short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

December's Patch Highlights-A new species for the patch and more!

December had its cold weeks and some mild days which brought plenty of rain.  I managed to get soaked on one visit and extremely cold on the others but it had its rewards!

much of the marsh is now flooded. Wellies are a must!
As expected the broad was where most of the action was at, with good numbers of Wildfowl. 
One highlight was my personal  highest count of Shovelers for the year and possibly for patch in the 7 years I've been recording here.
On the 30th I had a total of 25 which is up on my personal highest yearly count which was 17 on the 1st of November , so all good.

Shoveler Ducks
Also of note the Pochards were still in good numbers with 55 on the 5th and up to 69 on the 12th. 
Teal were as usual hard to count as so many resting up in among the Broads edge . A total of  at least 51 on the 12th and 43 on the 30 th which could easily be doubled with so many coming out as I finished my counts typically ! 
Tufted duck numbers were lower then previous month but that said they do seem to favour Whitlingham broad and numbers at Thorpe Broad only seem to be high ive found from experience if a disturbance or event is on at Whitlingham. Highest count was on the 12th with 26.
There was most noticeably a influx of Gadwall on the Broad compared to Novembers counts. 
On the 5th there were 88 , 139 on the 12th & 102 on the 30th  . 
Little Grebes were seen every visit with 3 on the 12th  and at least 3x Water Rails were heard on every visit too .
Other things of note were 4x Lapwings on the 30th, 4x Common Snipe on the 12th and 2x Grey wagtails on each visit coming in to roost some where up river . 
Highlight of the month for me though was the male Bearded tit which had been seen around  the middle of the month (13th )and while resting up at home feeling sorry for myself on the 22nd ,after being very ill the previous day I was alerted that it was showing "very well" ! I tried to resist but after speaking to Justin on the phone  and then hearing James had seen it too I dragged me self down there. Arrived to see Justin who assured me it would be worth the efforts and true it was ! The bird spent around 5 minutes along the ditch in front of us giving superb views ! 
(photo curtesy of Justin  Lansdell) Male Bearded Tit - no.122 for the patch life list
This was my 122 species for the patch ,Thorpe Marsh/broad and one I wasn't expecting, so  you can imagine I went home very chuffed if not a little drained for me efforts ! 
Of note a Kingfisher dropped into the ditch where we stood and around 20+ Siskins were seen which was around 25 on the 30 th.
All in all a good month to be at the patch!
Happy birding and a happy new year to all