Tuesday 10 March 2020

Jack Snipe, Rye Meads Nature Reserve

A relatively local trip this afternoon saw us visit Rye Meads Nature Reserve in Hertfordshire. Upon arrival, we headed for Gadwall hide hoping to find the Jack Snipe that had been reported yesterday. As we entered the hide a local birder had the snipe in his scope and after some helpful directions so did we. It was tucked right down among the short reeds on a narrow spit and only the back of the bird was visible. Thankfully it did become more active during our visit.

View from Gadwall Hide (Jack Snipe was on the small spit to right of shot)

I tried to grab a shot with the phone handheld to the scope.

Jack Snipe (right of centre)

An added bonus was two Green Sandpipers that flew in and landed on one of the islands, giving myself a dad another welcome year tick. The reserve itself was relatively quiet, perhaps due to the work being carried out on the new Kingfisher hide further along the track.

Saturday 7 March 2020

Great Grey Shrike: Fincham, Norfolk

Having dipped the Great Grey Shrike last Sunday I was keen to visit the site again this morning. We arrived on site around 6.30am and began scanning the telegraph wires, hedges and surrounding fields for any sign of the Shrike, but after several scans and drives up and down Black Drove we had failed to connect. The surrounding fields were full of Hares and a sizable herd of Roe Deer was also present. Several Grey Partridge were busy feeding on the short-cropped grass and Yellowhammers were flying to and from the roadside hedges. We returned to the entrance track of Raven's Farm and while watching a Blackbird on the telegraph post the Shrike suddenly appeared close by on the wires.

Sunrise at Fincham

Great Grey Shrike

With my day's main target already seen, we headed to Thornham Harbour and quickly located a Greenshank for another addition to the year list. Spotted Redshank, Grey plover, Rock Pipit and Twite were also seen here.

View of Thornham Harbour from the car park

The RSPB reserve at Titchwell is only two miles from Thornham and shortly after arriving we finally connected with the Woodcock! it had proved very elusive on previous visits, but Brian managed to spot it among the tangled branches. 


The regular Water Rail was spotted on the walkout along with several newly arrived Chiffchaffs. Twenty plus Med Gulls within the fenced area on Freshwater Marsh gave me another year tick and among them was a Black-headed Gull with a really deep pink flush that really stood out among the gulls. A Water Pipit was also seen at close range along the water's edge. Reports of two Cranes heading our way from Holme saw us join a small group of birders along the West Bank and sure enough, they appeared overhead shortly afterward. 

We stopped at Lynford and connected with Brambling, Yellowhammer, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and a distant Hawfinch before moving on to Cockley Cley. It was getting late in the day but we managed distant views of a single Goshawk along with several Buzzards.

A very brief stop at Lackford Lakes before closing time, saw us add Lesser Redpoll to our year lists. Thanks to the reserve staff member who provided some helpful information 

A very productive and enjoyable day produced 102 species and five new additions to the year list.