News of Bewicks Swans at Reedham Marshes had me pounding the Haddiscoe New Cut late morning in search of another Patchwork tick after being assured by my husband that they would be viewable from the end of the Cut although a better view would be had 400 yards further along the river wall. I pointed out that this was outside the Patch.
Things seemed a little quiet at first with just a couple of Little Egrets and a few ducks. A haze made views up the island towards where the Rough-leg usually hangs out appalling. Reaching the end of the New Cut, a 2.5 mile walk from the bridge, there was no sign of Reedham marshes let alone any Bewicks Swans and I had to walk a good deal further than 400 yards to get a view. The Bewicks had moved on so I walked a little further to a corner of the river wall to get a view up the Island. Scanning across there I couldn't see the Rough-leg but in the distance I spotted what appeared to be 3 Bewicks Swans. Just as I was about to turn back a raptor flying towards me caught my eye and I was treated to a fly-past by a Rough-legged Buzzard. It flew towards and then over the New Cut out on to Thurlton Marshes then dropped out of sight below the level of the embankment.
My walk back to the Cut was a little faster than my walk out. Scanning Thurlton Marshes there was no sign of the Rough-leg but there was a superb male Peregrine sat on a gate. Approaching Marsh Farm I checked out the swans again and with slightly better views confirmed them as Bewicks. At that moment the Rough-leg reappeared flying back over the New Cut barely 100yards away and glided back out onto the marsh to land on a gate just 300yards away. Of course I had come without my camera! I savoured my best views of the year, looked again at the Bewicks and turned back to the buzzard to find it had moved on. The walk back to the car felt much easier and as a bonus the sun came out.
Yesterday afternoon I did another Winter Thrushes survey walk. Thrushes seemed to have melted away from my 1km square with just 5 Blackbirds and 5 Fieldfares on the entire route. Ironically I saw my biggest flock of thrushes of all my surveys, 70 Fieldfares, feeding in maize stubble just outside my square so I can't count them. A bonus bird was a Woodcock flushed from the edge of a wood. After doing my survey I went to buy sheep feed from a local farmer at Norton Subcourse and had a pair of Grey Partridges crossing the road in front of me. This morning when I went to feed the ewes at Thurlton I saw a second pair just opposite the gate to the field. There seems to be a mini population explosion in the area.