Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Photo catch up

A quick post to catch up on the past few weeks in photos.

23 Blackbirds in the garden, a record count so far

Water rail feeding on ice along entrance rd to Strumpshaw

Purple Sand Waxham

Wood Mouse-from office window yesterday

Nuthatch from office window yesterday, one of a pair that have appeared

My view from a successful HH survey

Grey Seal in river at Strumpshaw

White winged Black headed gull

Leucistic BH wing pattern

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Bountiful Buckenham

A morning of taking water conductivities at Strumpshaw followed by a survey at Buckenham and Cantley allowed me to put my bins round my neck and have a look around.
The highlights were certainly the numbers of waders present at Buckenham frantically feeding in the soft mud and many pools that have developed since the thaw. The first good wader was found by counting the Ruff, one looked quite a bit smaller and turned out to be a Dunlin. I wondered if it was James' bird relocating from Whitlingham, however I scanned to the right and had another 7 feeding by it. The total count of Dunlin for the site was 18, which is certainly my record count for the Mid-Yare. As I walked towards the hide it was evident that there were a good number of Black Tailed Godwits too, these were also feeding furiously making counting difficult, I got to 147 noting a couple of ringed birds in the flock, which I will send the info off,  nice to see that they have returned again this year, they stayed right up to our first breeding birds count last year. The final wader movement was noted when 31 Curlew flew in from the East, not such an unusual bird in the Mid Yare, but this is not a bad count, certainly the biggest flock so far this year.
So waders aside there were also 67 Bean Geese, 172 White Fronts, 1 Lesser Whitefront as well as 2600+ Wigeon.
At Strumpshaw in the morning I had my first  Merlin of the year fly almost over my head at sandy wall, 1 Bittern also seen well, on the snipe front it was a little disappointing with just 1 common and 1 Jack. I suspect the snipe have moved off since the ground was frozen, hopefully they will be back before the end of winter.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Green surprise

A quick update from a day on the Surlingham side of the river. I had to do a couple of short WeBS counts as well as take the water salinity across the site today, a good excuse to get out there and see whats about.

The highlights of the day included;
-7 Goosander (2 Drakes) at Rockland Broad
-2 Barn Owls- Rockland
-1 Green Sandpiper near Coldham Hall Pub. A slight surprise as it took off from a few metres from my feet, it must be the wintering individual that has been seen a couple of times since November in the area.
-70+ Redpoll, at the East end of surlingham Village- Not easy to be sure but it looked like there were a couple of Mealy's in with the flock, certainly a few pale looking birds, but light was not good....must return with scope and pick out that Arctic(!)
-2 Woodcock 1 at SCM and 1 at Rockland

Unfortunately failed to see any Brass band Bullfinches on my travels but I'm sure the trumpeter will still be around somewhere nor were there any Smew on Rockland Broad.

Other recent bits include LWFG again yesterday at Buckenham and a Jack Snipe also at Buckenham.

A check of salinities at Strumpshaw tomorrow should enable me to have a bit of a count up of Jack/Snipe and Water Pipits, with a bit of luck they will oblige.

Will dust off the moth trap by the end of the week if the temperatures continue to climb

Friday, 10 February 2012

Cold Weather Movements

I have been working on the sluices at Strumpshaw for the past 2 days, which has the added bonus of being by the river all day. On Weds I managed to see 14 Goosander fly up river in 3 small flocks, at least 25 Whooper Swans flew South. Most interestingly/annoyingly, while quading along the river bank transporting materials I noticed a what looked like a male  tufted duck on the river, on closer inspection it had a nice grey back, certainly not black, I lifted my bins once I'd stopped and it was gone. So a brief unbinoculared view, but it was close enough to be sure it was a male Scaup- new Mid-Yare bird for me.
Thursday again was spent sorting the sluice out, the number of wildfowl using the river was far fewer than on weds, maybe I was working harder! But we did manage to see a redhead Smew fly up river, another new one for the reserve for me, there were also a few Goosander flying down river (4) and a single bird was settled on the river feeding on the way back to the office.

So despite the fact that the reserve has very little/no water on it the river seems to be the place to search out the moving birds, I suspect they are all heading up to Whitlingham, their certainly heading that way. When I think of cold weather movement it usually means Smew, Scaup, Goosander and wild swans so I'm quite happy to have had all these while working, although obviously I'd be happy to get some of the rarer wanders too, this weekend....maybe?