Monday, 11 March 2013

Winter returns

The weather this weekend was hardly conducive to encourage people out birding. It rained heavily all of Friday night and on into Saturday morning. Unfortunately having livestock means that staying in the dry in a cosy warm bed is not an option for me particularly at this time of year with ewes and lambs to feed. Somebody also had to get out to check the small group of ewes on the far marshes and with husband sticking resolutely to the bed option I headed off into the wet.
There were new pools of water everywhere and the dykes were full to the brim. Two Grey Herons stood disconsolately by one of them. A soggy, sulky looking Marsh Harrier sitting on the ground amongst the rushes allowed a very close approach before it took reluctantly to the air. Looking unconcerned about the weather however was a flock of about 100 Teal enjoying the new feeding opportunities provided by the rain.
In the afternoon we headed en famille to Ipswich where younger daughter was swimming 50m Freestyle in the County Championships. At least it was warm in the Crown Pools. After a brief visit to the in-laws we headed for home but by now the rain had turned to snow and there was also flooding to contend with. By the time we got home the bottle-fed lambs were very hungry and very cross.
Much of the snow had melted by Sunday morning and the marshes were even wetter, the dykes now overflowing. A strong bitter easterly wind driving icy particles into your face made visiting the sheep even more unpleasant but it had to be done. A pair of Greylags that seem to have taken up residence on our marshes couldn't be bothered to fly and just waddled away as I approached. A very pale Buzzard sat on a gate post caused a moment of excitement but was just a Common. Not surprisingly it was otherwise very quiet.
The afternoon was spent in the much more pleasurable pursuit of 'lounge birding' ie sitting by a roaring log fire watching what came to the bird feeders viewable from the lounge window. A party of at least 5 Reed Buntings, the majority male, seemed to be a permanent feature and single Coal and Marsh tits also put in an appearance along with a smart male Great Spotted Woodpecker. A quick nip out through the garden to top up the lambs creep feeder also gave me excellent views of a Treecreeper creeping up a Silver Birch in a more sheltered part of the garden.
In the evening I went to see Chris Packham delivering his Wild Night Out talk at the UEA in Norwich. He was an excellent speaker delivering a talk that had the audience enthralled with beautiful photographs and a blend of humour, stories and facts spiced up with some controversial (to many) ideas. Well worth going to see if you get the opportunity.

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