Monday, 13 February 2017

Mr Grey

It may have been 50 shades of white on the reservoir in the last week but it was grey that caused excitement today - Maurice Dowson:
Maurice and Roy Vincent picked up this site rarity great grey shrike today in hawthorns at the top of the D reservoir and managed a few great record shots when it took a brief flight north before heading south over the res and out of sight - Roy:
A fine site tick for many of our latter-day listers.  The last was in 2003 - again on Barmston Drain and the last truly visible one in 1993 down at Watton again on the drain.  This bird is the 6th since about 1970 so perhaps decreasing in sighting frequency.  If the current trend continues there'll be another in about 40 years!.  Despite a whole site search it couldn't be found today - here's hoping it'll turn up again in the next few days. Maurice:
So this fine bird had just about won out on the mono colour stakes putting the legions of glaucous gulls into the shade.  Glaucous gulls have continued with yet another bird present last night making around 10 birds - nearly as many as have been seen all time.  But a long overdue Iceland gull in the fading light was a welcome addition to the year list.  As ever for a fuller write up of all the gull action visit Martin's blog.  Long-tailed duck showing well by him here:
Goldeneyes have been getting amorous in the frozen weather - Brian Colley:
And in addition to a female goosander and three pintail on Watton has been a second smew - redhead of course!- Francis Bell:
And Roy Lyon:
Regardless of the winter wonders shelduck are building up rapidly.  Freshly returned from Germany they peaked at 14 on Wednesday on South Marsh East.  We're still sorting a few of the islands in coming days ready for the breeding season so please excuse a little disturbance on these in the next couple of weeks - Brian Colley:
30 blackbirds at Hempholme on Sunday - Brian:
And elsewhere brambling, siskin, redpoll and willow tit all on the feeders. 
Finally a note on timescales for the new hide - currently we're looking at mid March for opening the paths as there is still considerable tree work we're waiting on contractors to complete before we can do so.  In the meantime we'll be rounding up those whom have expressed an interest in helping out with the new viewing gallery.  We're looking for enthusiastic and friendly volunteers to show people wildlife on the reservoirs, feeders and remote cameras.  Tea included!  If you're interested let me know as we'll be talking volunteers through this new opportunity soon.   Thanks to those whom have already contacted me - I'll be in touch soon...
Otherwise spring beckons - 4 weeks til the first little-ringed plover and chiffchaff!