Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Frost bittern

Excellent news is that the winter line up has been completed with the return of a wintering bittern - Tony McLean managed to get an excellent pic for his blog here - and also managed to bag the first record this season simultaneously. It may well have been here a while, but the lack of people is not conducive to records!

The river is where most of the action is, as with this group of mainly tufties on Thursday:

This was one of 3 little grebes near Hempholme Lock:

Further down river - suprisingly on the tidal section it was frozen bank to bank as with so many others in the region of late:

The mammal safari turned up plenty of tracks and trails (more animals than people!), whilst the snow had melted a little by the Sunday walk, Thursday saw these multiple otter slides on Barmston drain:

Along with well worn paths:

Tony and Martin also got good views of the fox on North Marsh, with Martin turning up some great birds on the small area of open water on D res - a ruddy shelduck and a pintail both being distilled into the small group - full write up here. Elsewhere 5 Brambling were on the feeders, siskin everywhere, jay at Standingholme, three goosander flew south down river, and woodcock were often in the open - like these two on Watton NR:

Meanwhile work has gone apace on the horse chestnut avenue with work approaching completion - this was on Thursday:

Terry the partridge in the last post was released successfully and was spotted under the centre feeders a few hours later:

Likewise these two borderline hedgehogs were given a square meal of cat food before going on their way:

Finally the cat also provided some food in the form of these two voles - which I decided to put to good use and supplement the barn owls given the problems they have at the moment (though things have improved a little with the thaw):

However unfortunately this dead bird was present in the entrance:

Before getting too sensationalist it is worth noting this bird from its state obviously died before the cold snap. The most likely candidate is that it's one of this years chicks which did not mature, however the ring on extraction does look quite worn and pitted, suggesting an older bird:

One of our ringers Jim is looking into it, and when we get round to cleaning out the box later on this winter we'll see what other horrors are in the somewhat squalid owl box...