Monday, 23 November 2020
On Sunday 22nd November, I had my exercise walk at Sotterley, looking carefully around the Dell, just north and south and along the field margin to the west of there very little seen. Walking over to the church, checking the weir, a fine Grey Wagtail flew off. Nothing by the church either. Walking back past the lake, a chattering Nuthatch, revealed said bird scaling up down and a thick trunk of tree, where at the very apex, a Mistle Thrush perched and it was soon joined by its mate, a second Mistle Thrush. A group of 5 Long- tailed Tits, included 4 Blue Tits and 2 Goldcrests. 7 Redwings were seen flying north- west overhead. Walking back along the meadow to the Dell, a mewing Buzzard was heard. Again, checking the Dell, nothing here but 14 Redwings flew east. Walking back to the car, through the trees I could see a Carrion Crow mobbing a Red Kite. Not bad, however my Sotterley hoodo continues as just 20 minutes after I left 1 Hawfinch was seen flying north and later in the afternoon, 4 were seen along the northern edge of the Dell, Sotterley almost matches my seawatching exploits to equal, an epic fail!
Monday, 16 November 2020
On Monday 16th November, I walked along the Lowestoft North Denes and in between the 2 shelter belts I was astounded to see a so called 'birder' standing slap bang in the Dusky W territory amongst the bracken in front of the large bush. What utter stupidity, I called him back and he apologised saying he didn't know about it's territory but surely common sense would override this apparently not! I heard a Firecrest but not seen, unsurprisingly no sight nor sound of the Dusky, I waited half an hour and then walked back and in Link's Road car park, 6 adult winter Mediterranean Gulls including one ringed individual (white ring black letters E861- one I've seen several times before, an old friend, first seen as an adult winter 20 September 2013, 26 October 2016 and 24 September 2020)) and 2 Common Gulls. Walking down to Heathlands, a LT Tit flock comprised a couple of Goldcrest and a calling Chiff- Chaff, by the pool nearest the sea, I saw 2 feeding Sanderling and also Tony B and we walked north along the beach and I checked the bit where the water kinks inland and sure enough an excellent Shore Lark flew up and onto the beach shore line where it gave good views and posed nicely for the camera for 10 minutes before it suddenly flew across the water and landed along the inland edge somewhere. We saw Nick M he tried elsewhere, as Tony and I walked back around half way along, a Shore Lark suddenly flew in and settled along the shore edge before feeding by the marram grass in front of us, I tweeted it out and after some gesturing Nick who was walking back from the inland side saw it. Walking back, I looked back and 4 Sanderling flew south along the pool. I was dismayed to see 9 large dogs not under control with 5 people laughing they were splashing in the pools. They were heading in the direction of the Shore Lark pool and i tweeted out a warning to the birders present there and sure enough they were disturbed but did eventually conme back. A walk from Walberswick Hoist covert car park revealed a calling redpoll flying inland just I got to the marshes, nice to see Dick W, we had a catch up and Dick said have a look at the really confiding Snow B's. So when I reached the beach, I walked left or north for 30 yards and then on my knees I got within 30 feet of the super confiding 6 Snow Buntings (2 males and 4 females) feeding in the green patch by the post leaning at a 90 degree angle seawards. Light was very poor sadly but before I could get more than a couple of shots, another complete idiot walked straight up to me and bellowed "Where are they mate?" He still couldn't see them still them (should have gone to Specsavers! Other optical retailers are available too!) when I politely asked him to lower his voice, he didn't resulting in 4 of the birds running back soon to be joined by the other 2. By the pool just north of the path, I heard an EYW plus 8 Teal, 3 males and 5 females. Plus a Great White Egret flew past right over the path ahead of us, the second seen after one flying over the reeds further south. Walking back by the planked walkway srcub area, a flock of LT Tits included a Marsh Tit (heard only, 2 Goldcrest and a briefly confiding Lesser Redpoll. Does my current age of 56 mean I am turning into a Victor Meldrew??
On Sunday 15 November, despite the poor weather forecast I was out early and along the Lowestoft North Denes between the first and second shelter belts north of the Oval, the Dusky Warbler was in the bracken at the base of the slope, I could hear it chacking and split second views were seen in the bracken and frustratingly it showed out in the open for around 10 seconds when I was texting the information out. It flew to the back hawthorn bush and parts of the bird were on show for a few minutes but parts were obscured too, at 8.05am. In Links road car park, 3 adult Mediterranean Gulls seen. The rain started and I went to Ness Point where there were gale force gusts and the rain was pelting down stinging my face, probably some of the most extreme weather conditions I have faced at Ness Point! Unsurprisingly nothing seen! Retreating to the the sanctuary of home I only ventured out again after the rain had stopped. Walking to the pines by the second shelter belt, I could hear the high pitched "wheezing" of a Firecrest (like a Goldcrest with a sore throat!) and sure enough a fine Firecrest appeared in front of me in the hawthorn, showing well briefly. The Dusky warbler was still in the bracken chacking constantly but again just split second views obtained. Back at the Links Road car park, an incredible 9 adult Mediterranean Gulls seen including "stumpy" the one legged indvidual and one ringed with a white ring but frustratingly I couldn't read it as they all flew off when a van headed straight for the Gull flock (some unhinged people around!) Not really believing, the Met office forecast of bright sun at Halesworth, I drove to Pakefield and sure enough it appeared bright to the south and west. So it was, all for 'Legs or bust and I drove to Dunwich. Walking down to the pools taking in 2 close Little Egrets, a wp Black- tailed Godwit see on the walk up. The Greater Yellowlegs was showing by the gap between the 2 pools, it walked throgh but then was seen in the gap, initially asleep, it walked through and fed really close even walking right in front of us on the most easterly part of the pool right in front of us. It would often catch fish, the sticklebacks appeared to give a slight problems as it coughed before the fish went down. It walked over in the company of a Redshank, it was very bright due south of us and cross lighting was a problem sometimes, sometimes OK but when it walked right in front of us unfortunately it was in shadow, but overall pleased with the pics obtained. 3+ Water Pipits seen and heard and the "chew-it" of a Spotted redshank too heard. walking back by the hill just west of the car park, almost at dusk, 8 Red Deer seen including 2 fine stags, "monarchs of the saltmarsh!" One an 8 pointer and the other a particularly fine 10 pointer!
Saturday, 14 November 2020
On Thursday 12th November, I walked back to the first shelter belt by the slope just north of the Oval, another birder was there, I immediately heard the chacking of the super Dusky Warbler and we had glimpses of it in the bracken at the back showing fairly regularly for a second or two views. It then flew over to the second shelter belt and showed similar views by the bracken here too before I had to leave for work at 8.10am.
On Wednesday 11th November, I had a half day and I immediately headed back to Walbersw at 1.30pm, but dismayed to see dark cloud. The wind was increasing too, so no chance on the EYW's so I walked straight to the Yellowlegs pool, a hard mile slog south on the shingle. I bumped into B and he said it was still there by the Little Egret at the back there. When I arrived the excellent Greater Yellowlegs was fortunately much closer, sheltering against the wind by a muddy bank on the right where there was an opening and it would occasionally walk to the back and out of sight before walking back again. It then spent a lot of time sheltering here. Nice to see aidan fro m CEFAS and amazingly a London birder wanted a lift to the nearest rail station, I politely declined, but absolutely no way illegal given the latest COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and a high chance of possible infection!
On Tuesday 10th November, at first light I was down on Lowestoft's North Denes following Robert Wil's tweet from yesterday having found a Dusky on North Denes, I made my way to the first shelter belt north of the Oval and initially no sign, I looked around the Oval seeing very little but a tweet from Andrew E and I joined him looking in the scrub and bracken at the base of the North Denes slope opposite the first shelter belt north of the Oval. The chakking could be heard immediately and the bird was elusive but the excellent Dusky Warbler showed well briefly at 8.05am, I saw the bird back on in the bracken and it flew back into a tree and the distinct supercilia could be seen in glimpses. We moved toward the second shelter belt and a Tit flock moved through and Andrew E spotted a Firecrest, obviously not doubting this at all, but inconclusive views for me, so I still await my first 2020 Firecrest in Lowestoft.