Sunday, 4 January 2015

Buzzards, Bittern and Beans

Despite the appalling weather and forecast for rain most of the day I decided to venture out to the washes to look for Bean Geese and who knows maybe a rare duck or a Glossy Ibis or the like.  My birding started whilst driving uo the Queen Adelaide road and a very pale buzzard caught my eye perched up on a fence post. I pulled the car over and grabbed the bins I could see an extremely pale headed bird which got my hopes up it was a rough-leg. The bird soon flew away from me and I was able to see a pale tail base but not right for a rough-leg - too diffuse a band with white bleeding into brown but certainly a bird that could catch out the unsuspecting. Closer inspection through the scope revealed other details not right - no feathered legs and no dark marked belly. I fired off a few digiscoped images just for the record.
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

I carried on further down the road and stopped at the beet pits. As I was just about to get out of the car a Bittern took flight and landed a few feet away from me. Great maybe an opportunity for a photo. That thought quickly disappeared. The cryptic nature of the bird meant I couldn't even see it again let alone photograph it. Time to move on to the east side of the washes. Very difficult conditions and driving rain meant I had to abandon my plan of walking from Four Balls farm northwards, a Marsh harrier the only noteworthy bird seen in the 10 mins or so I battled the conditions. Back to the car and a change of clothes as the weather worsened. I decided the only thing to do was drive around the fens looking for Swans and Geese. Several whooper flocks were found but no geese amongst them. A drive down a track near pymoor took me to quaker farm. here there was some crop in the field which was attracting finches. Periodically these would fly up to the overhead telegraph wires allowing some scoping from the car. Amongst the Chaffinches i was very please to see a smart tree Sparrow- my first in Cambs for quite sometime. I saw it or another bird several times over the course of a 30 minute period along with Reed Bunts and Greenfinches.Worth checking the flock the next time I'm out that way for Brambling or let's be more adventurous a Little Bunting - we can but dream! I moved on toward the RSPB reserve at Manea with the hope the rain would ease. En route i came across a field full of geese and swans. Only Greylags but the Swans were Bewick's around 130 or so. Always nice to see. Again a few digiscoped pictures of the nearest group before moving off to the reserve. Finally the rain had stopped!

Not too much going on from the couple of hides I looked out from.Another Buzzard, A Kingfisher and the usual duck sp with half a dozen Pintail being the pick. It was time to leave to pick up the wife from work. On driving out of the reserve heading toward me from the west were 7 geese. I quickly pulled over and grabbed the bins. Tundra beans! Always nice geese to see and a great way to end the day.