Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Yare Valley RSPB Reserves - Cantley, Buckenham and Strumpshaw      07988754090

Early in the morning, just as the sun was rising I saw a - thousands of corvids leaving their roost. Surrounded by leaving birds swirling in the pink-grey misty sky. 30,000 birds leaving for the day. Such noise, a great start to the day.

Hid the bike and stuff, better than when my stuff was stolen and spent the morning walking the whole of the Cantley-Buckenham Marsh perimetr walkway. 24 barnacle geese, c.100 pink-feet, a lone Canada goose, a number of Egyptian geese and a few greylags seen and the best views of bearded tits that I've had this year.

No sign of bean geese on the main marshes, searched around the back of the railway line, that is north of it, came across a group of over 60 of them almost tucked away out of sight next to some woodland habitat. Great! Bird number 246 for the year. Only 6 to go to get the record but what's available? Going to be tough.

The weather had made my quest a lonely one. Didn't see another soul until I got to Strumpshaw late morning. Heavy snow showers and heavy snow to trudge through; at least my 8 [!] layers kept me warm.

Strumpshaw was superb, both with meeting RSPB staff, Lotti, Ken and Tim, and birding too. 53 species by the end of the day from the three reserves mentioned, with woodcock and bittern seen, marsh harriers and 6 species of geese the highlights.

Met a lovely lady at the starling roost - Janet, a keen photographer. Flickr - Norfolk Rambler.

Slept in the volunteers house and was fed by Lee. Now he doesn't buy food but gets it from supermarket skips. If only more people made the point of telling these food emporia to stop food waste. Last year I photographed workers at a shop that 'Mums like to shop at' putting masses of food into the skips. They seemed to enjoyed smashing it as they threw it into the skip. Bags of potatoes, loaves of bread etc. A group of smokers at the top of a fire escape stairway told me that the skips here, and remember that this is just one shop, are filled three times a week. I showed the photographs to the children at school, not saying which shop it was but having them shout out the name as they recognised the labels. Something must be done about this waste. You wait until I get home! Anyway, off my soap box and thanks to Lee for the superb meal.

Tuesday 30th November

Cycled to Norwich and met Guy Kirwan. This was after having problems entering both Norwich Anglican Cathedral and Norwich library because of my reticence to leave my box and remaining equipment at cycle racks where there's no security. No such problem at the Catholic Cathedral. Another soap box moment. I'll spare you.

All the very best everyone.


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