Sunday, 19 January 2014

The grasp of winter

...or something like it has been best represented in this white fronted goose present on Hempholme Meadow all week - here seeing off a pesky jackdaw by Brian Colley:
Good grazing on the now inundated meadow:

Other exotic geese have included a barnacle on Watton NR on the 12th by Nick Baker and 4 pink footed geese present all week.  Elsewhere a lesser redpoll in D woods today by Geoff Dobbs, a flyover goosander by Michael Flowers's group perhaps made some semblance of a winter setting.

The two scaup have still been present on the D reservoir, last logged on the 16th with a pintail.  Stalwarts the willow and marsh tits have been present on the feeders, with siskin and many drumming great spotted woodpeckers.  A med gull visited the roost on D tonight - visit Martin's blog for this and a great year update here.

Perhaps signs of spring in addition to emerging snow drops were 5 buzzards circling together and a pair of marsh harriers over south marsh west - hope again for this year?  Perhaps one resident of the southern marshes was hoping not.  We've been putting all efforts into the southern marshes as little ringed plovers will be returning in less than two months.  We've been removing untold thousands of willow saplings in recent weeks with the return of teal to the habitat.  Whilst doing so we uncovered this disused nest in the rushes;

Further investigation suggests this is a harvest mouse nest - the timing being perfect given that most vegetation grew in the marsh post bird breeding season - which is peak harvest mouse breeding time, and the insides are lined with chewed leaves rather than down:
Harvest mice have been sporadically recorded on the reserve more from the North Marsh area, but it is always nice to find fresh evidence of their presence. Water vole was also seen on the marsh today, an unfortunate mink sighting near north lagoon which needs to be dealt with, and otter on North Marsh on Thursday - details on Paul Ashton's blog.