Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Sculthorpe Moor

Tuesday January 24

We spent far too long at Natural Surroundings cafe, talking to the members of the mothing group who had turned up. K and M full of their Lynx watching trip to Spain, G and V looking forward to their Uganda trip next month and MH excited about Mull and Corncrakes. Very enjoyable. 
Such a beautiful day, it was tempting not to drive on to Sculthorpe Moor Hawk and Owl reserve. It would also be my longest continuous walk for many months. 
The best places for Elf Cap mushroom now have notices, asking photographers to stay on the boardwalk to avoid damage. My impression is that there were fewer of these mushrooms than in the past but, that could be attributed to several factors other than disturbance e.g. climate conditions last year and this.
I thought this looked like a green bug-eyed caterpillar.

We walked directly to Whitley Hide, around 500 metres along the boardwalk. It seemed longer as the whole area was devoid of birds. The new 'aerial' boardwalk for which we bought several boards, must be further on. 
Consternation when the hide came into view. The door was wide open, construction materials stacked outside and .......a man holding a drill. We still entered and found it full of birders apart from the low bench directly inside the door where the leaning shelf and window had been removed as had the one next to it. It was pretty chilly sitting there. The man continued to work round us, brushing wood clean and varnishing the sills.
Unsurprisingly, not much in the way of species. The best for us was the constant presence of two male Brambling and a Nuthatch, always good to see. A table full of Long Tailed Tits, 

one Reed Bunting, Blue, Great and Marsh Tits, seven Collared Doves sitting on the far table. 
The water was still frozen, I enjoyed watching a pair of Mallard make their way very sure-footedly along  - until they stood still and first one foot and then the other would slide sideways.

Frozen ankles prompted me to leave for the trudge back which was notable for two Red Kites, soaring over the trees. It was fortunate that I happened to look up at the right time.

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