Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Brecks and Buckenham patchtick!

A great day today.
I found myself awake at 4.30 and decided to have an early start in the Brecks. I went to a lovely place and connected with a super bird, a male golden pheasant.
I located it by its 'song' strangled call, it was on the track but always behind vegetation, I stealthily followed it through the dense undercover until it came to a crosstrack, out in the open it ran...fast! luckily I could see where it ran to. It then hopped up into a tree, had a preen and continued calling. Amazing scope views but always slightly concealed which made photography tricky, it did force me to learn how to use the manual focusing on my camera so not all bad. I spent about an hour with the bird, viewing it from behind a bush so not to disturb it unduly. No sign of any females, I wonder  if it is one of the final birds in the county. (and dont ask me the location, I'm suppressing it, sorry!).

After this excitement I headed to a Willow tit site and spent a couple of hours searching with no joy, the wind had also picked up so I headed home.

I had time for a cuppa and then got a text from Ron McIntyre informing me of a Great White Egret at Buckenham. Barely finished reading the text and I was out of the door, well it would be a new species for the reserve for me after all. Minutes later and on site a few scans yielded nothing, had it headed to Strumpshaw? I was almost about to head away when I locked onto the S bend of an egret, but it had a black bill. watching it closely I realised that it was the GWE, it was in breeding plumage. As it stood up out of the ditch I could see its legs for the first time, a beautiful raspberry pink hue to the thighs. It sounds as if they only come into the plumage for a few weeks a year. This was my first great white for the reserve and what a cracker. I watched it catching lots of food in the ditches for well over an hour studying and enjoying this rare plumage. Unfortunately it was quite distant and the heat haze did not help but the pics show what it looked like! Typically just as Justin L was coming up the track it flew over the wall, luckily he did see it in flight a few times.
little and large

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Brecks and Strumpshaw update

Yesterday Jim, James Ricky and I went to the Brecks (you may well have read Jims blog so I wont write the same report again...)

The highlights were:
-Seeing three Stone Curlews, the first I have seen properly for a few years, good to hear these are doing well again.
-Watching a firecrest feeding well on the ground, never seen this myself before, it seemed quite happy feeding amongst the bluebell and daffodil leaves, an odd site though.

-Seeing male Goshawk in full display in view for 15 mins or so, another male was seen elsewhere too, cant get enough of these brilliant birds!

The lowlights were dipping Golden Pheasant, Willow tit, Hawfinch and Lesser Pecker. Oh well cant be too greedy!

Strumpshaw area has seen its first arrival of migrants with Blackcap and Chiffchaffs certainly very evident throughout the reserve The male Marsh Harriers which are now busy showing off to the ladies, good to see some familiar birds returning including our very pale/dark contrasting bird which is often called Hen Harrier as well as some new birds I have not seen before, always good for the gene pool! Willow Warblers due to be singing all over by the weekend I would have thought! Sedge Warblers cant be far away either!


This appears to be a hybrid of sorts Mallard x Gadwall??