February has kicked off sporting as much grey as January. Fortunately the cold weather is pushing the garden feeders to bursting point and its difficult to feel down when half a dozen green finches are seeing off four goldfinches and a couple of long tailed tits only to be muscled out by a pair of bullfinch and a couple of starlings, whilst three male chaffinches whirl around in a burst of testosterone charged activity.
Locally I have finally been catching up with some outstanding birds for 2018 around the village including an unexpected pair of fly over cormorants a lesser black backed gull calling away in the main street with its sound of the coast It has also been good to catch up with some slightly smaller common gulls floating about and keeping the occasional ridge tile warm.
Last week I took a brief, day off, opportunity to catch up with Great Melton Heronry whilst the trees are still leafless in an attempt to count the nests which will hopefully be full of grey herons in the spring. The January storms had made a couple of nests look a bit worse for wear but there were still seven nests and that was the successful score last year. No sign of herons just a pair of noisy Egyptian geese and some woodpigeons to keep me company. However I then had the good fortune to meet the local falconer and his male goshawk.
Goshawks were like a number other birds of prey driven close to extinction at the end of the 19th century but were ‘reintroduced’ probably by the falconers including some no doubt who lost their birds to the wild. Come the spring warm mornings in the Brecks will be the best place to see the displaying males although they occasionally turn up around Norwich .
As well as treasured time with the killer goshawk I also got the chance to set out some cameras at a small pond which is being fed for wildfowl. The pond was empty at the time of feeding which involves spreading out grain on the banks but has held large numbers of teal and a few greylag geese which were joined recently by a wild pink footed goose which hang around for a couple of days and had perhaps become separated in the fog from one of the flocks that have been traveling the Wensum valley
Various stars on the latest video which was a montage of a week of night time footage at my local WEBS site. None of the videos on their own seemed ideal so with the help of some simple editing software called Video Pad the passing nightlife has been condensed. Look out for Muntjac deer, woodmouse, Roe deer, badger, fox and rabbit.