Tuesday 29 December 2009

Two Otters and a Fudge

Recent highlights: Otter watched for 20 minutes at Buckenham at dusk on 23rd December. Otter sprainting on floats at Barton Broad on 28th December, plus male Ferruginous Duck. Lots of Taiga Bean Geese. Happy Christmas!

NWT Barton Broad

Otter eating an eel at Buckenham

Sunday 20 December 2009

More snow

It snowed again heavily last night. Didn't fancy driving down the lanes, so donned me boots and me and Willow headed off across the fields to the marshes. A beautiful morning; didn't see a soul until my way back from Buckenham. Counted 53 Hares in the same field as yesterday. Some were in snow holes with only their heads poking out. Not a lot down at the marshes. The local Peregrines were battling an intruding female who eventually powered off east. Several Marsh Harriers abroad, and I had a brief view of a probable Merlin. Two Water Pipits were near the fishermen's car park. No swans this morning. Hundreds of geese were on the move over Cantley way, but too distant to see what they were. Two Pinks were with the local Greylags, which I tried to string into Tundra Beans for a bit.

Later, went down to Cantley. Had a look through a huge group of Pinks feeding near the Cock, but couldn't see the Pale-bellied Brent reported earlier. Had a quick look at the marshes, and found about 70 Taiga Beans to the north of the railway line with 20-30 White-fronts. On the way home it was -3 deg as the sun was setting.

White over

Let it snow! Sketchy drive down to Buckenham early afternoon in the snow revealed 11 Whooper Swans flying along the river. This echoed yesterday's 65 which went west over Bewick House in Norwich. A lovely walk was taken along the river bank to Fleet Dike, where the Great Northern Diver was found busily fishing along the river. Lots of birds on the move with Golden Plover, Snipe and Lapwing all looking a bit bemused by the white stuff. Snipe were feeding out in the middle of the snow, happily probing away. As we walked back, another 9 Whooper Swans went west.
Amazingly the scattered brown lumps in the field at the top of the station road, turned out to be hares - 48 in all!

Sunday 13 December 2009


Went down to Buckenham first thing. A female Peregrine was sitting on a little mound in the grass on the northeast side. Later she went off over towards the railway line and appeared to land in a tree. The Great Northern Diver, a first winter, was on the river still, showing well between the fishermen's car park and the pub. I saw it catch and eat a small Roach. Also this morning, three Stonechats and two Black-tailed Godwits. No sign of any geese.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Early morning goose action

70 Pinkfeet went west over the house at 7.30am today, followed by 15 Greylags going southeast. You just can't move for geese round here.
In fact, within five miles of my house I have seen the following 8 species of geese in the last couple o' weeks:

Greylag (naturalised)
Euro White-fronted
Taiga Bean
Barnacle (naturalised)
Atlantic Canada (naturalised)
Red-breasted (escaped)
Egyptian (naturalised)


Sunday 6 December 2009

3 Bean Chilly

Another crack at finding the elusive fabalis. It was raining when Willow and me arrived at Cantley. Nothing around, so we headed across to the river to walk the river bank to Buckenham. The rain was fairly light and the wind strong. Very little bird action, save a couple of Curlew and 7 Shelduck flying around. I bumped into a lad called John who had walked from Buckenham, the opposite way to me. I hoped he would have news, but sadly he hadn't seen any geese. Doh!
Will I ever see these pesky Beans?
Anyway, I decided to continue for a little way, as it was nice to be out and the hangover was being blown away rapidly. Rounding some trees, I suddenly saw some geese dropping in, behind a reedbed. I carried on a little way, then peering through the reedtops, I could see a big gang of White-fronts. It occurred to me that I was viewing the northeast corner of Buckenham, but a lot closer than from the windpump. Great views of the White-fronts were had from my obscured position. I didn't dare venture into the open as I didn't want to flush them. Suddenly, some white tertial edges caught my eye...Then, three large, dark wedge-shaped heads craned upwards: Taiga Bean Geese! Totally unexpected, these three had somehow lost the main flock and were hanging out with the White-fronts. They dwarfed the smaller geese, and strutted around in the grass, showing large orange bills, bright orange legs and feet, a rather peculiar sort of buffy-tan breast and dark rear flank patch, dark brown upperparts with neat white fringing. Really corking.

I retraced my steps carefully so as not to flush the birds. I shortly bumped into John and I exchanged my good news. Without warning the heavens opened and I made my excuses and headed off. Within minutes my jeans were soaked through to the skin, as was my hat and gloves. It all felt worthwhile though, seeing the Beans. I strode back along the bank triumphant, battling the gale force wind and driving rain. Willow didnt seem to notice and went charging down the path and fell straight in a ditch. This was hilarious and Willow didnt seem to mind. I think she could sense my delight at seeing the Beans.
As we reached the level crossing, the rain eased, so I had one last scan to the west. To my amazement, a large group of dark geese were dropping in about a quarter of a mile away. They disappeared among the rushes, but I was sure they were more Beans. I scooted up the hill, put Willow, who now resembled a drowned rat, in the car then walked west along the bridleway. Sure enough 70 Bean Geese were in the process of dropping in from the northwest. Where had they come from? They treated me to fabulous views, despite the wind and rain as they grazed their way through the grass. I even managed a few photos. Awesome!
I love birding in the rain!

Geese 1 - 0 Jono

5th December: Buckenham
The Taiga Bean Geese are back, or so is the rumour, with up to 65 seen during the week. Arrived as the sun came up and headed round to the windpump. The marshes are very wet now, as is the path, due to all the rain we have had recently. A scan across the marshes revealed a lot of goose action, with c 50 dark geese heading south across the river. Could these be the Beans?
88 White-fronted Geese were in their usual spot over in the northeast corner of the site. Little else of note, save a late Barn Owl nonchalantly sitting in a tree on Claxton Marshes. Sadly, the geese that had flown south never returned. I had a quick look at Cantley, but not a sausage.