Monday, 27 February 2012

RSPB Titchwell 27/02/2012

Some images from a visit to the RSPB reserve at Titchwell, Norfolk.

Odd one out!


Black-tailed Godwit

Brent Geese arriving

Goldfinch leaving

Great Tit

Marsh Harrier

Pink-footed Geese fly over
 Had a great day out on the coast with DK and JA. We racked up a good number of species including a couple of firsts for me in Snow Bunting and Shore Lark (Holkham).

Monday, 20 February 2012

Otter, Biddenham Loop CP 20/02/2012

Managed to track down one of the Otters again this morning. A bit further up stream, into Biddenham Loop CP, from the previous sightings. Had a fun couple of hours playing "cat and mouse" with it before getting into position to snap these two images: 

It's amazing how an animal this size can slip past you unseen, but I got there in the end!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Otters again (19/02/2012)

I caught up with the Otters again this morning after blanking on Friday morning. All 3 were a short distance up stream from where I saw them on Thursday, in the reed beds. I followed them up stream as they hunted but found it really difficult to get any good shots, despite some very close encounters. Eventually one of them caught an Eel and came to the bank within 10 metres from my position. Unfortunately it was behind a tangle of brambles but I managed to get the following shot of it chomping a chunk of Eel. Finally it realised I was there and slipped into the water and across to the other side of the river. I could still hear it munching away but it took a while to pin down the location, well hidden in the reeds. I waited but as usual it finished the meal and slipped away, only given away by the hiss of a Mute Swan further up stream. I hurried up there and found the Swans (744 & 384) nest building and the Otter, by this time, on the opposite side of the river. I followed for a little while longer before being given the slip.

Otter eating chunk of Eel
There was little else of note this morning until I crossed the golf course, heading back towards the Mill. A small party of Canada Geese flew over (NE), looking stunning against the clear blue sky.

Canada Geese
Having crossed the golf course I came across a mixed flock of Linnets, Goldfinches, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. The Skylarks were singing well and a couple of Meadow Pipits perched up on the fence obligingly.

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit
 A little further along the trail and I came across a flock of Fieldfares (70+) in the fields between the Mill and Gt. Denham. Singing Skylarks were all around, a wonderful sound. Spring is truly in the air!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Gt. Ouse Otters (Kempston Mill)

I was on the look out for Otters again this morning after last week sighting. The first signs were some ripples at the south end of the island, in the river, just upstream from the church. While trying to identify the cause I spotted something further upstream, out of the corner of my eye, and the binoculars revealed an Otter coming down stream with a large fish in its mouth. This Otter disappeared behind the island so I returned my attention to the ripples and eventually a nose was spotted through the tangle of branches and a second Otter was confirmed. Next thing I knew the Otter with the fish joined the first and proceeded to munch on its prize. The other Otter had come across to my side of the river by this time and suddenly it was swimming past within a few feet of me. I hardly dared breath in case it spotted me, but fortunately it continued by and started hunting close in to the bank but out of sight, just the ripples and bubbles giving away its position.

I finally managed to get in a position to photograph the Otter eating the fish, a Bream I think. It was difficult to get any good shots with the low light and tangle of branches but here we go:  

After a while the second Otter joined the first at the fish and then a third Otter turned up! This was getting better and better. I just managed to get the three in frame together:

I was really hoping they might come out and play in the river after they finished their breakfast but sadly no, a couple of them moved into the reed bed on the opposite side of the river where I managed the best shot of the morning:

After that the activity died down and they just melted away. How do they do that?

What a morning and to top it off an Oystercatcher flew over, heading downstream, as I headed home along the back channel. Hopefully one of the Box End Park birds back for the breeding season.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Box End Park WeBS: 12/02/2012

Except for a tiny puddle in front of the club house the lake was completely iced over. The saving grace was the river on the east side of the site which was flowing free. Highlight of the visit was a Snipe which I flushed from the east shore of the lake. Full counts as follows:

Black-headed Gull 2
Canada Goose 1
Cormorant 3
Grey Heron 1
Mallard 32
Moorhen 8
Mute Swan 2 Both carrying Orange Rings 384 and 744
Snipe 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Total number of species: 9 Individuals: 51

There were tracks in the snow around the pipe which links the lake and the river. I'm reasonably confident they were Otter tracks. There was also spraint on the top of one of the pipes and more tracks at the bottom of the ditch linking to the river.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Badgers and Fox in the snow this week (W/C 04/02)

Wasn't expecting much from the camera trap this week given the snow and very low temperatures but I was pleasantly surprised.

Badgers were out in the snow several nights, I have put together a few clips covering a couple of nights:

This foxed passed through on the Sunday morning following the heavy snow on Saturday night:

Also had this Muntjac pass through on the Saturday before it snowed:

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Winter arrives

After a mild winter and thoughts of an early spring, winter arrived with a bang this week. Temperatures have been below -5C overnight and just above freezing during the day, then last night the snow arrived.

River Gt. Ouse at Kempston

River Gt. Ouse at Kempston
Made for some lovely landscapes though.

A walk along the river at Kempston Mill this morning was fairly quiet although 10 Teal flushed from the Back Channel was a nice surprise. Also had a Sparrowhawk, a couple of Yellowhammers and a party of Bullfinches, at least six. Fieldfares and Redwings were also about in small numbers.


Male and female Bullfinches