Sunday, November 21, 2004

Frozen morning at Prior's Fen

It was Saturday (20.11.04), so where else was I but Prior's Fen. There had been a certain amount of frost overnight and the ground was solid. The first decent action was a Whooper Swan among the Mutes at Stonebridge Corner, which obligingly hung around. It was a rather light-weight individual with rather Bewick's-like shape, but lots of yellow in the bill – sort of hovering on the borders betwen these species...

In the ditch along the footpath, two Kingfishers were making a strange, high-pitched, rattling trill and engaged in a bit of beak to beak fighting on the ice (which sadly went unphotgraphed).
Waders present included five Redshanks and a flock of five Dunlin, including one bird still in summer plumage. It had a badly bent right leg, so was probably channeling its energy into healing and survival rather than moulting. I flushed about 12 Snipe and a single Jack Snipe, which are always great to see.
On Friday, the nearby Nene Washes had hosted 65 Short-eared Owls and more than 30 Stonechats, so it was little surprise that one of the latter was at Prior's Fen – though I am not sure whether I have seen one there before.

All in all a pleasant, freezing morning.

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