Yesterday i caught the train to Cantley and planned to walk back to Brundall, via Buckenham and Strumpshaw, quite a punishing walk if you include getting to and from the station. I decide to start with the Beet Factory and soon found lots of Green Sandpiper. But before reaching the cooling pools i stumbled across a mixed tit flock holding young Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, 2 Willow Warbler and a loosely associating family of Whitethroat. The cooling pools to the north held 8 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper however visibility was hindered by tall vegetation. I had much more success with he pools to the east of the factory with 8 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 7 Ruff, 5 Dunlin and a Spotted Redshank. There was lots of eclipse duck which despite picking through all look quite common.
Walking along the river back towards Buckenham i found the best birds of the day, 2 Wood Sandpiper were in a muddy pool and also Ruff in ones and twos at various spots. A female Hobby flew through and I found 3 Grass Snake sunbathing, but until i reached the Mill at Buckenham I had to make do with watching Dragonflies which filled the air as few birds seemed to be around. What was left of the quite dry flooded pools was dominated by a large flock of Canada Geese, which were joined by 17 Barnacle Geese and 2 Snow Goose type birds. 2 Avocet, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper found space in the margins before 2 Wood Sandpiper arrived, probably the two I had seen earlier. By the Fisherman's Carpark a lonely summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher were joined by two further Green Sandpiper and Yellowhammer was a nice bird to find as i walked towards Buckenham Station.
At Strumpshaw Fen RSPB my first stop was the pool by the feeders to look for Small Red-eyed Damselfly, which i found but I was also entertained by a family of Blue Tits bathing and a Chiffchaff having a drink. Walking along the river bank a juvenile Cuckoo flew from reed bed and i spotted my second Hobby of the day. From the Tower Hide 32 Ruff were causing confusion as they varied from bright white to golds and browns, a good gathering of Lapwing were also present along with a rather drab eclipse drake Wigeon and you guessed it another Green Sandpiper. Walking back towards the railway line i bumped into Ben who pointed out 8 rather nice Swallowtail caterpillars, before we discussed the possibily of seeing the Willow Emerald Damselflies quite soon. Walking along the rather over grown footpath back towards Brundall i'm not sure who was more shocked, as i pushed through overhanging bracken a Tawny Owl perch on a low branch was startled and flew only a few feet over my head. Getting home i examined my blistered toe and reflected on a nice day out. I did run the moth trap but with little success, an Orange Swift the only moth of note and new for he garden.
YARE VALLEY: Strumpshaw fungi walk
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