Sunday, 2 March 2014
I plucked up the courage to walk down and see for myself today, Sunday 2nd March, the devastation needlessly inflicted on one of the tracks down at a local wooded area, why prime habitat such as the glorious heather areas was trampled under the digger wheels I will never know? I guess its just ignorance. It highlights the importance of these areas being managed by wildlife organisations who know what they are doing. On the way in, no Crossbills of any description were seen either by the log piles or elsewhere in the Forest I was delighted to see a group of 5 early Adders, all males, (with thick black wavy band down the back and not brown) just out of their hibernation basking in the early March sun. They had miraculously escaped being squashed by the heavy machinery employed so recklessly in this area. They characteristically flattened their bodies on the ground therefore increasing the surface area to make the most of the warming sun's rays. It was a real joy to see them, but I fear for them over the coming few months. Where is the habitat (i.e. the thick swathes of heather and cover to hide in) where they can hunt, hide and thrive in? Only small swathes of heather survive from the brutal onslaught. The area is so much more open and they will be more prone to disturbance from walkers and especially their dogs, which should really be kept on a lead (for their own safety) in this area. For now, the Adders were lying together, blissfully unaware of the hardships they face during this coming season, 3 Adders were all coiled up together, their heads poking out in different directions and 2 others nearby. Looking back, I was surprised to see a Roe Deer run and hop across the wide area and it some woodland. Back at the car park, I noted 3 Coal Tits and a Blue Tit. Driving back to Ashby Dell, a fine male Bullfinch flew across the road from right to left.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
After the rain had stopped I drove down to Links Road car park today, Saturday 1st March, there was a distinct nip in the air. Amongst a large group of Gulls (mostly BH but also Herring Gulls and a Common Gull) were 3 Mediterranean Gulls. The most obvious was a black hooded adult which sat on the ground. It was in sufficiently advanced summer plumage with white eye half crescents bordering the eye. Whilst I also saw 2 standing 2nd winter (but starting the transition to summer plumage) These birds were quite jittery and I managed a few shots from the mobile hide that is my car, until 2 girls jumped around and spooked all the birds. Nearby at Warren House Wood I bumped into Paul & Jane F and together we heard and then saw a vociferous Chiff- Chaff fly into the wood. Despite checking the wood thoroughly and the Holm Oak copse just 50 yards north of here I was unable to find anything else.
Friday, 28 February 2014
A look at Leathes Ham this afternoon Friday 28th February revealed 7 male Pintail and 7 female Pintail on the small island close to the boardwalk plus a further 7 males and 7 females on the water, so 28 Pintails in total. Close male Wigeon and Gadwall seen too, plus a further 3 Wigeon (2 male and female) on the water.
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Checking Lake Lothing at the Railway Bridge no Shag seen or any around Oulton Broad. However at the Riverside waste ground one fine adult Shag in fine summer plumage perched by the edge and after a while flew onto Lake Lothing. Whilst at Ness Point 12 Purple Sandpipers feeding at the eastern edge, a wave of water brought them closer before they flew with the Turnstones onto the top defence rocks before they flew south to the rocks in front of the old coastguard lookout.
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Arriving at Waveney Forest at 10am by the log pile, we saw up to 5 Common Crossbils 3 males and 2 females, that flew in and perched and fed on or bar the top of the pines, 1 male Crossbill flew onto one of the Alders and was quite confiding. A look at Corton woods, Ness Point and Hamilton Dock failed to reveal any further noteworthy birds. However at 7.30pm in the evening I heard a Wigeon call "weeooo" as it flew over the house, garden heard tick!
Sunday, 23 February 2014
A trip to Norwich today, Sunday 23rd February revealed a fine bonus in the form of a Waxwing seen along Ber Street feeding on apples in a tree in a disused yard formerly used by "The Pot Company" I didn't have any optical aids with me, although the Waxwing was quite close, shielded by a metal fence the bird appeared to be a female or immature as it lacked the waxy red in the wing giving its name. It was quite content to sit there and then start feeding from the apples. It might remain here for a while yet as there were still around at least 8 apples left. Great to see, particularly this winter, when they have been so scarce.
Saturday, 22 February 2014
This afternoon Saturday 22nd February, I parked at the end of the track from Fritton village walked down to Forest Lodge I didn't see very much so I walked across the clearing towards the carpark by the pylons and the log piles and saw a group of birders comprising Andrew E, Rob Wil, Ricky F, Paul & Jane F & OFB. Amazingly they were watching some very close Parrot Crossbills and Crossbills all perched up in a very close larch. At the very top was a male Common Crossbill and another male Common Crossbill nearby, these were brick red in plumage colour with smaller bills and slightly smaller slimmer bodies than the rest of Parrot Crossbills. In contrast the "Parrots" looked more puffed up, with thicker bills greyer less vivid plumage and larger bills. A pale female Parrot Crossbill perched well down in the Larch and showed well, whilst several male Parrot Crossbills were near the top. Occasionally, some would fly to drink water from puddle on the muddy ground below, several male flew to the tops of the Pines and fed on the Pines. I estimated I saw 8 Parrot Crossbills in total 6 males and 2 females. With the tally of Common Crossbills the 2 males. A little later on at the mound, after a pit stop the Decoy pub for a well earned Coffee and Chips, we saw the excellent Rough- legged Buzzard perched on a gate, it later flew back to a further fence post. Whilst, a closer Barn Owl hunted over to the right. A very distant Short- eared Owl patrolling the back margins of the fields was well picked out by Andrew, it was later mobbed by a crow and flew up into the air for a while.