Friday, 12 June 2015

A round-up of the week

It's late spring and migration is slowing to a trickle, however there's still enough around to keep me interested. I haven't spent as much time this year at my local patch of Marston Marshes, so last Saturday morning I took in a few hours there to see what was about. Nothing I haven't picked already this year but there are decent numbers of House Martins who are smartly using the recently dug drainage ditches to gather building materials.

House Martins, Marston Marshes, Norwich
I haven't seen any Cuckoos this year but did hear one calling last week and the Barn Owl is there most evenings. Other than that, Reed and Sedge Warblers are all there, Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats too but this year no Garden Warblers. The Grasshopper Warblers seem to have stopped reeling but I did have one in flight carrying a faecal sack, so that bodes well.
Later that day I drove to Lakenheath Fen to try for the Little Bittern, three hours or more spent waiting with no sighting though I did hear it "singing" (more like a "woofing" really though).
Brief flight views of Bittern and Cuckoo were nice and several hunting Hobbys kept me entertained while I waited for the Little Bittern.

Hobby, Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk
Still the option this weekend to try again for it with the added bonus of a Collared Pratincole thrown in.
On Sunday I stayed a bit more local and visited the excellent Strumpshaw Fen reserve near Brundall. It was a family day and the carparks were full but away from the reception area the hides were quiet enough. At the fen hide I had a single Hobby, a Cuckoo, several Bearded Reedlings and a pair of courting Marsh Harriers.

Male Marsh Harrier drops food to his lady!
After my lunch (supplemented by some fine Lemon Drizzle cake from the cake sale at the reception hide), I headed up to the Doctor's garden with Rob Holmes to look for Swallowtail butterflies. We only had a short wait there before two appeared.

Swallowtail Butterfly, Strumpshaw fen, Norfolk
I made a brief stop at Buckenham before heading home but only went as far as the hide. Two Avocets were the best there.
During the week I did several evening visits to Marston Marshes. On Wednesday evening I was very fortunate to have some excellent close views of the Barn Owl as it hunted. I had tucked myself away under a tree with the setting sun to my back. After a fifty minute wait or so, it just sailed past me within about twenty feet and proceeded to hunt over the meadow in front of me. The light was really fading so I had to go to ISO2000 but still managed a reasonable shot.

Barn Owl, Marston Marshes, Norwich
Earlier on I tried for some Acrocephalus shots but they are singing a lot less now and the cover is quite extensive so I only managed this effort (again in fading light) of a Reed Warbler complete with what I think is a Crane fly (i.e. Daddy long legs).

Reed Warbler, Marston Marshes, Norwich
On Thursday evening I did an after work "twitch" of the Narborough Marsh Warbler, I know there are rarer Acros around Norfolk right now but didn't have time to drive to Cley and walk Blakeney Point.
I had reasonable views of the Marsh Warbler as it sang from cover but took no photos. The mimicry is awesome though, very convincing snatches of Blue Tit, Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird and even mewing Buzzard at one stage. Phenomenal!
Might try again tomorrow if time permits!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Graham. I was just wondering what gear you use to take your great pictures?