Thursday, 15 December 2011

Polar conditions

More a reference to the birding than the weather; first freeze on South Marsh East:

The cold weather has resulted in a trip to the extreme north or south for the wildlife at present. On the southern end of the reserve at Watton NR most of the geese and wildfowl have accumulated:

Trying to pick out the white-fronts is a challenge when sleeping or hidden from view:

But we have had the greenland bird reported yesterday again. Also reliably present is the red-head smew – will we see any more this winter?:

Curlew are always around the reserve:

And they can be seen from South Marsh West on Baswick Carr (along with Beverley Minster) now some of the big riverbank willows have gone as part of the Environment Agency tree management works. The screen around the marshes will remain, but most of the trees on the berm are being removed:

The work is being undertaken to prevent wash out behind the trees when in spate, stop root damage to the flood defences and reduce debris travelling downstream. The work is also advantageous for the reserve as it removes many of the big predator perches that have developed next to our breeding areas - and opens a line of site for migratory waders onto the marshes.

Apart from the wildlife centre feeders already supplying the sparrowhawk again, you then need to travel north for the other views. These two barn owls were preparing for a less snowy night’s hunting this evening:

As ever though it is short-eared owls which are flavour of the month – this is one of Tony McLean’s excellent recent shots which at last fully do these magnificent birds justice:

But more can be seen on the Flickr group here, and undoubtedly on his website soon here.

Michael Flowers too has been getting some great images here – and I am sure David Ware will follow on his blog.

Thanks to Brian Spence too for this picture of a choppy sunset on D res:

If you are looking to escape the family then we are open every day through Christmas – normal admission and opening times apply.

The next event on the calendar is the year listing day on the 1st of Jan. For all you keen listers – or just to walk off the night before – we will be doing two walks at 10am and 1pm to try and log as many bird species around site as possible in the day. With the variety of species about we should stand a good chance against 61 species 2011, 74 in 2010, and 69 in 2009.