You’ve probably missed my weekly ramblings of late, but then again perhaps not . . . . anyway, it has been hard trying to get out and about enjoying our wildlife recently as it has been so painfully cold. After a few brighter days recently I rather hoped for better today, but as we arrived at Stodmarsh this morning, there was snow in the air. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained and I have just got back from a great day out.
The walk through the woodland started really well with around 8 Blackbirds, a dozen or more Redwing, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Wren. Sally found some flowering Coltsfoot – the first I have seen this year. Further along, as Sally and I were getting close to a couple of Robin, Malcolm had found a Great Spotted Woodpecker.
Along the duck-boarding we came across the Penduline Tit which has been around for several weeks. We had great views as it fed on the seeds of Reedmace, pulling seeds out and getting buffeted by the wind. There were four other bird-watchers/photographers at the same spot, and as we stood back a Barn Owl came from behind us and swooped right over their heads. We did discuss the photographic opportunity that an Owl taking a Penduline Tit from a Reedmace would make, but then decided that amazing as it would be – I’d probably miss it with the camera anyway! We spent some time enjoying the bird before the cold got the better of us and we had to move on. We felt slightly warmer inside having enjoyed this encounter.
We had planned to head for the Marsh Hide, and as Malcolm wanted to check out some Willows for Galls, we strode out in that direction. We were held up by a Treecreeper which perched for ages in front of us, it’s brilliant white breast showing off beautifully against the mossy trunk. With our warming layers we failed to get gloves, cameras and telescope aligned in time to get the definitive shot, but the memory was a great one. Further along there were a couple of Redpolls feeding in the dead leaves.
We pushed on towards the hide and as we arrived some others were leaving with the news that there were several Water Pipits around. “Lots of them but hard to see” were the instructions! Scanning the pool we found Lapwing, Snipe, Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Coot, Redshank, and finally the Water Pipit. We found about four of them, and had reasonable views although they were a way off. Another bird-watcher had arrived and was waxing lyrical about the pink hue on one of the birds. Try as I might I did struggle to see it well. There was a bit of a pinky tinge in certain light but then wishful thinking can be a great thing. A flock of around 12 Dunlin flew in, they were very jumpy and refused to settle for very long, being moved off by Snipe and Lapwing.
With lunch over we were off again, this time to Seaton Pits. This is a new site for me – I always seem to miss the local group outings there. Again, it was cold, but the trees did give some shelter. In the fields near the lane there were lots of Fieldfare and a few Redwing. Wood Pigeons seem to be in high numbers everywhere.
On the pools there were around a dozen Gadwall, some Teal, large numbers of Black Headed Gull, three Common Gull and Wigeon. On the way back we saw Wren, more Fieldfare and Sally spotted a Kestrel fly though which perched up in a tree.
The weather forecast for next week is milder so migrants should be on the move soon – well in the time for our Coach Trip to Minsmere on 12th May – don’t forget to secure your place, Sally still has tickets available.