Saturday, 8 March 2014

Much Better than Ollie's Farm

Friday March 7
Ollie's farm was the well known site for viewing Goshawk in the early months of the year. About three years ago the site was closed off. Parking was perilous, a very rough, heavily potholed and small area off the A11 or in a roadside layby which involved a walk and a perilous road crossing. It was then at least 2 kilometres along a pleasant track beside a firing range. The latter was not visible as the area was heavily forested but, shots could be heard. Why was it closed? Who knows....I don't.  I can conjecture that it was something to do with the range or maybe because growing trees were gradually obscuring the viewing 'clearing'.
There had been rumours of a 'secret' but well known new area. Not by us, until friend Bob told us to try the road to the Iceni Village. We decided to explore to-day as the favoured sunny conditions were forecast for the afternoon.
Setting the SatNav for Cockley Cley, we turned off on the road signed to the Iceni Village and found what we'd hoped for. Three birders' cars parked in a layby facing a clearing with mixed woodland beyond. Just enough room to park and scan the area. We didn't have to wait long before seeing several Buzzards float along and then....Pam saw a raptor rise from the far corner.  One became two Goshawks who performed a very distant and short sky dance before descending out of view and then rising, repeating the manouevre.
The other birders reacted to the song of a rising Woodlark from a meadow behind us, one of them recognised the song, we already had. BJ came over to talk with us and when I mentioned the 'easy Goshawk' his face was a picture. Although scopes had been trained in that direction, no-one else had seen them. Whoops.
The sun gradually produced a blue sky. More Buzzards appeared as did a Kestrel. BJ's shout to the other birders dragged us back to the woods where, in the same area as we'd previously viewed a pair,  a lone Goshawk put on an at least 10 minutes flying experience, occasionally displaying. Excellent. The best and definitely the longest views I've ever had. I was able to view through my scope, eyepiece set at 50x. Very happy, we tried and failed to find the Iceni Village, all we found was a closed Museum.
Back via Norwich and B and Q for a new strawberry planter, my ancient half barrel has finally disintegrated beyond usefulness.
Why was it better than Ollie's?
Easy parking. No walking. Better viewing. We'll go again.

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