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!

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