|Bittern (c) JR|
Despite the heavy greyness and the reluctance of the sun to emerge from the gloom, it was quite a good “birdy”weekend.
All the regular raptors were seen including a Merlin that flew across Ashgrave on both days.
On Saturday morning a big female Peregrine flew passed
the first screen heavily laden. It eventually landed somewhere out on Greenaways
to eat its prey. We were very uncertain as to what it had caught but careful
examination of the photos showed it to be a Black-headed Gull. It did seem to be
quite a large prey item and was clearly awkward to fly with.
Two different Marsh
Harriers, Sparrowhawks, Kestrels, Common Buzzards and the ubiquitous Red Kites
made up the raptor numbers. Once again and sadly, Hen Harrier was noticeable by
its absence from the list. In the evening there were probably two different
Short-eared Owls hunting on Greenaways and adjacent fields.
|Merlin (c) Derek Lane|
|Female Peregrine and Prey (c) JR|
|Kestrel and Rook (c) JR|
Sadly we were unable to relocate the Brambling that was seen on the path to July’s Meadow during the week. On Sunday we finally managed to get near to one of several Redpolls that have been seen in the Carpark Field and along the bridleway to Noke. As in the last few weeks there were large numbers of Goldfinches on the seeding thistles. Sometimes they would relocate, flying in fairly tight flocks but each individual bird looking as though it was bouncing along on its own personal strand of elastic.
|Redpoll in the carpark field (c) JR|
There is a Grey Heron that has staked a claim to the bridleway as its own particular territory. We assume that it is specialising in catching voles or mice but we have yet to see it do so. It allows a much closer approach than is usual in this species and it will fly short distances ahead of you as you approach. Eventually it will have been pushed along too far and will fly out over Greenaways and circle round to take up its post again on the track behind you.
|Bridleway Heron (c) JR|
We had excellent views of the Bittern again on Sunday. It flew up from the reedy ditch beside the path to the screen and flew slowly back towards the reedbed before disappearing. It would be useful, although difficult to establish whether there are more than two birds present. If we do get some severe cold then we may find out, if they are driven to hunt along the narrow strip that of water that is always the last to freeze on the northern lagoon.
|Flushed Heron (c) JR|
Two large flocks of Fieldfares were seen on both days and there was a small party feeding in the carpark field on Sunday morning when I arrived. We also saw several smaller groups of Redwings moving along the hedgerow.