Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Sculthorpe in Sun

Tuesday November 26

Pam was having a dozy morning. At my suggestion, she had her breakfast first , yet we were still at Sculthorpe Moor reserve soon after 10.30. After basking in the warm car, sun streaming in, getting out was a rude awakening, cheek-stingingly cold. Fortunately there was little wind.
I don't much enjoy the 400 metre  walk down a pot-holed track to the start of the boardwalk, usually with very  few birds appearing. The rest of the reserve is good boardwalk topped with chicken wire for good grip. There were frequent warnings of 'slippery boards' but they weren't.
Despite no exercise since Scilly, we decided to do the circular route via the Woodland Hide instead of directly to Whitley hide.
We added Marsh Tit en route and then enjoyed sitting watching seven Greenfinches, 3+ Brambling, Blue and Great Tits and a Robin both on the feeders and on the ground below. Two very brightly head-marked Pheasants strolled in to the ground feeder. Although they are so common in Norfolk and in our garden, I've never bothered photographing them. So I did.

 The Brambling were in the shade and I trashed all my pics as not good enough.
We often see Siskin and Redpoll in the Alders leading back to the direct track, none to-day. Our first Willow Tits of the year, attracting our attention with their wheezy call, was a welcome experience. I also photographed splendid, fresh, Bracket Fungus but, for some odd reason ,took them as video. After inspecting my Canon 200 I still don't understand why!!

Pam's photo
Two birders in Whitley soon left. It was lunchtime. We sat in  pole position viewing the right hand feeders until........ 
We looked at each other as running feet pounded along the boardwalk, becoming thunderous on the incline to the hide. Kids I thought. The door smashed open, all the birds flew away and a loud voice called 'Hallooooooo, there were Bramblings here an hour ago'. There were 2 minutes ago too ! He turned out to be Mike, one of the volunteer wardens, elderly and wearing a hearing aid. Pam had a coughing fit and departed. I asked him if there were any Marsh Harriers left, knowing that the reserve's birds migrated south. We then - and on the walk back - had a very interesting conversation about the reserve, displaying Goshawks, no breeding Barn Owls this year and only 3 fledged Tawnies. Let's hope for a less cold winter and drier Spring in 2013/14. 
The birds from the hide were disappointingly poor in variety. More Bramblings, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits. 


Adult male Blackbird
We expect to see Bullfinches, Water Rail and Reed Bunting. After an hour, it was time to leave.
I almost suggested looking at the box near Whitley to see if there was a Tawny showing...but we were both cold. On return to the Centre, there was a Tawny Owl on the CCTV camera, showing well in the nest box I'd thought of visiting. Another look at the Harvest Mouse box in the warm Centre saw it perched on top of its cage heater. Pam took a good photo earlier.

Harvest Mouse
At 2.30, the light is fading fast but maybe just enough time to try for the Parrot Crossbills at Holt Country Park. We've only visited there a couple of times and missed the entrance so gave it a miss and drove home.

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