Monday, February 13, 2012

21.1.2012. And so it begins.......

Our departure to Norfolk was graced with foul weather, which I suspected was the large  slow eastward moving front I'd been within west of the Pennines yesterday. Cyclonic conditions and  useless visibility somewhat surprisingly didn't dampen our enthusiasm as exhaustive plans for the week were discussed, amended and re-examined. A breakfast stop north of Peterborough, marred by rain, produced an unexpected bonus of an overflying Red Kite which we conveniently took as a positive omen!

On to a rain soaked RSPB Fen Drayton Reserve which produced a reasonable list of year records but nothing unexpected. We gradually pressed on eastwards across the Fens calling in at various stopping off points we'd discovered in earlier years. The most uplifting sight was a flock of at least 600 Bewick's Swans feeding near the road and quietly bugling to one another. A combined total of 90 Linnet in two flocks, a Little Egret, several Kestrels, Grey Heron, and a LBBG moved our species total slowly forward!

A visit to the Santon Downham area began to lift our efforts, and the weather had improved too. Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Brambling and a variety of common species boosted our total which was now beginning to look respectable after the poor start! On to the RSPB Lakenheath Reserve and a decision to walk out to the farthest observation point overlooking the vast reedbed and stay until dark. The walk out produced a couple of Marsh Harrier coming in to roost but nothing more . We settled down and over the next hour and a half had a great time.  At least 13 Marsh Harriers, 3 Common Crane, a calling Water Rail, a nearby Cetti's Warbler and a short period of muted booming from a Bittern immediately previous to dusk were all welcome plus, and almost best of all, the sight of Matthew being mobbed by two Wrens as we were obviously sitting under their preferred entry point to a roosting niche in the roof of the observation shelter!! The walk back to the Centre in the dark was accompanied by the cacophony of countless corvids at roost in the woodlands alongside the pathway as they exchanged their final round of contact calls for the day.

And so to the Travelodge at Barton Mills where, following a visit to a real ale pub and a takeaway, further plotting and planning was indulged in for the coming day!!

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