Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Snettisham, Eldernell and Eyebrook - A Mammoth Effort!

I debated my sanity as the alarm went off at 0245! My plan was to be at Snettisham by 0530 to experience the high tide and the wader extravaganza that normally forces thousands of waders off the Wash and onto the pits. I arrived in the car park at Snettisham in total darkness and needed to negotiate the very dark and muddy paths in order to be at the far end of the reserve by 0630. The water came and several thousand waders, Knot, Oystercatcher, Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin flew onto the pits, but it was not as spectacular as I remembered from previous visits. The light was too poor to get any decent pictures of the fly over so I made my way to a hide with good views of the pits. On my way a Barn Owl passed over. The Knot and Oystercatcher were on the bank opposite the hide, with a set demarcation line. Interspersed were Redshank, Turnstone, Dunlin and Bar Tailed Godwit, but in very small numbers. In front of the hide were Avocet and Black Tailed Godwit. The keen easterly breeze was beginning to bite, so I decided to walk back to the car, watching a very athletic Hare on my way. Nearing the end of the RSPB path, while watching a number of Linnet, (trying to turn them into Twite!), two Shorelark made a brief stop before flying off onto private land. Due to the early start, all images have suffered from high ISO settings! I think I should consider going out later in the day for (hopefully) better light? However, it is hard to break my routines - I have always been an early morning birder and starting out at mid morning does not feel right!

(More mediocre images on my website - see link opposite)

First Light (or the Burning Bush?)

Barn Owl

Knot (Spot the Redshank & Bar Tailed Godwit?)

Oystercatcher's caught up in the "lava flow" of Knot!

Brown Hare

Knot, Oystercatcher, Bar Tailed Godwit & Turnstone

Knot, Oystercatcher, Bar Tailed Godwit & Grey Lag Goose

Shorelark (Horned Lark)

Avocet, Black Tailed Godwit, Lapwing

Avocet & Black Tailed Godwit

It was still only 1030 and I decided to head for the Nene Washes at Eldernell but called in at Wolferton Triangle not really expecting to see anything and was delighted to spot two splendid male Golden Pheasant's disappearing into the woodland.

Arriving at Eldernell, the area was well flooded with around 20 distant Whooper Swans. I have never seen so many Pintail in one place, around 500, also Black Tailed Godwit numbering about 200, and two distant Common Crane's. It was interesting to see two Roe Deer out in the flood water. Thankfully, Bambi did not drown and both eventualy made it to dry land.

Roe Deer

Roe Deer

My final destination was to be Eyebrook Reservoir, an area that I do not visit very often. It was here that I had my first Red Kite of the day. A search of the water around the "Island" soon had me onto a Slavonian Grebe but no sign of the recent Black Necked Grebe. The feeders near the Stoke Dry layby had Goldfinch, Marsh Tit and Tree Sparrow with the usual common opportunists.

All in, a good day.

Today's Sightings: (Year ticks in red):

SNETTISHAM - Lapwing; Pheasant; Wren; Blackbird; Robin; Grey Lag Goose; Mallard; Dunnock; BH Gull; Shelduck; Redshank; Curlew; Tufted Duck; Coot; Cormorant; Moorhen; Egyptian Goose; LBB Gull; GBB Gull; Herring Gull; Oystercatcher; Canada Goose; Knot; Dunlin; Brent Goose; Med Gull; Black Tailed Godwit; Avocet; Barn Owl; Skylark; Reed Bunting; Dabchick; Wigeon; Pink Footed Goose; Teal; Bar Tailed Godwit; Barnacle Goose; Turnstone; Ringed Plover; Red Legged Partridge; Marsh Harrier; Goldeneye; Chaffinch; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Mute Swan; Linnet; Pintail; Shorelark; Goldfinch; Pied Wagtail; Kestrel; Magpie; Rook.


NENE WASHES - ELDERNELL - Grey Heron; BH Gull; Shoveler; Mute Swan; Carrion Crow; Gadwall; Kestrel; Herring Gull; Whooper Swan; Fieldfare; Mallard; Magpie; Lapwing; Wood Pigeon; Tufted Duck; Chaffinch; Wigeon; Pintail; Oystercatcher; Canada Goose; Grey Lag Goose; Black Tailed Godwit; Tufted Duck; Teal; Green Woodpecker; Shelduck; Blackbird; Redwing; Skylark; Common Crane; Rook; Starling; Jackdaw; Cormorant; Moorhen; Greenfinch; Great Tit; Robin; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Marsh Harrier; Coot; Pochard; Snipe; Wren; Great Crested Grebe; Blue Tit; Pheasant; Buzzard; Meadow Pipit.

EYEBROOK RESERVOIR - Slavonian Grebe; Common Gull; Grey Heron; BH Gull; Coot; Great Crested Grebe; LBB Gull; Wigeon; Tufted Duck; Wood Pigeon; Carrion Crow; Teal; Gadwall; Blackbird; Magpie; Rook; Mute Swan; Goldeneye; Cormorant; Mallard; Slelduck; Buzzard; Red Kite; Pheasant; Great Tit; Goldfinch; Pochard; Chaffinch; Blue Tit; Redwing; Robin; Dunnock; Marsh Tit; Pied Wagtail; Song Thrush; Canada Goose; Great Spotted Woodpecker; Tree Sparrow.


Alan said...

Some great shots Kevin - well worth the early start.

I think your deer are Roe.


Kevin Groocock said...

Cheers, Alan - a good days birding. Thanks for the ID on the deer - not my forte! They seemed to just appear in the middle of the floods, eventually running as the pic shows, but eventually having to swim as the water deepens.

Max Silverman said...

Blimey Kevin I got tired reading this.What an effort!!!!!!

Kevin Groocock said...

Next time, Max you will be invited to join me!

col wise said...

Wow Kev - what a great day and some great pictures - love the barn owl

Kevin Groocock said...

Cheers, Col.