Monday, 17 October 2011

Awesome harrier roost this evening with no less that 19 marsh and 4 hen present at dusk. Most of the birds were over the Thornham side with 10 female and a male present, the rest were in the main reserve reedbed. The first ringtail bird arrived soon after we started at 5pm and went into the saltmarsh and roosted fairly quickly. A 2nd ringtail soon arrived followed by a male over the grazing marsh pool and they both headed towards Thornham Point and dropped on the saltmarsh. At about 5:30 a 4th ringtail arrived and spent most of its time grappling with the marsh harrier group when the male re-appeared and headed east into the main reserve reedbed. By 6:20 all the birds had gone into roost.
Unfortunatley there was no sign of the pallid harrier that had been seen in the morning near Brancaster and apparently over the reserve.
A late swallow, sparrowhawk and kingfisher added further interest to the count.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Bit of a mixed week really. Had Tuesday off which turned out to be the wrong day especially given the weather conditions at the end of the week. Sadly I was in the office on Thursday and missed the short-eared owl passage (did manage 2 at the end of the day) and could only watch the messages about the robin at Warham as the light faded. Saying that I finally managed to catch up with the elusive yellow browed warbler on the Meadow Trail and had what was probably a 2nd bird calling. We have been clearing some 'migrant holes' in the willow bushes to make viewing easier although the red flanked bluetail or sibe blue robin hasn't shown in the best one yet...fingers crossed.
Ringing on Saturday produced 52 new birds including another 4 redwing, pied wag, green woodpecker, 7 goldcrest and another 10 blackcap. Only 2 of these were females and most were on their way weighing over 20g and carrying large amounts of fat.
Today was our celebration event for the completion of the Coastal Change Project with Chris Packham taking the starring role. Thanks to some late sunshine the event was a great success.
Chris telling a bearded tit story or showing how to decide

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Thought I would have a look off Titchwell this morning in the hope of bagging a few skuas left over from yesterday. Unfortunatly the cupboard was bare (on the skua front) but it was interesting all the same.
Large numbers of wildfowl were moving west with the following totals between 10:30 and 12:00.

Wigeon - 890
Teal - 416
Brent goose - 298
Common scoter - 101
Pintail - 33
RB merganser - 22
Goldeneye - 2
Velvet scoter - 1
Pochard - 4
Tufted duck - 12
Avocet - 3
Grey heron - 6 !
Arctic skua - 1
Great skua - 1

Snipe - 19 west over the carpark along with 1 fieldfare and 40 redwing. Even a few redwing over the garden this morning and a grey wagtail (garden tick 91) this afternoon.

Yesterdays ringing session proved a success with the first flush of winter migrants. By the end of the morning we had logged 160 redwing, 3 redpoll sp, 2 mistle thrush, 6 brambling, 8 skylark and 2 fieldfare. Ringing highlights were 4 redwing and at least 15 blackcap. Frustratingly,an immature male kestrel got out of one of the nets before I could get to it - would have been a ringing tick!
Cracking birds in the hand - top one an adult, bottom a 1st year.

Monday, 3 October 2011

I love it when you jam in on a good bird!
Dave radioed back from the beach to say that a hand rail on the beach boardwalk had come loose that that there were some nails sticking out ready to stab someone in the leg. Rob decided that he would join me for some fresh air and we headed out. When we got to the beach several people were watching a shearwater just offshore. The bird was so close in that you could see the brown upperparts, dusky underwings, dusky vent and flanks and bright pink legs - it was a Balearic and a reserve tick (261) for me and a British tick for Rob. The bird was feeding up and down the beach so I walked down to the shoreline and had the bird down to 50m out.
Ringing this weekend produced the first redwings of the year (4 overhead) and this cracking immature tawny owl. Thankfully is was nice a calm but the local blackbirds were not impressed when we released it.
The biggest frustration of the weekend was the sandhill crane. Having tracked down the Lincs coast on Saturday the news that it had ended up in Suffolk had me in two minds but I decided it was too hot and the roads would be too busy and I didn't bother. A phonecall from Jim at Snettisham this morning informed us that some visitors had gone into the office with a mystery bird photo....the sandhill crane on the beach off the Coastal Park early on saturday afternoon. I was at work but I would have certainly spent the afternoon looking out for it had we known...oh well!!
Hummingbird hawkmoth in the garden this evening.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

My heart was sent racing on my home tonight when a ringtail harrier flew across the road in front of me. With all the pallid harriers around at the moment I stepped on the gas to find the next field entrance. Thankfully the bird was still hunting over a beet field but unfortunatly it turned out to be a female hen - probably the rarer of the two at the moment!
A nice black rustic moth on the office wall, 2 claims of scarce waders on the fresh marsh, 2 numpties walking down the east bank (no access) and clearing the septic tank......another 'normal' day at work!