Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Rockland to Whitlingham

For the last few years I've embarked on a spring migrant hunt, walking from Rockland Broad via Surlingham to Whitlingham, following the river most of the way. This year i was hoping to find a Osprey, Ring Ouzel or Gargany.

Catching the 9am bus to Rockland, my first migrant was as previous years was a Chiffchaff in Rockland Broad carpark. Between here and the bird hide i saw 4 more Chiffchaff but at least 8 were singing and i saw 2 Willow Warbler, as well as many commoner species. Little was on the Broad, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls are worth noting, 2 Little Egret flew over and a Buzzard circled over Surlingham Woods.

Skylark flew over head as i cut across the fields towards the Ted Ellis Reserve. I only walked the woodland section as i rarely find much on the rest of the reserve. 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker battled it out and a Treecreeper was also seen. Chiffchaff were also everywhere. Walking through Surlingham village, i found 2 Goldcrest in a road side tree that gave views to a few feet at one point, oblivious to me. A flock of c15 Linnet were also on the edge of the village. By the Surlingham Ferry Pub a pair of Sparrowhawk displayed over head, and from the hide on Church Marsh a Green Sandpiper was on show. The Gargany reported last week have gone but the Little Egret remains on the pool. At least 7 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler were singing but little else was about despite me doubling back and looking around the ruins and meadows. A few butterflies however are now on the wing, a Small White was by the pub, 2 Orange Tip along the river bank and a Peacock by the Landspring Sluice.

Along the route from here to the sewage works at Whitlingham i was serenaded by more Chiffchaff and also saw a fresh Comma, before a flock of 22 Redwing flew over heading east. The Sheep field behind the sewage works held c15 Pied Wagtail including a White Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 4 Lapwing and a flock of 10 Linnet, a Coal Tit was also nearby. The sewage works themselves held a mixture of corvids, 2 Oystercatcher and 6 Stock Dove. I walked through the Whitlingham Woods to the view point but not before picking up 2 Green and 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker. Scanning Thorpe Station Marsh i couldn't find the hoped for LRP or any other waders. You briefly walk along the outside edge of the woods and here i was rather surprised when a flash of bright orange appeared in the hawthorn hedge. A new patch tick for me, 2 Firecrest flitted in the hedge, briefly crossing the path into the brambles, all at close quarters but to fast for a photograph. A Willow Warbler was further up the path along with 2 Marsh Tit. The Great Broad was surprisingly quiet, both in turns of birds and people, i only saw 6 people as i walked around. From the conservation area however James' Caspian Gull remained and a lone Pochard was by the watersports centre, and that was about it bar the commoner species.

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