Saturday, 21 March 2009

A Day In Norfolk

What a day, after an overnight frost the clear sky remained with full on sunshine all day and a very light breeze giving a real spring feel to the day.

Dropped in at Olley's Farm near Thetford, a fabulous area of coniferous woodland. Highlights here were Woodlark a pair singing, Crossbill a male showed very well with a dozen more distantly, Goshawk a female being mobbed by a crow flew over and was on show for around 7 minutes, wonderful views. The resident escaped Red-tailed Hawk showed very well perched and in flight, Siskin three small flocks were encountered, Bullfinch pair near the entrance, Yellowhammer singing and showing well.


Fulmar at least four were patrolling the cliff top, sea watching was limited to watching just off shore due to a dense sea mist. Amongst a dozen Great Crested Grebes was a male Red-breasted Merganser.

Titchwell Marsh
Titchwell Marsh, on the north Norfolk coast, is one of the country’s best loved and most visited nature reserves. It is also at risk from the sea – unless we do something now!
A visit to Titchwell is always special. Grey Plovers and Sanderlings fly over your head, having travelled non-stop from the Arctic Circle. Marsh Harriers display in front of you - an unforgettable sight, especially when you realise they almost disappeared entirely from the UK in the 70s. And don't forget the thriving colony of the RSPB’s emblem - the dainty and elegant Avocet.

If the sea breaches the defences and floods the freshwater marsh with salty sea water, then much of the wildlife living on this reserve is at risk. Already the sea wall has had to be patched in a number of places after the highest tides.

If we act now, we still have time to stop the reserve as we know it from being lost forever.

What do we hope to achieve?
You can't defeat the sea. But you can work with it.

We will reshape the seaward side of the reserve, creating new salt marshes and mudflats to absorb the power of the sea and protect the precious freshwater marsh and reedbed.

So as not to disturb the reserve wildlife, this massive and innovative project can only be carried out between August and October. We expect the work to take two years, but once finished, we'll have created freshwater reedbeds that will become a wonderful new refuge for the wildlife that rely on this special habitat. Click the title for more information.

Images above common snipe showed very well from one of the hides, many of the robins at Titchwell are so confiding, allowing excellent views

Monday, 16 March 2009

Holehaven Creek

A glorious day for my monthly survey of the water birds in Holehaven Creek, temperature rose to a dizzy 17 c!

Highlights of the count were Black-tailed Godwit 1,380 and 3 Bar-tailed Godwit also 397 Curlew.

My personal highlight was this cracking male Wheatear on the seawall, this is my earliest ever recorded in the UK, my previous earliest was last year at RSPB Rainham Marshes on March 19. I have been recording my own earliest summer migrant dates since 1985, are things changing? Is spring getting earlier? Wheatears seem to think so!

Also seen on the seawall was my first Common Lizard of the year.

Signs Of Spring

Another glorious day at Wat Tyler Country Park, the Violets are now flowering adding a splash of early spring colour. Also saw two Brimstone butterflies, a Comma and one Red Admiral.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Vange Marsh

On the reserve today were single Comma and Red Admiral butterflies near the wood yard entrance. Out on the marsh a pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying while a third adult looked a little left out!

Five Avocet and two Curlew were seen along with 3 Mute Swan, 21 Wigeon, 16 Shoveler, 5 Pochard a drake Tufted Duck and a pair of Little Grebe.

A Grey Wagtail flew over calling and two Cetti’s Warbler were singing. Two Green Sandpiper were in the saline lagoon.