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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

At a packed Carlton Marshes tonight!

At a packed Carlton Marshes tonight, I drove up seeing a chap hanging around the barrier by the deserted building, yet another one the 300/400mm brigade. He told me the Little Owl had been perched on the building but had flown back to trees by the silo. I saw the super Little Owl perched on an ivy clad branch. I walked around and saw the Owl again perched on a branch. Meanwhile a rather faded Painted Lady, I heard Cuckoo and walking up to the scrape I heard a Yellow Wagtail and saw it perched on the overhead power line. On the scrape around 3 Lapwing chicks were seen along with 2 adults. Meanwhile looking back over Share marsh, a Barn Owlflew along the eastern edge. Back on the scrape 9 Black- tailed Godwit all fine summer plumaged birds flew around. By the western edge of the scrape first one and then 2 Hare were seen. A Cuckoo was seen perched on powerlines enabled a quite close approach the only problem was the light was fading.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Priory garden at East Ruston

On Sunday 21st May, I took Jenny to the fine Priory garden at East Ruston. There is always some wildlife to see here. I was delighted to see a male Smooth Newt in one of the ponds (bricked round edge. that Jenny originally spotted it simply swam out from under a leaf then disappeared under it again. Another more natural looking pond with boarded viewing area one side actually showed around 8 Smooth Newts and 3 males and around 5 females seen swimming around. 1 male and 1 female were often quite close to the surface. 2 swam together for a while. At a third bricked edge pond another 3 Smooth Newts seen and 1 swam up the edge close to the waters edge by a large Ramshorn Snail. Also by some Lavender flowers up to 4 flighty Painted Ladies and 1 Red Admiral plus a brief male Orange Tip flew past. A Swallow perched on top a new aviary and a male Dunnock sang constantly atop a gated pillar.

Potter Heigham Marshes at last!

Just after 4pm on Saturday 20th May, I decided to take a look at Potter Heigham marshes. I took the track immediately after (north) of Potter Heigham Bridge which was just about drivable but the first part of the track was a little hairy and the way I went back (kindly advised by Rob & Andrew) taking a track north half way along the straight bit and coming out past the farm and at Potter Heigham Church was a much better route. Everyone who had kindly advised me where to go had been correct and I had wrongly assumed the scrapes were west instead of east of Potter Heigham bridge. I parked the car at the end and took the 20 minute walk wandering around in a circular route. This was a really impressive area of habitat and we hope Carlton marshes extra scrapes will be like this and host a similar spectacular amount of birds too. 3 big scrape areas were seen and by a spit, it was obvious that the fine Caspian Tern was stated albeit a sleep. A big tern dwarfing even the BH Gulls, it promptly work up sporting its big carrot orange bill which it defending itself from birds flying low overhead. 3 fine Spoonbills stood at the back and I was just about to look at them when the heavens opened and I had to take refuge under some bushes just by the path. There were breeding 4 Lapwings here and 1 or two young Lapwing chicks were seen. I met Jeremy G by a group of people and as we walked to check out the first Scrape, a Painted Lady butterfly flew and perched in a hedge opposite which was it preferred resting place as it kept returning here. Jeremy also spotted a fine distant Kingfisher perched on top of a metal post which I saw through his scope. Also here was a rather drab looking male Garganey swimming at the back, Plus on the first pool around 8 Ringed Plovers and summer plumaged Dunlin. I also heard the calling "chuff-iff-iff" of a Wood Sandpiper but sadly not seen. Walking back to the original scrape, a resplendent male Ruff in all his finery in black and chestnut fancy ornate plumage dressed like a Tudor begarbed noble, stood by the edge of the spit by the Caspian Tern and 2 Reeves stood near him. Immediately a Barn Owl flew past really close along the dyke but alas too quick for the camera. It was later seen flying out of bushes as I retraced my steps on the path back. As I drove back I saw Jeremy G watching a flash in the field north of the track, I heard the 7 note call of a Whimbrel but alas also not seen. A really impressive area but access is a little difficult and parking strictly limited too.

Foulden Common, Weeting & Santon Downham

On Saturday 20th May a trip to Foulden Common, with the gold old team of John H, Tim H and the very welcome addition of Bob C (directions to the common: travel past the village and the public house and from the outskirts of the village its a 1/3 of a mile or 1/4 mile from the village sign travelling past an open area and then wooded area by the first bends park on the left in a bowl shaped grassy area which can take 5 sensible parked cars- using your bins you should see the Foulden Common sign around 50 yards away) by the village of Foulden a fine Red Kite circled low over the buildings here. We walked out into the common lots of grassland bordered by bushes looks a great place. After we had walked around 100 yards I was lucky enough to spot the first of our 2 target species, a pretty Grizzled Skipper perched on a bright yellow buttercup! A really attractive little butterfly brown with creamy specks on the wings. As it was still fairly early around 9.30am the sun hadn't yet broken through the partially cloudy sky, the Skipper posed nicely for the camera before it flew a short way further along, where John, Tim & Bob caught up with it. By the far side around 500 yards walk from the entrance we saw our next target, a fine Dingy Skipper, a fairly non- descript brownish butterfly but nice all the same. Then 2 Dingy Skipper flew up together in circling flight. Whilst a tattier Grizzled was seen in the corner. We walked over to the side by some flowering gorse and 2 fine Green Hairstreaks. Not to be outdone, a Small Copper posed nicely at the side. More Grizzled & Dingy Skippers seen half way back and near the entrance first one then 2 Grizzled Skippers seen and first 1 then 2 Dingy Skippers seen. First one then 2 Brimstone seen near the entrance rounding off a super first trip to this site. Next stop was Weeting Heath, where saw a locally rare micro moth. In the car park, 2 Goldcrests were twittering and perched on weeds by the entrance, whilst an adult and a fledgling Mistle Thrush were seen high up in the the tall one trees just right of the car aprk. The Stone Curlews weren't on the usual field. If we looked opposite the car park, we eventually saw a fine Stone Curlew moving slowly be a small gorse bush where it promptly disappeared. After 10 minutes it popped out again and showed well albeit distantly. A quick look at Santon Downham walking from the car park, literally 30 yards along first one the 2 Wood Larks flew away from the track showing in the rough ground giving good scope views. Not wishing to disturb them, we moved further on. John found a 'Wasp Hoverfly' which I photographed. Cuckoo heard almost constantly, but no sign of any hoped for Tree Pipits.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Trip-less Dotterel & Garganey pair

On Saturday 13th May, it was a poor day weatherise, however I managed up to 3 Swift flying over the house, plus a group of 9 House Martins and a single Swallow flying over and calling plus a showy Frog by the fish pond and a male Orange Tip flew through the garden too. On Sunday 14th May in the afternoon, I visited Tinkers Marshes viewing 400 yards west of the Bailey bridge, in a ploughed field we saw first one Dotterel, an immaculately plumaged female and then I spotted a second Dotterel very distant, but paler and appeared to be a male, reasonable especially when it clouded up viewing conditions were much better when the heat haze dissapated. At Kessingland Sewage Works very little bird wise save for a singing Lesser Whitethroat that remained safely hidden but when I walked back it flew out in front of the bushes and back a few metres revealing itself. I saw Paul & Jane F and as we stood chatting, first a male Orange Tip flew by on several occasions, never settling. The 2 fine Brimstones flew around too. At Lound at Blue Doors Loke, I saw first a male Garganey dabbling at the edge of the weedy area it then swam back and swam under an overhanging bush, the female Garganey was still there dabbling before it too joined the male underneath the bush too.

Mystery Warbler in Sparrow's Nest top loop trail

On Wednesday 10th May, after Carlton Marshes I went straight over to Sparrow's Nest where Andrew E had what he thought was a Greenish W. The bird was quickly located in the very top canopy of a large tree in the middle of the top loop track. It certainly looked the part being very clean underneath with creamy yellow vent and what looked like a dark eye stripe and a whitish super cilia. From the angle of viewing you couldn't differentiate side- on specifically the wings to see if there was a wing bar and it didn't call either, unhelpfully. It could well have been a Northern Scandinavian Willow W, maybe we will never know.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Temminck's Stint at Carlton Marshes

Another great Andre w find,a Temminck's was my next quest and having finished work early today, Wednesday 10th May 1.30pm, I was able to enjoy a gloriously sunny and spring like day our first for over 2 weeks at Carlton Marshes. The reserve was looking pukka following the visit by Matt Baker and BBC's Countryfile the day before pity they hadn't had better weather. Looking over from the path by Spreatts Water, a Cuckoo was seen perched in an alder but calling almost constantly and keeping a fair distance away. It flew past reasonably close but too quick to take the camera off the tripod and try a few shots. Having seen Carl B and Eric P, I knew the bird was still there and arriving at the southern end of the scrape viewing just past the bridge, the fine Temminck's Stint suddenly came out feeding unobtrusively and almost crouching as it fed by the side of the island. Nice pale mousey brown back with a few dark feathers. It then walked deeper into the grass and promptly disappeared. meanwhile up to 2 Yellow Wagtails seen on the scrape a vocal and active bright individual and later on a paler bird feeding close to us. Later a calling Curlew flew in and settled on the back pool and later still, the 7 note whistler, a Whimbrel called and flew off south. Later on around a dozen Black- tailed Godwits flew in at the back. Good to see Alison & Chris A and the newly arrived Paul & Jane F. Alison rang me to say they just had a Whinchat on the western fence of the scrape and sure enough walking up we were treated to good views of this bird perched on the fence. Chris D who was also present kindly shouted Andrew E had just found a probable Greenish at the top loop track at Sparrows Nest and thanking Chris we left to go and investigate.