Trip reports

NWT HICKLING BROAD & STUBB MILL Thursday 16th October 2014

NWT HICKLING BROAD & STUBB MILL Thursday 16th October 2014
Richard Straton

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The first hide produced little egret amongst grazing cattle. Then the first redwings of the autumn flew overhead en route to the second hide where fine views were seen of a kingfisher and a jay. Looking across the broad many waterfowl were seen: mute swans, Canada and greylag geese, wigeon, tufted duck, pochard and gadwall. Cetti's warblers were heard and marsh harriers and a kestrel were viewed as the group walked back across the squelchy marshes preceded and followed by lowing cattle. Edwina saw what she believed likely to be a female otter bound across the track.
A lunch break at the picnic area was disturbed by views of a female hen harrier as well as a variety of tits and a robin or two.
During the afternoon the group walked down the south track and managed to avoid treading on a tiger moth caterpillar. At the hide close view of a snipe standing on one leg with its head tucked under its wing delighted everyone. No ordinary snipe - it proved to be a jack snipe. Common snipe were also seen and more redwing. Returning along the track Charles found the tiniest newt - a mi-newt it was decreed! One of this year's youngsters just a few centimetres long.
At three o'clock two members departed and one member and a local birdwatcher joined the watchers as they set off along Stubb Road down to the raptor roost viewing platform. The road was beset with puddles causing minor diversions on stubbled fields for those not clad in boots.
A shrubby patch proved to be busy with chats and tits, etc. A fine whinchat flitted about, but stayed within the area. A pair of stonechats, reed buntings, chaffinches, linnets and meadow pipits provided good views. A well spotted mistle thrush, blackbirds and yet more redwing were apparent. Frequent sightings of both sexes of marsh harriers and the female hen harrier were enjoyed as was a brief encounter of a barn owl. Distinctive calls alerted the watchers and two common cranes were then seen walking about, then in flight. Two Chinese water deer were seen during the walk back to the car park.
During the day 55 species were identified: barnacle goose, barn owl, blackbird, blue tit, Canada goose, carrion crow, Cetti's warbler, chaffinch, coal tit, common crane, common snipe, coot, cormorant, curlew, dunnock, Egyptian goose, gadwall, great tit, grey heron, greylag goose, hen harrier, herring gull, jackdaw, jack snipe, jay, kestrel, kingfisher, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, linnet, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, marsh harrier, meadow pipit, mistle thrush, moorhen, mute swan, pied wagtail, pochard, red-legged partridge, redwing, reed bunting, robin, skylark, song thrush, starling, stonechat, tufted duck, whinchat, wigeon, woodpigeon and wren.
Richard Straton