Thursday, 4 June 2015

Slow Burn Pays Off

Yesterday we changed to Blacktoft Sands because major road works causing huge delays had blotted the original choice. It was a bit quiet at first, but what can you expect if you can't get your original choice?
Male Marsh Harrier (c) 2015 Tony Robinson
We went to Xerox first, but apart from a Marsh Harrier being mobbed by an Avocet there wasn't a great deal to be seen. A trip to Marshland produced immature Black-headed Gulls, and a pristine dead adult, but very little of note. reed Buntings flew past on occasion. Just as we were about to leave Tony spotted a distant Red Kite flying west perhaps following the channel of the river, as everyone tried to find it, it was mobbed by a Peregrine, but by this time it was so distant not everyone saw it. There were at least 2 different Little Grebes in different areas of the water. 
We went on to Townend next, which had a few Avocets on eggs. A pair of Canada Geese flew through, but again it was rather quiet. A large flock of Swifts flew west, but unfortunately with no accompanying Hobby! A drake Wigeon was quite a surprise. An adult heron flew west, and possibly the same bird headed high east a few minutes later. 
Singleton had a Great Crested Grebe, and a Pochard asleep on an island. We had a quick look in first hide, but apart from a Great Crested Grebe and a Tufted Duck this was the quietest hide of all. 
Cardinal Beetle
We made the big hike to Ousefleet, where there were several active Skylarks in the big meadow, but from the hide itself apart from a singing Cetti's Warbler, and a displaying Meadow Pipit, this was again rather a disappointment. However, in the afternoon we were looking over the gate into the meadow when suddenly I saw a pearl-grey elegant bird of prey flying west. It was the male Montagu's Harrier. The class were transfixed - it was a "lifer" for 100% of the participants. We peered through the side screen before leaving the area, and we were rewarded with a Little Egret.

 Sedge Warbler
 Stock Dove
 Record shot of Montagu's Harrier (c) 2015 Tony Robinson
 Record Shot of Montagu's Harrier
 Record Shot of Montagu's Harrier

At lunch time we were surprised by a former afternoon 'student' who recently underwent open heart surgery. She looked very well indeed and hunted out all the people who were on the course when she was, and enjoyed a good chat with each.
Little Egret

No comments: