Just Angela and myself this morning, setting off in the rain along the Downslink. A couple of Song Thrushes were singing as we started, though most things were quiet as it was wet. At the five crossways we heard the only Goldcrest of the day, then the embankment produced some Long-tailed Tits. From the wooden gate we saw a few Canada Geese, a family of Mute Swans (3 juveniles) and a group of a dozen Teal. Otherwise, a lot of water but almost devoid of birds, bar these and a group of 5 Coots. We heard a Fieldfare chacking and just one flew across, though we found more later on. Two Cormorants were loafing around on one of the nearly submerged shooting blinds. Scanning from the field by the metal kissing gate we heard just one Lapwing, and saw 20 Wigeon, a lone Pintail and around 120 Black-headed Gulls with 10 Herring Gulls – all very distant. A flock of what initially looked like Goldfinches perched on a bare tree in the gloom turned out to be 16 Lesser Redpolls. Three Bullfinches were calling a bit further along the Downslink, and a Chaffinch called too. Nearer to Stretham were Canada and Greylag Geese in the fields to the east, and a flock of 30 or so Starlings to the west, and a Raven called.

Highlight of the day was when we heard a Kingfisher and Angela located it perched on a reed by the river. Awful photo, but you can see the colours! We heard a couple of Cetti’s Warblers to the west of the river, then in the bushes along the bank found plenty of activity from Stonechats, Yellowhammers and Goldfinches. It wasn’t until we got to New Inn that we finally managed to see a Grey Heron, on the edge of the floods to the north west.

44 species today I reckon, but no raptors at all. (Actually it was only 42!)


Val Bentley, 20th November 2023