Monday, 24 November 2014

Titter ye not....

Earlier in the year Andy had a drive by sighting of a Marsh Tit at Witcham, since then there have been a couple of reports of Marsh Tit in that parish.  It's a scarce species within the Ely10 but I had high hopes of seeing one when we decided to take a family walk on Saturday afternoon in Fordham Woods.  First bird I heard was calling a sneezing "pitchoo" and a handsome Marsh Tit bounced and dropped through the thickety hedge on the entrance track, I was over the moon before I stepped foot on the boardwalks that cross the boggy woodland floor. This was my first visit to these small woods and I was beguiled by the wet Alder wood with open under canopy of sedge and mire.  I heard another Marsh Tit, admired a corner where I imagined a spring Firecrest singing and pondered the decline of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers which would have been a reasonable proposition in this habitat in decades past.  A great alternative to Wicken for a toddler friendly walk, I look forward to watching the seasons change here over the next year.

Sunday dawned grey and wet and the day continued in that vein.  After lunch we took the campervan out to keep the engine ticking over and headed for Welney.  Despite the rain I decided to have a look for Buzzards out the back of Lady Fen, I was surprised on first scan to find a hovering buteo and quickly got the scope out.  It was the Rough-legged Buzzard, I took some care checking the bird which was at some distance but felt happy with the extent of dark belly patches, tail pattern, wing structure and size of carpal patches.  It dropped into the hedgerow where I had last seen it and  I took a dampening as I walked out across the field to get a better view.  Better being a subjective term, definitely closer but unfortunately more obscured by branch and hampered by lens drizzle.  Nonetheless a very nice surprise under the dismal conditions.  On the reserve there were coach loads of avian admirers and lots of birds to look through, a flock of 30 or so Pink-feet flew down along the washland and were likely to have been the birds that were reported over Witcham earlier in the afternoon. The rising water levels and heavy drizzle made it ideal for ducks but not so great for birding, the lure of a cuppa and cake won out.