short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A lesson learnt -PGW 18th September 2017

Pallas grasshopper warbler Twitch-

So if you follow my blog you will know although I'm a dedicated patcher at Thorpe marsh/broad,Norwich But i will occasionally nip off to Twitch a good bird if local and I have the time. On Monday late afternoon I set off to Burnham ovary with where a Pallas grasshopper warbler had been found from local Norwich birder and seen at my patch occasionally , Stuart  white- fantastic find indeed !   The bird showed very well  in the evening to handful of people so when Monday came and the bird was being reportedly showing (as much as a Pallas grasshopper warbler does!) I decided head off to Burnham ovary.i quickly walked down and on arrival was greeted to  around 70 birders present and we made our way up to bank as a number of birders shouted "there it goes "!  The bird flew out from dyke and into the dyke edge ( some bramble and reed). We stood and watched as 4/5 birders walked the area near where it was , playing the calls on phones , trying to flush the bird out. 
After alot of this it did finally give up and fly out to the dyke which ran south of the bank wall.  It gave another view and quickly flew into reed edge.   For the next 20 minutes " a bird " kept coming out and flying back in and people pointing & shouting out " that's it".  In fact I saw and have read people that have since ticked the bird in flight . I hope it's not from the views I've described here as I had no idea what this bird could have been.  PGW? Dunnock ? Warbler SP,possibly ? I don't claim to be the best birder and in fact I would say average birder so I will not be ticking it on those views as I didn't pick up any of its ID features.  As the bird then began to get flushed again by "call luring  " and then flushing of people it flew across to other side of path into that dyke.  In all the madness of people trying to get views and keep up with bird people we now spread out from bank, path and now into the field that sits east of the path . From there some birders were getting good/ brief views.  I was stood next to a few friendly birders I knew and we discussed the views it had given up till then , agreeing they were poor at best and not tick able of course.  GThen the bird flew out of the " bush " ( this bush had Rose  hips on it and will be mentioned again shortly ) and back across the path over our heads and to the other dyke. We again saw it and believe some had very good flight views but my self could again not be sure of what I had.  The people from the bank and field were now all on the path and begun to get very full.   Then flushing began again by the same birders from earlier and it again flew and back over to the dyke on the east.   Now in all the excitement ( maybe madness is more fitting word) I followed around 30 people over the fence that lead into the field.  We begun to slowly walk the edge and spread out to try catch some movement .  After 10 minutes I picked the bird up working its way along the reeds and then into " that bush ".  I had 5 seconds with the bird ( I know that's all) but got the large tail shape ,body size and the streaky back but unfortunately nothing on the head.  Now there was around 30 birders watching this "bush" and then birder next to me  picked it up again briefly but that was it . 
It eventually reappeared back down where it originally showed before when we arrived and instead of chasing off after it I decided to stay put.  I chatted to local birders to the north Norfolk coast I knew  and  local Norwich birders of its views,etc.  Then it appeared again straight in front of me back on that same bush. It was for only few seconds but I saw enough to believe it was the same bird I had earlier , PGW .  
What happened next was where I felt angered.  Two birders on the other side of dyke jumped in and then  begun to start to shake the bush !  I shouted out "oi " as did others and a few others the other side told the lads to leave it and get out .  That was enough .
It was then clear to me it was trying to find somewhere to roost and this bush looked good ( I'm not expert on this species so could be wrong  ) so decided to leave at this point and left the field and decided to walk back.   
 Summary -
So after watching "that video" which has been published on social media from the drama of the following day and reading what has been written about the next days events I feel I needed to write this update to my blog.  
It's clear now that the fence I crossed had been cut and also that people on the field have damaged some of the habitat . 
Although I didn't do either I was on that field and therefore now realised I trespassed . 
I'm not proud of that in the slightest and of course am sorry for being a small part of this.   
I've rung the owners up and spoken to them to say as much .  Ive noticed no one from Tuesday has come forward and no one has admitted to going into this field , or involved with the horrible events that followed but I've felt I needed to say I was there . 
I will never enter /follow a crowd of people somewhere without stopping and thinking about what I'm doing , instead of thinking " I must see that bird ".  
I realise why I enjoy my patching so much when I look at the video recorded from Tuesday events where the Wardens of the Holkham  estate were verbally spoken to in such a rude and unpleasant way.   
I make it clear I did not cut any wire or bash/ flush or damage the area , that's not what I'm about and those who know me will know that but I do take responsibility of entering that field  and apologise.  
I was thinking to my self " this isn't right walking through dykes, flushing and tape luring " but at the same time I  did nothing - in fact after a while I found myself getting caught up in the moment as I said and followed the small crowd into the field which I clearly see now is wrong .
It would be sad indeed if from a result of this twitches kaos and madness that it could stop future twitches happening there . 
I've not made mention to any other names of who was with me , who I saw walking the dykes/reeds  / shaking the bush, because this isn't what my blog update is about.   Also the pictures I had Taken that day I've chosen to not use on the blog for same reasons . 
I'm not saying I won't still twitch a bird in Norfolk but I will from now on pay special care and consideration for the habitat and  landowners  and of course most importantly the "good of the Bird " its self .
A lesson learnt . 

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 17 September 2017

August- Caspian Tern, Dragonflies and Butterflies

So I continued  the start of August as I ended July with lots of Butterflies and few moths ! 
I had my first Holly blues along with  Small copper and common blues, then after a days working in the sunshine watching plenty of Red admirals , Peacock and Comma one of my butterfly highlights with at least 2x Brown Angus ! While searching for these I had plenty of Small Blues and few Essex Skippers , so  the UK list is really in full flow.


Small copper


Comma and Peacock


Essex Skipper


Common Blue
Common Blue


Holly Blue

A interesting caterpillar was found at work ( pictured below). James informed me it was a Vapourer Moth caterpillar - very smart looking 

  Dragonflies were also seen with a trip to Buxton Heath on 16th august which gave me a new Species in Keeled Skimmer. Found these 2 at rest in boggy ground ( walking boots just survived!)  plenty of common darters.

Keeled Skimmer

    Back to the patch on the 12 th I had good number of Black tailed skimmers as well as plenty of Migrant Hawkers and on the River 2x Red eye damselflies! Super little things these. Although Small they are a beauty to see although I needed my scope as they were at rest on the Lilly's on the water ( thanks to James & Jim who had given me heads up of where I should find these ).
Red Eye Damselfy

Black Tailed Skimmer
Migrant Hawker
 Now onto Bird sightings for August.  I'll start with a super work tick on the 8 th august , I was surprised to watched a pair of Bearded tits calling overhead south Norwich. Heard and then saw them as I worked.  Closest I've ever had to the city and to my knowledge .
   Now to my Highlight of the month though was my trip to Rush hills scrape to see this brut of a bird.. a Caspian Tern! I arrived after knowing it had been there the day before and also at Breydon.  I decided to finish work earlier then usual and headed straight there. Surprised to find  i was only birder there on arrival but this meant I had the bird all to my self and what a bird it was.  He stuck out straight away as I watched him for around 20 minutes before he took off with all the other gulls and waders when a Marsh Harrier cruised low over. It was later reported at Breydon water so I timed it right ! This was my 284th British bird and probably one of my easiest yet .

Caspian Tern(British list, no.284
  At the Patch (Thorpe St Andrew broad/Station marshes) things we're starting to change 
Noticeably Lapwing numbers were up, top count of 53 end of the month. Also Tufted ducks were now back as too the Gadwall along with the Pair of Great Crested Grebes . Kingfisher was seen on every visit throughout the month and twice on this branch ( pictured) .

 Always makes a visit here worth it to see this species of bird. Common buzzards were as usual overhead and the regular Kestrel. Cettis started to call as the end of August approached & single chiffchaff was singing  but other then that quiet.   Of note a Chinese Water deer was seen on most visits too.
 So there's my round up of my month , hope to update blog half way through September if I find time with building work finishing and kids back to school!
 Happy birding