Thursday, 14 January 2016

Wednesday 13th January

In the morning I walked around Shustoke, the Great Northern Diver was still present but surprisingly elusive, again there was no sign of the Red-crested Pochard. The wildfowl numbers were pretty static with the same two Wigeon on the small pool still.

I walked down the river where there were good numbers of Siskin and Goldfinch in the riverside larch. There were at least half a dozen Lesser Redpoll amongst them. I checked out my field near the Sheep paddocks but there were only a few Bunting with numbers well down on last years totals.

My search for Woodcock took me off the paths and I was surprised to find in some of the more sheltered areas that some of the Hawthorn were in leaf! It was certainly cooler today and I can’t help but think these plants will get caught out with a cold snap.

The afternoon saw me making another attempt at the Ladywalk Bittern. It seems if I go in the morning the bird shows in the afternoon, if I go in the afternoon it shows in the morning. So I found myself heading straight to Riverwalk hide determined not to leave until I had connected. Signs weren’t good the bird had been seen briefly twice earlier, and the hide was full of disappointed punters, bemoaning their luck. After about 90 minutes and a bit of banter, I was being painted as the villain of the peace! Twice I heard “It’s his fifth trip – its down to him”.

A late arrival announced that birds usually showed just as he tucked into his sandwiches! After two hours continually scanning the reeds I was getting a little bored. I looked at my watch 3.30pm, it was looking like another blank. I heard the sandwich box opening and started another sweep, I detected a bit of moment in the left hand channel, straining my eyes I concentrated on the spot and then there was another movement and the Bittern walked into view I shouted out but the bird carried on walking into the dense cover. All I could hear was the guy next to me’s camera shutter clicking away and someone choking on a sandwich! At that point another couple came into the hide literally 30 seconds too late! I continued to scan the area and again picked up moment as the bird rearranged its feathers and with that it started to walk back along the entrance to the channel, it proceeded to jump across the gap and walk straight into the main reed bed. All in all it was on show for less than 30 seconds but I left the hide a happy and relieved man. No doubt I will now see Bittern several times and will be tripping over them – I wish!

One final note in the car park at Ladywalk there were two Brown Rats feeding on the bird table, I have an annual battle each Autumn with rats in my garden so far I’m 14 - 0 up. But this year I’m only just on top, they are persistent little buggers. Anyway, I digress I walked right up to these two and was that close that I peered through the cage at them, and they took no notice of me! I could have touched them if I had chose too. If any of the people that run the Reserve want the problem solving I have the experience and the firepower, you know who to call!

No comments: