Nigel Robson, Volunteer Bird Recorder for NWT and Mark Crossfield, NWT assistant warden for Bure and Ant
|Oystercatcher, photo by Mark Crossfield|
The latter part of winter was characterized by regular sightings of birds of prey - a peregrine, one or two buzzards, two hen harriers (one being a strikingly-beautiful adult male), kestrels, sparrowhawk and marsh harriers. Barn owls were noticeably less frequent than usual.
|Gadwall, photo by Elizabeth Dack|
Through February and early March some of the potential marshland breeding species hung around - shelducks (max. 3), redshanks (max. 11) and oystercatchers (max. 2). A merlin was seen briefly on 28 February. Three stonechats on 4 March were the only ones seen during the winter. A bittern was beside the river on 20th. Although groups of lapwings inhabited the marshes throughout this time, it was only during the second half of March that territories were occupied by individual pairs. A pair of buzzards took up residence in the wet woodland. At the end of March, up to 50 gadwalls were present, most being on Boat Dyke Marsh. In the fen, chiffchaffs and blackcaps were heralding in the spring, and a pair of bearded tits was seen in the improved reedbed after an absence of many years.