With the still freezing conditions we have missed out on another weeks ringing session and my nets in the garden are still frozen. The way things are going, we may not get much more in before the end of the year.
Decided to head out the Burnham Norton/Brancater Staithe area yesterday to see what was about. Wasn't really expecting much but you never know what may be out there. I walked from Burnham Norton along the field margins to Brancaster Staithe and then back along the seawall. The fields inland had loads on pinkies and they spent most of their time being disturbed and flying to and from the marshes. Apart from that the fields were quiet.
The walk along the seawall was better and there were loads of waders feeding in the flooded fields. There has been a lot of habitat improvements going on here and at the moment it looks cracking. Lots of splashy pools and grazed grassland. Looks good for breeding waders next spring. Most of the birds were lapwing and golden plover but I was surprised to see over 250 dunlin also. There were smaller numbers of ruff, redshank and snipe along with 3 black-tailed godwits.
Further towards Burnham Norton there was a big group of wigeon, probably 3000+ and a selection of geese including 18 barnacles. On Burnham Norton marshes itself there wea a family party of 3 pale-bellied brent geese, water pipit and a dodgy, although nice looking, bar-headed goose!
Raptors were the stand-out group with rough-legged buzzard, 2 merlin, peregrine, 5+marsh harrier, kestrel, sparrowhawk and 2 barn owls seen.
Wigeon at Burnham Norton
Flushed a snipe out of the garden on Saturday morning while filling my feeders. It looked like it had been feeding under one of the larger bushes! Species 85 for the list