It seems like the rain is never going to relent at the moment with the local area getting another pasting yesterday of almost biblical proportions. But of course rainfall doesn't close Blacktoft its only tidal flooding and currently the tides are nowhere near high enough to have an effect.

Here's a graph from the farm next door showing how wet its been - but still not as wet as 2012 apparently! 

It has created some interesting wetland on the farmland

Where a few whoopers and other wildfowl have been enjoying the new found habitat. 

Its also noticeable that Autumn is now slipping into winter

I've been pretty busy this week being on a first aid course for the first three days so here's a cobbled summary of the last week, plenty to see although some of our star birds are a little hit and miss while the lovely Slavonian grebe did a bunk last Sunday just after the fog had lifted! 

Slav grebe in the fog

The green-winged teal was also seen last weekend but make sure you look through the 500+ teal, there is still a mix of ducks on site with goldeneye, the scaup occasionally, shoveler, wigeon, gadwall, shelduck, and mallard. Most are using Ousefleet but it does all depend on the tide and weather conditions. Just a few pinkfeet and the odd small flock of whooper swans over the site now as winter bites although I do suspect that there is a really big flock of pinkfeet somewhere nearby!

Goldeneye - showing why its called a goldeneye

Teal showing its head plumes off

Not huge numbers of waders about, I suspect many of the birds are dispersed over the wet fields at times but 5000 golden plover last Friday was a notable count, then over the last few days its been small numbers of redshank, lapwing, curlew, golden plover and the odd snipe.

Marsh harriers have headlined the birds of prey but still a chance of hen harrier at the roost, you really need to stay late to have the best chance to connect with the ringtail unless you're lucky, also regular merlin, kestrels, sparrowhawks, peregrine, buzzards and off course our amazing barn owls.

Kestrel

Sparrowhawk 

Fighting marsh harriers - there's been up to 15 at the roost

A good range of passerines using the site with plenty of nice stonechats and regular water pipits, also kingfisher and a wintering collybita race chiffchaff (that's the British and European race so maybe the birds not come from that far east). Also tree sparrows and greenfinch at the feeders, fieldfares and redwings and a good flock of 400 wood pigeon and a few stock dove mixed in. 

Stonechat in the fog from last weekend

Good to see last week lots of reed buntings feeding in the seed rich grassland in the ranker areas of Ousefleet - this one had flown up into one of the bushes

Wood pigeons - where are the really big flocks these days, we used to get 3000+

There has also been some good numbers of roosting starlings - there's about 10,000 here!

 

Nice to see a few frosts and cooler conditions that are helping to put our wildflower meadows 'to bed', by that I mean that the temperatures have lowered and the grass growth now stopped, this is good as it helps the wild flowers that can often grow in cooler temperatures germinate and grow into the gaps, giving a richer more diverse meadow. 

Also interesting to see how with the rainfall Horseshoe meadow is shallow flooding with the very high water table, its variations like this in meadows that go towards creating mosaics of different plant communities, some which like water and then in other areas those that like the dry. Its all part of the wondrous process that is species rich meadow creation! 

I'm already missing the wild flowers! 

 

Anonymous