Hiding in the dark

Today I had to drive into King’s Lynn to take a regular orchestral rehearsal, and so I thought I would leave the house a little earlier than I needed to in order to go to Flitcham, a small village near King’s Lynn.

For many years there has been a single birdwatching hide overlooking some land which the landowner has made into what is, in effect, a small nature reserve. I first heard about it because they have little owls which nest there. Brenda and I have visited a few times over the years and seen the little owls once or twice, and so today seemed like an opportunity to try to add these birds to my 2023 list.

View from the hide at Flitcham, with the tree favoured by little owls in the centre

I got there just after 5pm, with the light still good, and within about ten minutes had seen wigeon, teal, mallard, reed bunting, shelduck, pheasant, moorhen, oystercatcher, greylag and Canada geese and a handful of other species. And then a female marsh harrier appeared out of the very small area of reeds in front of the hide and circled around for a few minutes before going back down to roost for the night.

The light started to go quite quickly and there was unfortunately no sign of any little owls, but I did hear a tawny owl calling and a snipe flew past in the gloom. There were hares in the field, and a couple of muntjac.

I had brought the thermal camera, which revealed – once the light had almost completely gone – a moorhen crossing the grass in front of the hide, several hares that I hadn’t seen in daylight, hunkered down in the field, and a surprising number of smaller birds roosting in the trees. Nothing owl shaped though!

A moorhen passing the hide, small birds at roost, hares in the far field, but no sign of a little owl!

I eventually headed off at about 6.15pm, having thoroughly enjoyed the onset of night!

No new species for February 24th:

Birds = 130
Moths = 5
Wildflowers = 19