Monday, March 20, 2023

📖 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 South of the Border ~ 15th/16th/03/2023

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Wednesday 15th March 2023 ðŸŒ¤ 2C ~ S @ 2MPH ~ Apologies for the lack of posts of late so I thought I'd begin my resurgence with a couple of diary entry's of my recent trip south to Warwickshire and  Norfolk.

Great White Egret drops onto East Marsh at Brandon

Water Rail from the John Walton Hide

Having driven down on the 14th to Warwickshire It was great to see some of my old buddies at Brandon Marsh, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust on the 15th. As I arrived a Green Woodpecker flew calling across the top reedbed and as I drove to the parking area a Cetti's Warbler called, both a scarcity in Aberdeenshire but Brandon has long been an excellent place to find both species. Although it was more about catching up with the guys for a good natter the birding produced some other good moments when a Great White Egret dropped onto East Marsh Pool and some good views of a Water Rail from the John Walton Hide.

Frozen Bank Vole

Also worth a mention was the above Bank Vole, which sadly appeared to be freezing to death on a small ice shelf in front of the hide. Thankfully after a short lack of activity, he scurried off unperturbed into the  nearby reedbed. 

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Thursday 16th March 2023 ðŸŒ¤ 5C ~ SW @ 5MPH ~ A drive over to Norfolk this morning for a few days birding but firstly a stop at Edernell, Cambridgeshire. The bank at Eldernell allows extensive views over the Nene Washes and it's a great place to look for Cranes and at this time of year, Short-eared Owls!

Red Kite passes close by at Eldernell.

After parking and a quick scan, which initially revealed two Common Cranes I took a walk along the bank as far as the spinney. What was apparent during my drive across and indeed as I began my walk was the amount of Red Kites I was encountering, at least a half dozen during the drive over and already two individuals overhead at Eldernell. It's 5 years since my last visit to the area and plain to see how the Red Kite population has rocketed in that time.

A male Marsh Harrier over Eldernell

With the recent rains, the area was well flooded so it was no surprise to draw a blank on any owl activity by the time I reached the spinney but I'd managed of note six Common Cranes, a pair of Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, four more Red Kite and a Kingfisher along the ditches. One surprise was to see and hear a Woodlark as it flew overhead heading east, a first for me here at Eldernell. Friends had told me to look out for a Tawny Owl which can be seen quite often in the spinney. 'Find the right hole and you'll find the owl'. Well despite a good search of many holes, cracks and crevices, no sign today but it was a little breezy!

Such a treat to watch this Long-eared Owl at Eldernell

On my walk back to the car it was time to check out the many hawthorn and bramble patches along the ditches in my search for owls. It paid dividends too with two Long-eared Owls and a single Short-eared Owl and I spent an enjoyable half hour watching one Long-eared Owl occasionally preening but most of the time sleeping, a very enjoyable visit! 

My first Sandwich Tern of the year resting on the fresh marsh at Titchwell.

The afternoon was spent at RSPB Titchwell and after lunch at the reserve a walk to the beach. It was good to see so many Brent Geese, a little scarce in northeast Scotland and so too Avocets which are here in good numbers. Some distant views of Marsh Harriers over the reedbeds, plus my first Sandwich Tern of the year was found nestled in amongst the resting Gulls. 

Meditteranean Gull at Titchwell

Talking of Gulls I remember Titchwell being a good place to see Meditteranean Gulls and I wasn't disappointed to find at least a half dozen. Three Chiffchaffs and a Stonechat by the time I reached the beach with little of note on the sea. Along the shoreline Oystercatchers, Sanderling and a single Bar-tailed Godwit.  Also of note during the visit Ruff, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Snipe, Redshank, Dunlin and the odd Curlew. To end the visit three Spoonbill over towards Thornham heading north.

More Images of the Day...

Short-eared Owl at Eldernell

Yet another wonderful Red Kite

Ruff at Titchwell