Monday, 19 October 2015

Raptor rapture

A day off and a reasonable forecast. The original plan had been to head to Norfolk, to see if Duncan and Ben et al had left any exciting birds for anyone else (well, to visit Holme Dunes, actually). However, with the Coasthopper bus being messed up for the next few weeks we plumped for Wicken Fen instead. After the customary start at the Brickpits - Greenfinch the dominant theme today - we headed over to the other side of Wicken Lode. As we emerged beyond the Visitor Centre a buzzard was being mobbed by a crow. A quick check through the bins and as it banked round it revealed the white tail-band of a Rough-Legged! It sailed off behind trees and couldn't be relocated, despite our rushing off to Baker's Fen. Instead onwards to the West Mere hide where a Great Egret once again stood sentinel, this time behind clamourous crowds of Greylag and Canada geese.

Eventually over to Burwell Fen and up onto the bank to survey the pools. Masses of birds about, with large groups of Lapwing and Golden Plover, Wigeon whistling away and Snipe seemingly occupying any spare patch of mud. A few Dunlin picked through the shallows, whilst Black-Tailed Godwits preened themselves before settling down for a siesta. A male Pintail drifted regally. Every so often the plovers would shoot up in clouds and wheel about over the pools, flickering black and white or gold and white in the afternoon sun. Then the Rough-Legged Buzzard re-appeared, once again attended by a crow. As we watched it repeatedly hovered, sometimes for at least a minute. To the naked eye it could have been a Kestrel in the middle distance - through the 'scope somewhat like an Osprey before a dive and it did indeed drop down to the ground several times. The crow became two and the Buzzard drifted away. A Common cousin headed over the Fen later on.

Heading back up Harrison's Drove a flock of Fieldfare - my first of the season. Winter not so far away, despite the late afternoon sunshine and golden leaves. This meeting of the seasons was further hinted at later when a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over us, picked out by the setting sun. However, lest we rush too soon into the colder months, bats were still out hawking about in the gloaming.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading and commenting on Ely10 Birding.