Saturday, 24 March 2012

Finally I get to Cantley

I started the day in Rosary Cemetery while i waited for the train to Cantley. It was initially rather quiet then i realised why as i counted 14+ Jay spread between two trees arguing and fighting. A Chiffchaff burst into song and i then found a Treecreeper building a nest. Maybe I've never been that observant but this is the second unusual nest I've seen in a week or so with Long-tailed Tits last week.
I got off the train at Cantley and within minutes i was watching 4 Glossy Ibis on the flooded meadows. A few Wigeon still linger with Curlew, Teal and lots of Corvids also in the fields. Walking over to the Reedcutters i was disappointed that the pub only opens during the evenings and more so when i could see the Ibis from the grounds, another bird escapes my 'pub list'. I walked around the back of the Beet factory with a large number of Shoveler, Shelduck and gulls, but no waders. Cetti's Warbler called from the river bank and i thought i heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the footpath towards Limpenhoe, but failed to find it. Back on Station Road in Cantley 3 Fieldfare flew from an ivy covered tree, before i headed across the fields towards Buckenham. A male Hen Harrier drifted over Cantley Marshes and Chiffchaff are now back in numbers. A brief stop in the now disused Buckenham church allowed me a short rest as i was rather warm and i wasn't best dressed for the weather. A Mistle Thrush was near Buckenham station but the marshes were rather quiet, so i headed off to Strumpshaw.
The usual tits flitted around the feeders including 2 Marsh Tit. Walking he woody area by the Reception hide a Willow Tit was calling and eventually found. In this area i also saw two voles and a wood mouse. On the main track a Cetti's Warbler unusually sat out in the open calling. Entering the Fen hide i was told i had just missed a close in Bittern, but was soon aware how close then it started to boom from the closest area of reeds maybe only 5m away. I got a couple of brief views through the reeds but the bird never ventured back into the open. A few Bearded Tit flitted but i headed off around the back of the reserve. It was rather quiet along the river back, but a few minutes in the Tower Hide produced 2 Avocet, 2 Snipe and few Lapwing. A show off cock Pheasant posed for a couple of photos but the rest of my walk back to Brundall and the train produced little.
During the day i did pick up my first butterflies of the year, a Comma at Brundall Station, 3/4 Tortoiseshell in Cantley village and 5 Peacock at Strumpshaw.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

One Chiffchaff doesn't make a Spring.

. . but does 3? Today i was spoilt for titles for this post after a morning spent at Thorpe Station Marsh it could have easily read 'Thorpe Wader-fest' or 'Mammals on the Marshes'.

Laura dropped me off by the foot bridge and headed for work, i had picked Thorpe in the hope of a early Gargany passing through. Things looked good with the scape flooded and plenty of water on the marshes. I started off walking the river bank, but the broad looked rather quiet with a few Tufties and Gadwell, single GC Grebe and a mixed gull flock. A splash in the dyke caught my attention and an otter dived out of view, my first otter on the patch. From the screen i then noticed 2 Avocet on the spit how had i missed them from the bank. They then swam out to the centre of the Broad mingling with the gulls. Cetti's Warbler seemed to be singling from every scrubby clump, eventually i glimpsed one near Bungalow Lane. Tip-toeing back across to the Cattle pen a Water Vole swam one of the dykes and scanning from the pen a Chinese Water Deer completed a trio of mammals. From here i heard my first Chiffchaff of the year calling from the railway line but couldn't locate it from it's two brief spats of song. The flooded marshes held 8 Teal but no Gargany. Uncommon on the patch 2 Meadow Pipit then flew overhead. 3 Oystercatcher then appeared from the direction of the sewage works making loads of noise, they circled around but moved off, but not before disturbing 2 other waders, I'd previously over looked. A Green Sandpiper soon disappeared into the marsh, but a single Dunlin remained on the spit a little longer before also wandering off. 2 Snipe completed a very unexpected haul of waders. Walking back over the bridge what i assumed to be a group of House Sparrow turned out to be 8 Dunnock all together.

Carey's Meadow had a lot to live up to and tried its best. Just inside the gate 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over together and 3 Mistle Thrush fed on the deck. only a few yard further and i heard my second Chiffchaff on the day, but this time the bird was obliging and showed quite well, frantically feeding and not noticing me, at one point it came within 6ft. 2 Redwing then reminded me Winter hasn't left us yet. I then stumbled across my second group of Dunnock this time 11 all together, is this normal behaviour? Groups must have been a theme as i then saw 7 Jay all in one tree, making the predictable racket. I heard another Chiffchaff before spotting 2 Long-tailed Tits with nesting material so i followed them, i then happily watched them for 10 minutes coming and going adding to an already stunning looking nest.

Before meeting Laura for lunch i wandered through Lion's Wood and Rosary Cemetery, where i heard 2 Nuthatch but failed to see them and a saw a single Song Thrush. Walking home via Hall Road a lone Waxwing sat atop a Rowen tree remind me that March isn't as quiet a month as you might expect!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Marlingford, Marlingford and Marlingford Again

Since my last update i seem to have spent lots of time visiting Marlingford looking for the Great White Egret. My 1st visit on the 20th Feb was sadly cut short as i had to return home after news Laura's Great Gran had died, but before going home i had found 2 Buzzard a 2 Little Egret.

The following day dad and i sent an hour or so at Happisburgh by the Coast Guards, a large flock of Brent Geese held 3 Pale bellied Brent. A small group of Twite, Meadow Pipit and Skylark were in the stubble and a Great Northern Diver flew through south. During a brief stop at Walcott we found a Med Gull and Turnstone ran everywhere as normal. Driving around the back roads a RL Buzzard was breifly seen along with 5 Common Buzzard and a couple of Sparrowhawk. A final stop behind Mundesley Holiday revealed nothing of note.

On the 26th before and after going to Sainbury's Laura and i looked for the GW Egret again without success. On the 2nd March however i did catch up with the GW Egret with the bird finally raising a head up above the vegetation. Waiting for the car wash at Longwater a Red Kite drifted over and a Bullfinch sat i the bushes no more that 6ft away to complete a delightful 30 minutes.

On Saturday 3rd Gary picked me up mid morning and we headed again for Marlingford. From the Bawburgh Road we could not see the GW Egret so headed for Marlingford Mill to look for the American Wigeon reported the previous day. By the church a Red Kite drifted over. The Red Kite had apparently just scared the widgeon flock so we had to wait awhile for the drake American Wigeon to show. While there we also saw a Little Egret, Grey Wagtail and Nuthatch.

We then spent most of the afternoon at Titchwell, pleasantly quiet without 'birding tours' filling the hides. We did first stopped at Choseley watching c40 Yellowhammer and c20 Corn Bunting. From the Island Hide we failed to locate the reported for Mandarin or Scaup on the Fresh Marsh. The Brackish Marsh held 3 nice Spotted Redshank very close in but not the Smew reported earlier. The sea proved to be much more successful, with his first scan Gary picked up the Velvet Scoter, drake Scaup, many Goldeneye and 4 Longtailed Duck all close in. Walking back the redhead Smew reappeared on the Brackish Marsh and although the Mandarin was still elusive from the Parrinder Hide I did pick up a early returning Sand Martin flying west. A final scan from the path and Gary located the female Mandarin asleep in the reeds. The Arctic Redpoll remained in the picnic area and showed well before we left.

A drink at the Dun Cow as the sun started to set was a nice end to the day, despite not seeing to many birds it was nice sitting in the garden looking over the marsh, has spring sprung?

No, as i finish this post (Monday) its been raining all day with sleet this evening!