Saturday, 19 April 2014

What’s cuckin’

Cuckoos have freshly arrived and are perhaps the vanguard of the big spring push.    The first bird was heard calling on the 15th by Roy Vincent, with daily occurrences and likely birds on Watton NR and North Marsh this morning.  Chiffchaff (Chris Bell):
Willow warbler and blackcap have been present since the beginning of the month in ever increasing numbers, with meadow pipits and alba wagtails moving through in numbers (check out Martin’s page for the latest on bird movements) and were augmented by the first yellow wagtail on D res wall on the 9th by Tony Robinson:
Pictures too by Eddie Laker:
The first house martins arrived on the 10th by Roy Vincent, followed by lesser whitethroat on the 12th, the first sedge warbler on the 18th by Martin Hodges, and the first common whitethroat this morning by Martin Lonsdale  Perhaps welcomed by passerines as much as a cuckoo were four lesser black backed gulls on Watton NR.  A pair looked promising last year; But failed to deliver – will they breed this?

Passing through was the first osprey of the year by Jeff Barker on the 16th, goosander on Hempholme Meadow was been interesting on the 18th, a pair of scaup have been a fixture on D res all month until at least the 16th, three Egyptian geese on Watton NR were of note this morning and a pair of pintail often on South Marsh East have been photogenic as ever – John Pickering:
Whooper swan by Rodney Maltas on the 13th was another departure, along with jack snipe on North Marsh on the 10th by Chris Cox, with all goldeneye now gone.

Best birds of the migration so far were a wheatear – an occasional year tick at Tophill on the access road and a common crane over the Water Works bird of the moment by John Leason on the 12th.  Otters have been seen but more eyes are on the much more rewarding water voles resident and burrow lining under North Marsh hide – photo by Chris Bell (see his blog for more):

And Eddie Laker:
Unfortunately there have been further reports of a mink in the North Lagoon area today which we are doing our best to catch before it devastates native breeders.  Also taking a dip have been grass snakes regular reports now – Chris Ulliott:
Chris Bell:
Eddie Laker:
A relatively textbook year so far; but what will tomorrow night bring in? South Easterlies out of Europe into a rain belt may not be great for camping, but they may make for interesting birding on Bank Holiday Monday…

Goldcrest by Chris Bell:
Pheasant holding territory on the old inspection ramp by Chris Ulliott:
Talking of holidays you may have noticed a drop in bloggings of late due to the end of financial year / new membership rush.  Plus I had a look at some exotica abroad too for a few days – New addition to North Marsh anyone?