Thursday, 9 December 2010

Another Day on Worth Marsh

Most of what I am going to say is a repeat of the SBBO report for the day as Ian and I strolled around and across Worth Marsh.
The day actually started at St Georges where we saw the Sandwich flock of waxwings - 22 today. I took a few shots but the angle to the sun was all wrong and they were rubbish.
The stroll across Worth marsh was very productive and although cold it was not as cold as the other option - a walk to the point.
Along the track to the train gates there were plenty of thrushes (blackbird, redwings and fieldfares) though most were on the southern side of the hedge and could only be heard departing. The only birds I got a decent view of were the reed buntings where at one point 17 could be seen in a single bush.
Onto the marsh proper and almost immediately we started seeing raptors in the form of marsh harriers and sparrow hawks (2).
We actually settled on 4 marsh harriers in total but over the course of the walk saw them on at least 10 occassions. There were definitely 2 different males, one being particularly light, 1 female and one very dark juvenile.
Near to roaring gutter we again saw the king fisher flying across the frozen pasture. Also out on the pasture were several hundred duck (wigeon mainly) and 20 dunlin.
Once across the train lines (and on the Chequers side of the tracks) we saw more dunlin (~10) and continued to see the marsh harriers. Then we had a falcon fest.
It started with a peregrine sitting on the bank of one of the dykes. Then Ian spotted a merlin flying north (distant) whch was quickly lost from view only to be replace by 2 more peregrines having a skermish - from the size difference they must have been a male and female, all the time the dyke peregrine staying put.
The final significant sighting was as we approached the Ancient Highway. As we walked through the tussock grass we put up ~20 common snipe and 1 jack snipe - the latter taking to the air when I nearly trod on it (though I have to admit I hadn't seen it until it took to the air).
Walking back along the Ancient highway the new turf field had a decent head of mippits and skylarks (no lapland bunting) and a flock of 15 linnet. This one was on the lapland bunting track
Yellow hammer
The final bird of note was on the Obs track where a yellow hammer was hiding in amongst the chaffinches.
So a good day for the birds but not so good with the camera. Because of the great light I had the thing ready for raptor shots for the entire walk but none came close enough even for a record shot.

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