The past few weeks have seen the subtle change in weather edging closer to winter, although we are looking at a nice mild week with warm southerly airflow.
We have seen the usual shift in species, with large numbers of winter thrushes such as fieldfare and redwings passing south as well as an increase in finches. There appears to be a growing finch flock located between the car park and the meadows feeding on alder seeds, the flock contains goldfinch, siskin, chaffinch and redpoll, but are hard to track down and appear to be quite flighty. It would be nice if this flock continues to grow as there are good numbers of mealy/common redpoll arriving from Scandinavia at the moment.
Marsh harriers are becoming more visible throughout the day now and the evening roost is currently numbering between 10 and 20 individuals. Bitterns have been seen in flight all over the reedbed recently as have kingfishers.
A pair of stonechats have been seen feeding along the riverbank towards the pumphouse, they have been present for a couple of weeks now. Also along the river, we have seen up to six great crested grebes in winter plumage, they often head to the coast in winter so it is interesting to see so many inland into November.
The starling roost has not yet returned to the fen, but there is still time for it to build.
A few remnants of summer are still clinging on, common darters and migrant hawkers are enjoying this mild weather that we are having at the moment, common darters usually survive right up until late November unless there is a particularly cold snap….it is always a challenge to see a December common darter though!
The Marshes at Buckenham and Cantley are beginning to attract good numbers of winter wildfowl and waders. On Friday a count saw 1300 wigeon, 1068 pink-footed geese, 62 white-fronted geese, 420 lapwing two pintail, six black tailed godwit, two red kites, four common buzzards, two peregrines and a ringtail hen harrier. The taiga bean geese do not usually arrive until late November, we will wait and see if they do return at all this year!
The river has been flooding on and off over the past couple of weeks so the riverbank paths are starting to get a little sticky in places, however all paths are still open.
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