Sunday, 16 November 2014

A hare amongst the wigeons

Only the second time we've ever visited RSPB Buckenham Marshes (not far from our usual RSPB Strumpshaw Fen), and for the second time it was raining. That doesn't seem to put off the residents and migrants though. We hadn't walked far from the car park, when we heard the plaintive whistling of a wigeon. Just off the path, the other side of the stream were a little posse of male and female wigeon. They sat quietly for some time, then one starting making a strange reverberating sound, obviously irritated by his counterparts, and starting snapping at them. We decided to leave them be and carry on towards the single hide.

A hare began trotting, then bolting away from the path, and towards more unseen and unsuspecting wigeon, hiding in a hidden channel. As much as I don't like to anthropomorphise, I'm sure it ran at them intentionally, and for fun, as a huge flock took off, alarm calling, and landed further away on the opposite bank. Their alarm was not helped by a large and solitary marsh harrier flying lazily overhead, seemingly uninterested in an apparently easy meal.

From behind us we heard countless calls of 'jack, jack, jack', and upon turning around, were greeted with the sight of a mixed flock of jackdaws and rooks heading towards the telephone lines. Buckenham marshes hosts a large rookery (according to some sources, the largest in Europe), with tens of thousands of rooks and jackdaws. They settled all along the telephone wires leading from the train platform, and they continued along them for as far as the eye could see.

The final flourish was a flock of lapwings skimming over the ground and water, their wings flashing black and white as they flew and turned.

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