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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Little Owl With Lucy & More Spring Migrants!

I have not seen my sister Lucy for a while and decided to take her on a whirlwind tour with big sister to include a bit of birding, visit to parents and fish 'n' chips etc. It was a beautiful sunny day, but cold with the North East Winds.

Picked Lucy up and stopped at the garage for Lucy's first chocolate stop! – none for me though! Went to Abbey Farm Hide at Flitcham in an attempt to see Kingfisher and Little Owl. It was lovely sitting here and Lucy really seemed to enjoy herself. No sign of the Kingfisher though. Blackcap singing, a Coal Tit, Chaffinches, Coot with cute chicks, Greylags, Lapwings, Chiffchaffs, but not much else really. Four birders walked into the hide and I don't think they quite believed me when I said I could see the Little Owl, camouflaged brilliantly at the bottom of the oak tree in its usual spot! I could only just see it with my bins and wasn't sure at first until it moved its head. I returned to the car and set up the scope so Lucy could see it properly and also got a lovely one minute phone-scoped video.

On the way to Choseley Barns we watched a Common Buzzard over our heads just before Docking village. At Choseley on the drilled fields we saw 2 Wheatears, Red-legged Partridges, Grey Partridges, 2 Yellowhammers and 3 Hares boxing in the sunshine. The pager bleeped up with 5 Ring Ouzels south of Choseley, but didn't know exact location and I didn't have time to search, as we had a fish 'n' chip delivery deadline with parents at 1pm! Bumped into a birder who said that someone else had watched the White-tailed Eagle at Holme for 15 minutes this morning (don't know what time that was exactly) – I wonder where it ended up? Pity it wasn't reported or seen again.

Off to 'Sunny Hunny' for a mini supermarket run for Mother and Lucy's second chocolate shopping bonanza! Walked to local bakers in high street for Mother's favourite bread. As we drove through the town to Fisher's fish 'n' chip shop we passed Sophie (warden at Holme Bird Observatory), I waved, but she didn't respond at all – how unusual I thought.... on closer inspection we both realised that it wasn't Sophie at all, but a uncanny double!!! Got fish 'n' chips for parents and Lucy and no, I didn't get any for me (honest) – arrived at Holme on cue at 1pm!

Mother was in an angry mood on our arrival, as she had received a letter from what she thought was the opticians saying she need to go the ophthalmology department at the QEH for further tests. 'They have lied to me' she shouted...... 'they told me my eyes were fine' (see my post here). I can understand why this had angered and worried her, but when I read the letter I understood why – it was not from the optician's, it was from her GP who had been advised by the opticians to refer her to the hospital for further tests because of her informing them of her double visions experiences she had been having – they were only doing their job! This all happened within a few minutes of Lucy and I walking in the door along with the optician's phoning Mother back to explain all this and Father asking us to shut the door because he was cold!!! Anyway, after the dust had settled so to speak, everyone enjoyed their fish 'n' chips, except me who had an egg and salad sandwich. Mother tried on her new glasses which I collected for her last night and said things didn't look much different! Count to 10 slowly!

Both parents needed an afternoon nap, so Lucy and I left and went to Holme Reserves. Well, to be exact Lucy only wanted to see the new cafe at The Firs, Holme Dunes NWT. She purchased some items in the shop and whilst here, we bumped into Richard Brooks who told us about his day, not seeing very much and sitting in a hide, freezing his......... well I can't say exactly what he said as it wouldn't be appropriate – you can finish the sentence off I'm sure!!! Richard very kindly gave me a Calendar for my Mother with his best regards to her and very nice it was too. If you would like to purchase one of these iconic calendars, please look at Richard's Website HERE to purchase one. Mother was very pleased with the calendar, so thank you very much. Also bumped into Sophie (Warden at HBO) and told her about her double – she said that she has been told this before!

Lucy didn't want to walk anywhere, so I left her in the car and wandered off towards the Observatory. On the slope of short turf next to the observatory itself, I watched a lovely Stonechat perched on yellow gorse. At the end of the path by the bushes I glimpsed my first Common Whitethroat for the year. Not too bad at all for my short visit. Also met a birder/photographer who reads my blog – nice to meet you and hope you got to see some Ring Ouzels today. Back at the car we headed back to our parents house where I left Lucy for a while.

At Holme Marsh Reserve NWT (hides in the village), I saw very little. I also only spent a very short time in each hide, as the North East wind was cutting through the hide flaps of all the hides and it was freezing, enough to freeze your.......... not that it applies to me of course! From the first hide I saw a pair of Gadwall. The third hide produced 2 Pied Wagtails amongst the cattle (but no Yellow Wags seen), 2 Marsh Harriers, a Cetti's Warbler singing, Lapwings, 2 Curlew and a pair of Mallard. The second hide produced nothing apart from a Pheasant. Back along the path, the bushes by the entrance kissing gate produced the most excitement with a male Blackcap, a Robin, 2 Goldfinches, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Marsh Harrier overhead.

Back at my parent's house, I had a quick coffee and Lucy and I then left and went home via Choseley Barns. Photographed the sunset and counted Hares in the fields – watched both Grey and Red-legged Partridges again before returning home to King's Lynn.


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