Thursday, 24 March 2011

A yellow bunting?

First off and of greatest note was a bunting species found by myself and the practical volunteers today on South Marsh West last thing. Whilst finishing the new kingfisher nest and sorting the gravel island I picked up a bunting merrily feeding in the goat willow next to me. It's black head and brown back said male reed bunting. Unfortunately its (very) bright yellow chest suggested something that needed a bit more investigation. A couple of the guys managed a look too - confirming this very brief ID whilst I sprinted to get the camera and book. Unfortunately by the time I returned we had lost it, though it is likely roosting with the big reed bunting roost on South Marsh West near the back to back hides. A thorough search failed to find it before dusk.

We would not like to surmise at this stage on the limited views we had but the bird which smacks most closely to what we saw when leafing through Collins is a male yellow-breasted bunting. Basically think male reed bunting with a full and very yellow chest. However we would like to emphasise it was a bird like this species and without further views cannot be substantiated as this species or any other. It was however certainly not a yellowhammer / cirl bunting.

The reserve will be open early tomorrow for anyone wishing to chance their luck. Please respect ticketing and access arrangements. The best location to look from is the South Marsh West back-to-back hide looking in the area of the up-turned boat.

Next confusing bird was the reported osprey of Sunday afternoon. Picked out on the treeline of D Res. by a visiting group, subsequent viewing from our regulars suggests that this was one of the local white buzzards some of which are pictured below courtesy of HVWG and have caused confusion many times before and undoubtedly to come:

However the Sunday bird was of a more pied appearance than these individuals pictured. That said an osprey should be here soon with the current weather. Buzzards have been everywhere of late.

Sand martins are now plentiful and there has been a large influx of chiffchaff now - 4 yesterday on the southern site:

The next new arrival is a pair of little-ringed plover - the sun setting on it below:

Outgoings include this whooper which has been on south marsh east for a few days now:

Along with an adult white-fronted goose found by John Leason today. Likewise presumably the very fine drake pintail will be gone at somepoint too:

Smew still clings on at Watton with plenty of brambling on the centre feeders:

The biggest migrant of the week however has been toads - which have been moving around the reserve in what must be well into their thousands now - care is needed on all paths around site:

Likewise there are some big numbers of newts in all breeding ponds now - like this heavily laden female:

South Marsh East has a fine variety of species now - see how many species you can find in this shot!:


Little grebe:

Great spotted woodpecker:

Pond dipping with the RSPB wildlife explorers revealed a coming invasion of monsters from the deep - these impressive nymphs and caddisflies came out in every net from the new D woods pond:

However one of the main features this week has been repeated scrapping - be it pheasant v moorhen:

swan v swan:

Or most impressively roe buck vs roe buck in barmston drain - turn the sound up to get the best of the bellyflops!!: