Home

A solitary duck springs up from the pool above the mill. It’s long wings and markings characteristic of a Wigeon – normally a coastal bird of salt marsh, this one spent the night at Oxnead. Migration and movement are the themes now.

Advertisements

Iron frost and ducks

February 11, 2012

We woke up to an iron frost. As we walked out on the Common, the Bure was alive with wild duck. So many in fact that the book of collective nouns was taken off the shelf. A “spring” of Teal above Oxnead Bridge are as good as their word and take off with near vertical suddenness, only to alight again 50 yards further away. A little further upstream the frosty silence is gently broken by haunting cries announced small herd of Curlew at the top of Limekiln Farm. Further still, at least a score of duck wheeled around the Island Marsh – these proved to be Wigeon. Wigeon cause delight in their nouns; a bunch or a coil or a knob, all seem to sum them up beautifully. They circle at low levels before quickly settling below Burgh Mill.

a view in Winter

February 5, 2012

Wigeon arrive on the marsh as the village slumbers in it’s blanket of snow. A small flock of these fast-flying duck circle us as we scan the riverside snow for footprints. The meandering trail of a morning fox provided evidence of his thoughts – out for an unsuspecting Moorhen or duck – the trail followed any little clue to and fro to the water’s edge. Smaller creatures, mostly voles, scurried their tubby ways from sedge to bolthole. Swans which looked so white under normal conditions reveal themselves to be a rich cream against the backdrop of snow covered marshes. Snipe are here in numbers; they spring away and follow crazy zig-zag flight patterns emitting their wispy call. As we open the Church for Sunday a Woodcock flies rapidly at head-height through the churchyard, full of bombast and intent.

Thaw

December 30, 2010

A flight of Wigeon are temporary winter visitors to the island.  Their plaintive whistling calls are the clearest signs of their presence – but the bold white wing markings on the males are confirmation enough.  They flock in their thousands along the marshy Norfolk coast or along the lower reaches of the Yare, but this was nothing but a small foraging party. The thaw has set in has perhaps there are early pickings for wild duck along the Bure.

The thaw has also released the scent of the fox from it’s frozen state. There are many hot spots which are seemingly important in the regular route. We will have to wait for the frosty starlit nights in order to listen to her territorial screams – such sounds do not carry in the wet misty and damp conditions which prevail.