Saturday, 17 January 2009

Mixed Emotion

Had a fab day at Tophill doing some mammal monitoring. Walked the perimeter of the entire reserve with lots of mammal tracks and signs, especially of Roe Deer and Fox. From a birding perspective it was productive. As we got to Top Lock we saw the pheasant shoot start up. A knot in my gut told me not to look but a macabrefascination set in and i zoned out on the pheasants being downed and noticed other birds being flushed. First up a Sparrowhawk zoomed left followed by a Woodcock or 5. Then a bigger raptor went right. It popped up a second time after i had said to Richard the warden i'd got a Goshawk (2nd week in a row). He got onto it and agreed with the ID. As I was watching yet another Woodcock fly away Richard announced he was on a SEO - i just couldnt see it sadly when i lifte my bins. Had very mixed feelings about what I saw. Obviously the birds were distressed and the pheasants were being killed but it waslegal and it was the only way i was going to see such fabulous birds. Strange really.

Further down the reserve a Barn Owl and a Sparrowhawk were toward Watton Borrow Pits, as were 2 Bullfinches. No Smew today but the carcass of a Powerline hit of a Swan was in the the southern corner of the reserve. Not much else of note but a good walk.

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