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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (28th May 2017)

It continued to be yet another exceedingly hot day, with temperatures easily rising above 20°C. The cloud cover in the morning helped to temporarily avert the worst of the heat until the afternoon, but high humidity made walking around the reserve particularly uncomfortable.

Throughout the morning it was pleasing to see the female Marsh Harrier continually patrolling the scrape and reed beds. At one point see appeared to have caught a small bird, possibly a warbler, and she would occasionally dive into the reeds just in front of the tower hide.

The following was seen since 8.00am:
Nuthatch x 2
Cuckoo x 1 - At least one was heard throughout the morning, then seen briefly near the River Viewing Platform.
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 1
Marsh Harrier x 1 - As previously mentioned, the single female was seen patrolling the scrape throughout the morning.
Buzzard x 2
Linnet x 2 - A pair were seen briefly, on the ground, alongside Victor's Hide.
Lapwing x 2
Sand Martin x 6
Swallow x 1
Reed Warbler x 4
Sedge Warbler x 1
Reed Bunting x 6
Sparrowhawk x 1
Bullfinch x 3
Chaffinch x 8
Jay x 2
Blue Tit x 3
Blackbird x 3
Dunnock x 2
Great Tit x 2
Treecreeper x 1 - It was seen at the bottom of the ramp leading up to the Tower Hide.
Song Thrush x 1
Little Grebe x 1
Kestrel x 1
Greenfinch x 3

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Sightings at Sparham Pools (21st May 2017)

I arrived at 8.00am to find that the weather was surprisingly warm and with such a little amount of cloud cover the temperatures remained constant at around 17-18°C.

It was well worth the visit because at 8.30am I had an excellent view of a pair of Cuckoo who continued to call to one another as they flew across the water and then headed in a westerly direction, towards Lyng. They continued to call throughout the morning but this was my only sighting. 

However, the best was yet to come because at around 8.40am, I witnessed a pair of Cranes as they flew across the field on the northern edge of the reserve. The pair continued to call quite loudly as they too flew in a westward direction, towards the River Wensum.

The following were seen between 8.00am and 10.30am:
Blackbird x 5
Long-tailed Tit x 3
Blue Tit x 6
Canada Goose x 3
Tufted Duck x 3
Black-headed Gull x 93 - Similar numbers to those that were counted during the previous WeBS count on the 14th May.
Coot x 9
Great Crested Grebe x 3
Cuckoo x 2 - As mentioned previously, a pair were seen calling to one another then headed west.
Common Tern x 2 - The pair remained on the island, alongside the gulls, throughout most of the morning.
Reed Warbler x 2 - Several were heard throughout the morning, with several Sedge Warblers, but these were the only the pair that were seen.
Crane x 2 - They were calling loudly as they flew across the field on the northern edge of the reserve.
Kestrel x 1
Cormorant x 1
Mute Swan x 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 1
Great Tit x 2
Mallard x 3
Swift x 7

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (13th May 2017)

It was another quiet afternoon at Sculthorpe Moor, after I began my warden duties at around 1.00pm. The weather was very changeable, but temperatures eventually reached 16°C-17°C.

There was plenty of Sand Martin activity over the scrape throughout the afternoon and there were further reports of them using the artificial sand bank by Victor's Hide.

Bullfinch x 2
Blackcap x 1 - A single male seen close to the Frank Jarvis hide.
Greenfinch x 3
Jay x 1
Reed Bunting x 2
Sedge Warbler x 1
Tufted Duck x 2 - A pair were seen opposite Whitley Hide, at the end of the channel of water.
Swallow x 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 1 - A single female seen on the southern edge of Oak Fen, near the feeders.
Sand Martin x 8 - As mentioned before, they were seen continually flying above the scrape.
Canada Goose x 2
Nuthatch x 1
Little Grebe x 3
Little Egret x 2 - The pair were seen together as they flew over the scrape in a westerly direction.
Marsh Tit x 1

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (7th May 2017)

The weather continued to be cold and drizzly throughout the day. Therefore, it was unsurprising that the temperatures never exceeded 10°C, and this ultimately had an impact on the wildlife we managed to see.

On a more positive note it was excellent to see at least two Sand Martins entering the artificial nesting chambers, next to Victor's Hide. It was especially surprising since the Sand Martin Bank was only completed in the last three weeks and there was little expectation that it would be visited so soon.

Anyway, the following was seen since our arrival at 9.30am:

Little Grebe x 2 
Canada Goose x 3
Bullfinch x 3
Grey Heron x 1
Kingfisher x 1 - It was seen hovering in front of Whitley Hide for nearly a minute. It then headed towards the scrape.
Marsh Harrier x 1 - A single female gliding low over the reed bed in front of the Whitey Hide.
Reed Bunting x 3
Sedge Warbler x 1
Swallow x 1 - It was gliding over the surface of the water outside Victor's Hide, possibly drinking.
Nuthatch x 3
Whitethroat x 1 - It was seen just beyond the gate to private land, halfway down the track from the Visitor Centre.
Buzzard x 1
Green Woodpecker x 1 - It was heard calling to begin with, followed by a clear sighting between the feeders and Water Vole bridge. 
Sand Martin x 2 - The pair were seen flying above Peter Johnson's hide.

Also seen once again was the Water Vole at the Dyke Viewing Platform. It seemed to be unconcerned by our presence and continued to feed for several minutes. 

The following was a short video I managed to capture at the time:



Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (30th April 2017)

It was a quiet morning at Sculthorpe Moor, despite the fact that it turned out to be pleasantly warm throughout the day. I continued with my warden duties, which included filling the feeders and talking to other birders around the reserve.

The following was seen since my arrival at 8.30am:
Buzzard x 2 - The pair were seen circling over Oak Fen first thing in the morning. 
Sparrowhawk x 1 - A single bird was attempting to mob the pair of Buzzards but then headed to the Scrape.
Reed Bunting x 5
Little Grebe x 2
Cormorant x 1
Chaffinch x 2
Songthrush x 1
Mute Swan x 2
Greylag Goose x 11
Red Kite x 1 - It was seen flying close to the Visitor Centre mid morning, then drifted south.
Jay x 1
Sedge Warbler x 3 - All were seen alongside the boardwalk, opposite Oak Fen. 
Marsh Tit x 2
Treecreeper x 1 - It appeared to have a moth in its beak and was seen close to the boardwalk in Dry Wood. 
Canada Goose x 1
Greenfinch x 3
Nuthatch x 1 - Seen briefly on the feeder at the bottom of the ramp, leading to the Tower Hide.
Great Spotted Woodpecker x 1 - The male was perched on a branch, close to the Nuthatch sighting, then headed towards Whitley Hide. 

Butterflies
Large White x 1
Orange Tip x 3
Comma x 1
Peacock x 2

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sightings at Sculthorpe Moor (23rd April 2017)

It was my first day volunteering as a warden at Sculthorpe Moor and it was fantastic to see such a variety of raptors on display. The weather was also pleasant, with temperatures gradually rising to 12°C, and there was a light breeze throughout the morning.

Map of Sculthorpe Moor.

The following was seen since 8.30am:

White-tailed Eagle x 1 - A distant sighting (at 12.15pm) as it was flying above the wooded area on the eastern side of the reserve. It then drifted towards Fakenham and did not appear again.
Nuthatch x 1
Buzzard x 6 - All seen as they mobbed the White-tailed Eagle. They then returned to the reserve after it had been driven-away.
Kestrel x 1 - Hovering close to Victor's Hide, late morning.
Sedge Warbler x 3 - All seen along the River Wensum and a lot more were heard throughout the morning.
Little Egret x 1
Reed Bunting x 3
Marsh Harrier x 1 - A female seen flying along the River Wensum in a westerly direction.
Sparrowhawk x 1 - It was seen from a distance on the eastern side of the reserve, flying in a northerly direction.
Cuckoo x 1 - It was seen opposite Victor's Hide, perched along the telephone lines at the back of the fen.
Kingfisher x 1
Grey Heron x 1

Butterflies and Mammals
Water Vole x 1 - At least one was seen along the dyke. It also appeared quite tolerate of us being there as it sat only a foot away from us.
Orange Tip x 2
Peacock x 1

Monday, 17 April 2017

Sightings at Hickling Broad (17th April 2017)

It was our first visit to Hickling Broad and it easily met our expectations. The management of the reserve is exceptional and I can now see why it enjoys such an excellent reputation.

The approach to Cadbury Hide.

The weather was slightly warmer than expected, forecasts predicted temperatures of around 8°C, but the large amount of cloud cover did cause temperatures to drop sporadically.

The following was seen since our arrival at 9.10am:

Blackcap x 1
Chiffchaff x 3 - One individual was seen building a nest alongside the path near Deary's Pool.
Little Egret x 2
Snipe x 1 - It appeared momentarily, directly opposite the Cadbury Hide, but then disappeared from view.
Willow Warbler x 1 - Several were heard throughout the morning but the only individual seen was close to the Cadbury Hide.
Bearded Tit x 1 - A single male seen briefly flying above the reeds, on the right hand side, as we walked away from Secker's Hide.
Scaup x 3 - A single male accompanied by two females, seen from the first view point.
Great Crested Grebe x 4
Grey Heron x 1
Sedge Warbler x 2 - The two individuals were both seen close to the Observation Hut.

One of the Sedge Warblers seen close to the Observation Hut.

Wren x 2
Kestrel x 1 - It was first seen hovering close to the Observation Hut, then directly opposite the Cadbury Hide in the early afternoon.
Crane x 5 - They were all seen flying towards Bygrave's Marsh, but then headed in a north easterly direction.
Marsh Harrier x 1
Pied Wagtail x 2

The following butterflies were seen during our visit, but no sign of the Swallowtail (unfortunately):

Speckled Wood x 2
Small White x 4
Holy Blue x 1