and once again all was quiet on the water , other then a few Lapwings. On the River a family of Moorhens and 8x (7xjuv) Mute Swans. I made my way round to the Marshes and heard 2x Reed Warblers in the reeds. I stood still for a bit & waited for them to show. I know that any time soon these few remaining Reed Warblers will soon be heading off on there long journey South, so its nice to catch em still while i can. As i approached the Marshes 2x Grey Herons chased one another over head and then a flock of around 50 + Lapwings dropped in . I scoped up and scanned through, counting as i went. A total of 65 Lapwings  were feeding and  among them a patch tick with a feeding Snipe! I know these would winter here as its suitable habitat so hopefully this will be a regular sight over the coming months for me.

Snipe among the resting Lapwings

 Later on friday i managed to get to Cantley pits.I was greeted by friendly faces- Jim and James( nice to finally get to meet the face behind the blog James!) & another fellow blogger David. I was in good company and with extra eyes was in high hopes of finding some decent birds!
 As i spoke to Jim he quickly put me in the direction of a group of Waders in front of us-4x Little Stints and a Curlew Sandpiper. A great opportunity to get to study this Wader in good light and up very close!
 After a while we started to head round the this huge site.It quickly occurred to me that this was going to be Wader fest-as every where you looked there was Waders ! There was tons of Ruff , Dunlin and a good number of Ringed Plovers.Then a few Common Sandpipers and a nice looking Wood Sandpiper.

Little Stint

Wood Sandpiper
 A few Yellow Wagtails were among the mud piles and a few Greenshank dropped in. It was at this point that i had a group of 4x Curlew Sandpipers with some Dunlins.

Curlew Sandpipers and a Dunlin
 I turned my attention to the Reeds on the other side of the pits and heard that `ping` call of the Bearded Tit. I waited a moment & 2 appeared . Then at the foot of the reeds i had a juvenile Water Rail. A bird that has some how escaped me this year until now.I scanned out more and  noticed 10 + Snipe feeding in the muddy edge.In fact by the end of my visit i had counted a total of at least 25x Snipe. As i went to turn to leave a huge flock of Golden Plover  dropped in and quickly took off again.Another birder who was nearby pointed out a few that remained and were out in the mud.
Golden Plover
 This site is Wader city, a great place to brush up on your Wader ID skills and not too far from Norwich too. As arnie would say "i`ll be back"
 Happy Birding,