This is the first post of the year, and the first for several weeks, the weather not being ideal. Though I have been out, the days have been photographically challenging and I’ve not had anything to share. A long overdue visit to Tophill Low with my father finally produced the goods, though still a challenge for photography due to the distances to the birds. 50 species were recorded during the day, the best those summarised further down the post. The highlight of the day however goes to a mammal in the shape of an Otter Lutra lutra, hunting in the reeds close to the hide on North Marsh. They have been present and seen occasionally for a number of years, with this one showing for around 20 minutes. It was nice to finally catch up with this mammal at Tophill Low.
Bird wise, four Pink-footed Geese Anser brachyrhynchus were roosting with the Greylag Geese Anser anser on Watton Nature Reserve, where a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was observed flying along Barmston Drain. Working our way back north the two Scaup Aythya marila were found on ‘D’ Reservoir, along with a nice drake Pintail Anas acuta. Moving on north two Barn Owls Tyto alba were roosting in North Scrub, before we finally connected with the reported White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons on Hempholme Meadows. As always with stray wildfowl a question mark hangs over its head as to its true origin, though still nice to see. In ‘D’ Wood there was plenty of activity around the feeders, the best species being a Willow Tit Poecile montanus, a rapidly declining species and one that is now absent from many of its former haunts.