Trip reports

Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Oulton Marshes Reserve Monday 4th April 2016

Male green woodpecker feeding on ground

Monday, 4 April 2016

I arrived in the car park for the reserve and waited patiently for other attendees to arrive. As the rain splashed down, one car pulled up beside me and out got Paul and Helga Leman. The rain was easing up and we waited until gone 10am before we agreed that it was likely no one else would be coming.
Before we left the car park we saw two green woodpeckers in the horse field beside us. As we hardy three splashed down the hill we saw many garden birds who flitted along in front of us, while greenfinch trilled away in the tree tops. As we reached the junction of Queen's Highway and Fisher Row we heard chiffchaff and song thrush. In fact chiffchaff seemed to be singing from every tree all the way round the reserve. We hadn't gone far down Fisher Row when a muntjac skittered off across the marsh and a female blackcap danced around the branches of some bushes beside us.
We crossed the rail line and decided to take the leafy path that cuts across the reserve instead of walking down to the river. Two stock doves launched from a tree as we passed. As we approached the tea gardens we discovered many small birds darting around the trees and bushes. There were finches and tits and a small greeny warbler in a low down bush. We discussed whether it was a chiffchaff or maybe a willow warbler. We decided to watch it for five minutes and not once did it chiff or chaff. We surmised it was likely a willow warbler and I feel certain that it was as reports came in the following day of willow warbler singing across the river at Carlton marshes.
Helga spotted a snipe fly in and settle among the grass in front of the viewing platform. Shoveler and teal bobbed about on the water and then quick as a flash three swallow flew about our heads and had a quick feed above the reed bed behind us. Our first swallow of the year! Just then a Chinese water deer leapt out of nowhere and raced around the marsh in front of us, bounding and prancing along. Skylark serenaded us as we walked along the river wall and back across the marsh. As we walked down the muddy track from the railway we spied a stunning pair of stone chat clinging to the reeds along one of the dykes.
Thirty nine species of bird were recorded and we had a most enjoyable walk. In fact the rain became so light, I only had to put my hood up once! Just goes to show that the weather doesn't stop the birds and beasts so why should it stop us enjoying them?

Species seen: green woodpecker, magpie, woodpigeon, jackdaw, blue tit, blackbird, greenfinch, robin, goldfinch, great tit, dunnock, chiffchaff, wren, blackcap, rook, little egret, jay, stock dove, moorhen, reed bunting, herring gull, mallard, willow warbler, chaffinch, starling, carrion crow, shoveler, teal, mute swan, black-headed gull, swallow, snipe, skylark, cetti's warbler, oystercatcher, grey heron, stonechat, pied wagtail and song thrush (heard)
Also Muntjac, Chinese water deer, grey squirrel

Julie Martin