Sunday, 16 November 2014

Every cloud a grey lining

Whilst the weather may have been dull and murky of late there was plenty to celebrate in grey.  The nest box team found this grey phalarope on Tuesday; thanks to Roy Lyon for these shots.
It was assumed disappeared (but likely here all along as so miniscule) until relocated by Lee Johnson on Friday night (along with a 3rd Caspian gull of the year) and has shown on D res all weekend - thanks to Martin Hodges for these shots (more on his blog):
Generally sticking to the walls it seems particularly interested in a couple of gull carcasses.  Also of interest in recent days too has been up to four scaup last Sunday with one remaining today.  3 red crested pochard were still present on the 10th, with four whooper swans the latest through on the 6th, and a pintail visited O res last week.  A peak of 4 med gulls since the last posting on D res on the 2nd. 

Watton NR saw an uncommon visitor in the form of a knot on the 11th, and Michael Flowers and his group had the second brambling of the year on the 14th.  Otherwise perhaps most notable has been a huge influx of water rails recently - 8 on south marsh west last weekend, with a further 3 heard on North Marsh on Friday and at least two more on the lagoons.  Thanks to Bruce Pillinger for this shot:
A jack snipe was present on South Marsh West today.  Grey Heron has also been about as per this collection by Andy Marshall:
Steve Brimble captured these images of the ability of grey heron to turn its hand to anything which comes close enough - in this case an apparent short tailed vole:
Still on the go despite the last posting saying they were on the wain are the kingfishers - Andy Marshall:
Otter showed four separate times last Sunday - as usual best off on North Marsh - Steve Brimble:
And Maurice Dowson:
Unfortunately Maurice also snapped this shady character at Hempholme Lock - the 6th American mink of 2014 so the worst spate in some time:
Another more balanced predator - Sparrowhawk by Steve Brimble:
And Bruce Pillinger:
Hen harrier reported yesterday and merlin today at the northern site with two barn owl.  Goldcrest keeping out the way - Andy Marshall:
And finding that a difficulty; Albino / Leucistic pheasant by Steve Hines:

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cock a' whoop

A big influx in the main players for winter in the last few days. A lot of pink footed geese over and whooper swans have been through in the best numbers for some time - a total of 39 birds split between 3 groups - thanks to Roy Vincent for these:
And Michael Flowers:
The 5 red crested pochard are usually to be found somewhere on the reserve - a few nice shots here by Mal Jones:
Brian Colley:
And Roy Vincent:
We've also had a scaup on the Res in recent days and luckily Brian was also on hand to capture the slavonian grebe found yesterday on the reserve walk:
Alas not present this morning but replaced by the first brambling of the season near the lagoons.  The first woodcock was also flushed out last Saturday.  There have been further fleeting reports of short eared owls around the site but perhaps marsh harriers have been the raptor of the moment - some cracking pics by Darren Smith:
It seems as though kingfisher season may be at an end on North Marsh.  Annually as the water temperature decreases the sticklebacks descend into deeper warmer water and fishing becomes easier elsewhere - they'll be back again in late June.  That said Hempholme meadow is still popular at the moment - Michael Flowers:
Roy Vincent:
And Mal Jones:
Less susceptible to weather conditions are the otters - fishing as ever on North Marsh - Darren Smith:
Roe deer by Mal Jones this afternoon:
Plenty of activity around the bird feeders now with both willow and marsh tit present - Roy Vincent:
Mallards over the D res by Brian Colley:
Next weekend is our Wetland Bird Survey count weekend we undertake with the BTO - we're always after help to assist on count days (once a month) so please let us know if you can  assist - a good knowledge of wildfowl ID is a necessity for this. 
On the gull roost we've had a peak of 4 Mediterranean gulls on the res tonight with a Caspian gull last weekend - again all the details on Martin's blog.