Saturday 9 March 2013

February at NWT Thorpe Marshes

Chris Durdin, NWT Thorpe Marshes

The ribbon of blue water running through this picture of NWT Thorpe Marshes looks like a small river or a wide ditch. Actually, it's the path, as it was for a while in February. It was deep enough for there to be a group of teals swimming across the path. A few weeks on, the floods have gone for now - though a few days of rain and they might come back. Nonetheless, the marshes are still pretty bleak. The main draw on the reserve, as through much of winter, is the gravel pit - St Andrews Broad. The ducks come and go, not least from Whitlingham Country Park across the river, but there are nearly always 200 or so, nearly all pochards, tufted ducks and gadwalls.

In March, instinctly one looks for signs of spring. Great crested grebes are in full breeding pluage and black-headed gulls are gaining their dark heads. Last March, there was an avocet swimming with the gulls. Soon the first chiffchaffs will sing and the pussy willow has fluffy buds, ready to burst into flower. So plenty to look for, and I'm hoping that some of these, and maybe the odd surprise, will show on my next wildlife walk round round the reserve, at 10am on Friday 15 March.

Details of the walks and recent sightings on the reserve are my website

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