Sunday, 27 April 2014

Keeping it local

The week just gone I've been keeping it local. Every evening, if time permits, I've been walking down to my local patch, Marston Marshes. This is an area of grazed meadow, open and over-grown river bank, small stands of willows, reeds and the odd patch here and there of gorse and bramble.
Before this week I'd had good numbers of Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat, Cetti's and a single Marsh Tit. This week though it's started to come into its own. On Tuesday evening I had a reeling Grasshopper Warbler and I've continued to hear it from different locations around Marston up to and including tonight. On Wednesday evening I had a singing Garden Warbler which had been joined by second male singing in the same area since yesterday. Sedge Warbler numbers have steadily increased since last weekend and this evening I had a Reed Warbler before I left at 8pm. All I need now is a Cuckoo! Which now that the Acros are in, are probably not too far away.
I tried all day today and yesterday to photograph the Garden Warblers but failed miserably. I'll leave them now and maybe they'll settle a little if some females come in. I did manage a decent shot of a male Reed Bunting singing from the top of a Hawthorn. It was pretty straightforward, every time I passed this bush along the path he was there, unperturbed by walkers or my lens pointing at him. 

Singing male Reed Bunting, Marton Marshes, Norwich - 26th April 2014
I also managed finally to get a glimpse of the Green Woodpecker that I hear calling but never seem to see. On the raptor front I also added Peregrine to my Marston Marshes local list to go along with Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk.
Yesterday I did also head back over to the area between West Earlham and Bowthorpe Marshes where there would now appear to be at least two singing Nightingales (I suspect a third bird may even be there but I can't be certain). Hearing them was no problem but the only looks I got were as one bird dashed across the path from one Hawthorn to another or a dark shape moving around from deep cover. I stood by a Hawthorn at one stage with the bird singing loudly from within and I still couldn't see it. Here's a sound bite taken using my iphone. Excuse the poor quality but you get the idea.

Youtube link to sound of Nightingale singing

A Common Tern was also in the area but sadly no Arctics passing through (or Whiskered for that matter!).

At UEA I checked the slopes below the gorse near the NNUH and I was in luck. The male Ring Ouzel was still present although approach was difficult so all I could manage was this cropped record shot. This morning there was no sign of it but not to mean its gone, could just have been sitting in the hedgerow.

Ring Ouzel, UEA campus, Norwich - 26th April 2014
I returned this evening around 6pm for a final wander around Marston Marshes as the sun dropped. The Garden Warblers were still singing on and off, as was the Grasshopper Warbler and several Common Whitethroats, Best of all though, as I mentioned already, was the first Reed Warbler of the year!

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