3 comments on “Patch Proves Winner By A Long Neck (1st-12th February)

  1. Wow Joseph, what an astonishing and comprehensive account of your patch, and some truly fantastic sightings! I love cranes, they are such evocative birds – time stands still when they’re around. To see them over the valley is superb and thanks for reporting them so promptly – I rushed out into the garden in the early afternoon but I guess they’d long gone. Such a shame as I’d almost gone down Marriott’s Way that lunchtime…ah, well,nothing beats time out in the field…However, a few years ago I was amazed and delighted to see 4 cranes pass over our garden heading westwards so, if they were the Norfolk residents then maybe they occasionally meander overhead.

    But I’ve never seen a bittern along Marriott’s Way! Great sighting and great photo – I’m actually pretty surprised because, as you say, the areas of phragmites are quite small, although bitterns do wander a bit when the weather is harsh. What a fantastic couple of sightings, and great reward for your time outside.

    I can see that I should get out in the field more often, even when the skies are grey and the weather still, you never know quite what you might stumble across! I’m glad you caught up with the dabchick on the Wensum – there were a couple recently, often frequenting a small pool the other side of the river towards the cottages on Costessey Lane near Drayton. I’ve also seen a relatively good selection of ducks for me – 8 gadwall, 6 teal and a drake wigeon – on the quiet, flooded meadow 100 metres to the west along the Drayton stretch of Costessey Lane from Costessey Mill road bridge, which were my recent birding highlights!

    And you can be sure I’ll be scanning the skies for the return of the cranes! Now if that white tailed eagle were only to meander down the Wensum valley…..

  2. Thanks very much for your comment John, some really good points to pick up on. Interesting to hear you’ve had them over Drayton before; I’ve had responses from a couple of other folks who have also seen them over the village. I reckon that they must pass over the general Drayton and Costessey area once or twice year, especially in the spring on the way to Lakenheath or Welney. Having said that I probably won’t get lucky like that again, especially with 6 rather than just one. Got very lucky with the Bittern; was wondering whether it may have related to a single seen at Bawburgh and Colney earlier in the winter, but it was probably a completely new bird. As you say they both seem to prove that you can muster up a whole range of species simply by just patching an area a lot and being outside; I certainly hadn’t expected either of them!

    Great to hear of your own birds in the area recently. I’ve got to say I am jealous of your duck selection! Gadwall and Wigeon would be much appreciated patch firsts, especially Gadwall. I am taking it you are referring to the field opposite Costessey Mill Sluice? If so that’s what I’ve called Mill Field; painful to imagine that range of ducks there after working it so hard earlier in the month, given its just opposite the cottages where I am based. Well done, and please keep me updated with anything else you manage on site, would be very interested to hear them. I’ll be down again at the end of this month/beginning of April; already looking forward to seeing what the spring can muster. The return of the Cetti’s? Passage Gropper or Nightingale? Only time will tell…

    As for that White-tailed Eagle, we can only hope! Had been hoping the American Wigeon or Great White Egret might just pop in whilst I was down, but that thinking was clearly too wishful!



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