Friday, 5 February 2010

3 Out of 4 Ain't Bad

Bittern (c) 2010 Maurice Gordon
In Flight (c) 2010 Tony Robinson
Smew [ Redhead] (c) 2010 Tony Robinson
It was quite wet this morning so for the first time we had an indoor session. Initially, the class watched a female Brambling under the feeders, as well as Tree Sparrows, a Coal Tit, and a scattering of other species. We discussed 10 definitions of Birdwatcher: Birder, Lister, Twitcher, Dude, Ornithologist, Robin Stroker, Patch Worker, Seawatcher & Viz Migger. Then we examined some sounds & images to look for during Jan-April - using new Birdguides iPod applications, field guides & BirdMike. Surprisingly, everyone said the session was enjoyable, and very worthwhile. The rain had almost stopped for the afternoon session, so we walked to SME & saw 41 Wigeon, a pair of Goldeneye, several Shoveler, plenty of Teal & a few Gadwall. Other marshes were pretty much the same, so we went on to Watton Borrow Pits. Here, were 11 Curlew, 7 Redshank, some Pochard and a female Smew on the far right. We thought this was good enough, but suddenly a large brown bird appeared flying over Barmston Drain at eye level & only a few feet in front of us. This was the best view of a flying Bittern any of us had ever seen. When it saw us it turned 90 degrees to the right & landed in a scanty fringe of reeds under the new Little Owl box. We then watched it for over half an hour as it paced up & down this tiny reedbed, pushing aside the reeds as it moved. It regularly craned its neck right out to stick its bill into the water - probably drinking, rather than fishing. 4 different locations this week with 3 of them resulting in Bittern sightings - not bad going! Probably the easiest bird to see of the week! I wonder why we failed to see one in East Park?

No comments: