Sunday, 25 March 2012

24th March In search of Goshawk

(181) I rang Jimmy the night before and uttered he words " Fancy trying for Goshawk in the morning" "Hell yes" came the reply. We left early Saturday morning cutting through the mist we arrived at Lakenheath at 7am...the reserve was still covered in a thick blanket of mist. We had a quick coffee and headed up the bank for the mile or so walk to Joist Fen. We counted 25 birds on the way but all were heard only as the mist was so heavy. On arrival we plotted up waited for the mist to burn off.....which it did!. Lot's of Marsh Harriers and a single Bittern flying in front of the hide. Bearded Tits showed well quite close pinging in chorus. A Cetti's warbler called and a water rail made a brief appearance but we'd stopped to look for Cranes and in 3 hours didn't hear or see any. We made our way back to the car...another coffee and we make the trip to our Goshawk site in Thetford. Despite taking a wrong turn and adding about twenty miles to the journey we park up and head down the lane. At the barn we find Crossbills, Coal Tits and Siskins showing really well so stop a while to watch them feed and drink. We head a mile down the track to a clearing in the trees and plot up with the handful of birders present. "Any sign?" The usual birders greeting...."Not for an hour or so" the usual reply!. We make ourselves comforatble in the knowledge that we're at the right place...the weather is good for the bird we want and the time of day 11AM is also good. Within half an hour we pick up a distant bird which as it gets closer is clearly the escapee Red Tailed Hawk(pictured above) that's been in the area several lands in a nearby tree and gives good views. 3 common Buzzard circle over head and a pair of Sprawks display giving good size comparison between male and female. A Woodlark flies by giving Jimmy another year tick (i'd had one at Hawkhill and the old man picked up the Woodford bird so Jimmy was pleased with the catch up) At last we get a shout " Goshawk!" and lock on to a bird flying low over the's clearly a Gossie..big muscled bird flying without effort, bulging wings...very pale and it gets better as it sits up on top of a tree in full view...we scope it and despite a little heat haze we get great views! To our delight another bird arrives and they both head off seperate ways without giving the display we expected. As they depart another two birders arrive...."any sign?" know the answer! (182) A good day for Butterflies too...With Brimstones and Comma in good numbers along with Large white, Red Admiral and Peacock(5)


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