Sunday, 7 February 2016

Buckenham/Strumpshaw Fen back to roots birding, and the Patch

I have a friend (Alysia) that wanted to go birding she said she has a strong interest but said she didn't know any. She lives in the city so I thought Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve would be the best place to take her.

I picked her up at around 8.30 and after passing through Brundall we see two Jay and Egyptian Geese, this is where I realise she doesn't not know any but actually knows must common birds.

We park at Strumpshaw and then head for Buckenham walking along the road the first bird we see is a Grey Wagtail flying away from a roadside dyke into the sunshine.

Many birds were singing like it was a mid spring morning, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch and Chaffinch.

Just past the railway line we see two Goldcrest poking around an Ivy covered tree. We carry on seeing more Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins and a Dunnock. Two Buzzards also flew over the road.

We then reach the marshes at Buckenham where the wind was strong and straight away we were onto some Lapwing in the roadside field, the bright sunshine made there backs look the iridescent green they really are.

Starling, Skylarks and a 'in a tree' Moorhen were also seen before a Chinese Water Deer ran from nearby cover and away over the fields.

As we walked down the road a flock of Wigeon came off the river and landed on the field next to the road, we walked up and got a better look whilst listening to their wonderful wee-oo call.

Another scan across the marshes and we saw Greylag and Canada Geese, after this we head up to the river where my old O.S map shows a footpath heading towards Strumpshaw but due to conservation this is now closed. 

So with this we walked back the way we came, walking along I notice all the birds had taken off with huge numbers of Starling and Lapwing flying around that were hidden before in the long grass. Then in the distance other flocks of Lapwing and a large flock of Golden Plover were in the air, I didn't see it but my guess is a Peregrine must of been flying through along the fields.

Before the railway crossing we saw a Pied Wagtail on a cottage roof.

Just past the railway crossing we came across a flock of Long-tailed Tits, this held Goldcrest, other Tits and at least two Treecreeper but though trying these were heard only and not seen,

At Strumpshaw we stopped and the feeders and watched Blue Tit, Great Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit (me only), Robin and Chaffinch all feeding.

After this we had a look from the reception hide the Coots were obvious with around 50 birds on the water in front of the hide.

Then scanning through the other ducks Mallard, Teal....

...and Gadwall were also present.

Further scanning and this very smart looking Cormorant was found sat in the middle of the broad.

This Little Grebe was also spotted hiding in the Reeds.

We left here and headed around the reserve, just before the Fen Hide I heard a Cetti's Warbler this was then spotted by Alysia flying away from the nearby reeds.

At the fen hide we spent a few minutes watching a female Marsh Harrier dancing over the reeds in the strong wind.

We continued round seeing a Great Crested Grebe before walking into two more Treecreeper we got to see these this time after the earlier failed attempt but unfortunately only flying from tree to tree and none of the characteristic creeping despite trying very hard to, they always 'crept up' the wrong side of every tree we tried to see them in.

We then popped into the Tower Hide seeing a large flock of Shoveler and Teal and more Coots.

The walk back to the car was quiet apart from the piggy squeal of two Water Rail from the reed beds.

The last birds of the day were two Mistle Thrush in a tree from the car leaving the reserve.

All in all a good day, it was great to be out with a 'novice' it gets you to re-appreciate those common birds that wouldn't normally get a second look. The company wasn't bad either.

But despite the strong wind we managed to see/hear 49 species, and in systematic order here they are. 

Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Egyptian Goose
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Marsh Harrier
Water Rail
Golden Plover
Black-headed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Carrion Crow
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Marsh Tit
Cetti's Warbler
Long-tailed Tit
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Meadow Pipit

5th Visit - Pigneys Wood

With such a nice afternoon I felt it would be a waste not to visit the patch. So I headed down to Pigney's as soon as I arrived the sun disappeared and the wind seemed very cold.

The birds were quiet, very quiet, I got a few pings from the Bearded Tits in the reed bed but not a lot else until I got the the wood.

Two Bullfinch flew away before I was straight onto a Treecreeper (ironic after try so hard to see one properly earlier)

Walking futher round I got to see the wintering Chiffchaff again and this Brambling in with a small flock of six Chaffinch.

Pigney's Species this visit 28, total for the year 58.

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