Today Laura and i decided to go and have a look at Barton Broad. On arriving the mist was thick and walking down to the board walk we saw only a Blackbird, 3 Carrion Crow and a handful of Wood pigeon.What little of the Broad we could see through the mist had a thin covering of ice and i managed only 2 Moorhen. Walking back along the boards we saw nothing until we stumbled upon a single large flock of finches and Tits. Siskin, Redpoll, Chaffinch, Brambling, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest. We then heard a Woodpecker drumming and on closer inspection found a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker close by before a second male arrived and the birds all flew off. A nice walk if lacking in birds, but watching the courting woodpeckers was nice.
With another uncertain forecast, i decided to stay local. Walking via Eaton Park I was by the UEA Broad before I found anything of interest, a Kingfisher at the east end perched up perfect for a photo, until I got the camera out! Still at the east end was a mixed flock of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin however the light was to poor to take a photos, 3 Treecreeper, 1 Goldcrest and 3 Long-tailed Tit seemed to be assocating with the flock. The path along the river to Eaton was very muddy, despite seeing Little Egret at Bowthorpe I was still surprised to find two on the river here. At Eaton the river was flowing to fast for me to find the resident Grey Wagtail.
I carried on along Church Lane and on towards Eaton Common. There was lots of small birds by the railway line and a calling Nuthatch was my first for the year. Marston Marshes was quite a challenge with lots of mud and standing water, but few birds. The resident Kestrel was on hand and 2 Green Woodpecker were in the trees. 3 further Little Egret were on the marshes, i can only assume that the birds have finally pushed up the Yare after many years around Breydon, Cantley and Strumpshaw. As always the feeders by the Golf course gates held lots of common birds, and nearby I found this 'Pied Blackbird'. Walking home i ran into another large mixed finch flock, but no rarities of note.
Last Thursday I went for a walk around Bowthorpe and needed my wellies, the marshes were badly flooded and in many places i had to wade through 5-6 inches of water. I spent a while scanning the reeds by Colney Pits hoping for a Bittern but without luck however further along i got a bigger surprise with a Great White Egret flying east and going behind the Pits. Two Little Egret and 5 Heron were also on the flooded fields. 4 Male Bullfinch were near the car park with a large group of mixed finches and further along behind he substation a large Thrush flock held Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush and a lone Mistle Thrush. There were lots of Teal between Bowthorpe and UEA and 4 Shoveler with a large group of gulls to the east of the bank.
Earlham Park was very quiet, but i did see 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a single Green Woodpecker. By the bridge over the river near The Broad a mixed flock of Siskin and Redpoll was nice to see and further along they came down into some low bushes coming withing feet of me. The Brod itself was devoid of wildfowl, 2 Mallard, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 1 Coot! Walking home over Eaton Park I found a flock of 25 Redwing feeding on the pitch and putt, and 6 Mute Swan on the Boating Lake.
I recently moved back to North Walsham and needing a new local patch, I soon settled on a few of my old favourite sites, but they were spread around town. All are close to the old railways track beds and my new house sits at the apex of all 5 lines that once radiated out from North Walsham, these form the arteries joining everything up. My 'Birding Alone Old Lines' patch was born, revisiting the old birding sites of youth, via the Old Railway Newtworks.