As January speeds by it marks the anniversary of my first post and the enjoyment of watching the local natural world is compounded by comparing and developing an understanding of how the seasons and weather affect and predict the birds and other creatures living within and alongside the village. My increased understanding of the effects of the weather have also resulted in me remembering my wellies, fortunate as all local paths are muddy and some close to flooded.
The first real patch bash was round the woods of the parish pit and great Melton Reservoir and early highlights included a pair of Egyptian geese and a pair of grey heron alongside the swollen streams. As I watched the noisy geese I heard the call of a buzzard and watched a pair calling and displaying over the tree tops.
Egyptian Goose colourful and distracting but only a pair so far on the patch
The buzzards were not the last new birds of prey, as I watched the swollen rivers of the reservoir now brown with silt stirred up by the high waters following endless rain I noticed a hovering kestrel scanning the waters edge. I moved on towards Great Melton Church and was treated to a flypast male sparrowhawk. The sparrow hawk flew low across the adjacent field and across to a hedgerow were almost magically he appeared to double speed and flip over the hedge hoping to catch out some prey.
My next patch walks were round Hethersett Hall hoping for some more winter wildfowl but moorhen and mallard were the usual birds present as I braved the now chill winds of the last few days. I was eventually treated to another sighting of a single little grebe on the hall lake which is the third sighting this month and it will be interesting to see if it stays and attracts a mate. The otherworldly call of this diminutive bird on a spring misty lake surrounded by trees would be a particular pleasure. If you haven’t experienced the call it can be found and listened to (here).
Not to be outdone on calls there were constant display flights round the lake and hall grounds by green woodpecker and carrion crow. My favourite songster of the day was the mistle thrush possibly a winter visitor almost melancholy when compared to the songthrush some of which have occasionally been singing in the village. The Mistle thrush strikes me as a glass half empty bird compared with the half full songthrush. Help in telling these two apart is availabe below on the ID video brought to you byt the BTO and partners