Thursday, 21 January 2010

Bittern Off More Than We Can Chew

The same Bittern we saw, but this one was at Watton Borrow Pits on Sunday
(c) 2010 David Ware
Goldeneye (c) 2010 Tony Robinson
Record shot of Redhead Smew (c) 2010 Tony Robinson
The birds of the day were the Bittern and the Redhead Smew, neither of which were seen by me! Today nearly everyone turned up, and there were too many to fit comfortably into the left-hand of the back-to-back hides, so the last 3 went into the hide overlooking South Marsh West. As Michael opened the flap a large brown bird flew up from directly under the hide and landed in the reedbed opposite, yes, they had seen the Bittern. The Redhead Smew was seen by Tony & Miles who stayed on for the afternoon. The morning started well with 4 Mistle Thrushes (the most I've seen at this location) at the north end of the works area almost adjacent to the Visitor Centre. We walked all the way to Watton Borrow Pits, but this was mainly frozen over, and apart from one adult Heron and 2 Greylags flying over, there were no birds visible! There were quite a few birds on SME until a white Environment Agency Van drove along the bank & flushed: Shoveler, Shelduck, Teal, Gadwall, Redshank & Lapwing - the waders have been absent for weeks because of the ice, so we were the first to report any for some time. Most of the marsh areas were still ice-bound, but D reservoir was clear and was covered with Coots with a sprinkling of Goldeneye, plus other wildfowl. A large local RSPB group were also present at the reserve, but they went north in the morning, so we went that way in the afternoon, while they went south. There were plenty of birds around the new feeders including, Willow Tit, Brambling, and Great Spotted Woodpecker, plus a large flock of Long-Tailed Tits. North Marsh was virtually birdless, but a Sparrowhawk did fly into D Woods, after coming in over the River Hull. In all we saw 44 species in the morning, so the true number was nearer 5o if the Willow Tit, Brambling & Smew are added to the tally. Not a bad total when you consider that some top reserves are still bereft of birds after the big freeze!

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