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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Dip farm lives up to its name for once!

On Tuesday 31st May, from 6pm to 6.55pm looking along the north hedge of the Dip Farm football pitch at Gunton usually a very happy hunting ground for me in both patch work birding and twitching rarities here, but not today. I had a look along Dip Farm at for a Greenish Warbler well found by James W at 3.50pm, but during my visit here the light was decreasing and it started to rain too, so I left. Good to see Ricky F, Andrew E, John H, Dick W, James W, Paul & Jane F & Ali R though.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Temminck's Stint & Kingfisher at Carlton Marshes

On Sunday 29th May, when news broke at 9.30am I drove to carlton Marshes and rushing down the main path, I first joined James B who stated it had just flown off great! I then joined Rob Wil, Andrew E, Chris D & Gavin D and was directed to the bird that was there (it may have flown back almost instantly) on a spit with 3 sleeping Shovelors. It was feeding along the edge, a fine Temminck's Stint, a much predicted and long awaited bird for the area. It walked around feeding, typically diminutive with brownish body, short bill and when seen with the appropriate back ground pale legs. Walking back down the main path we saw a photographer photographing a male Linnet perched on top of a bush. Gavin & I then walked over to Spratts Water and by the back water, the same photographer was seen photographing a juvenile Kingfisher, it was perched in low branches, initially partially obscured I got into position stood stock still behind the photographer and managed a few shots, the adult Kingfisher flew in and fed the youngster a Stickleback it flew off the youngster remained until the other photographer moved and tried to edge closer from another angle, twigs snapped and the bird was gone, another example of poor fieldcraft which is sadly so prevalent these days. At the back of Spratts water Gavin and I saw female Scare Chaser, 2 Hairy Dragonflies and a pale Peacock butterfly. Reed and Sedge Warblers again seen.

No show Black-eared Wheatear & evening trip to Carlton Marshes

Saturday 28th May news broke 9.30am of a female Black- eared Wheatear at Cart Gap near happisburgh, jumping straight into the car I drove there with the aid of the essential OS map and pulled into the car park. Luckily Debbie was there to tell me where to look although the bird hadn't been seen since its original discovery. Great place to visit and really nice to get news of a rarity in this part of Norfolk, which makes a nice change!!! Saw Ricky F, Paul & Jane F, Dave H, Ali, Roy H & Carl. I later went onto Carlton Marshes in the early evening in my quest for Cuckoo. One Cuckoo was again seen around the western end of Spratts water, it settled in a large tree but then flew left and not seen again. Reed & Sedge Warblers again seen plus a Kingfisher flying down the dyke turning in mid air giving me a great flight view. A Mallard showed well in the dyke. Long- tailed Tit seen too.

Carlton Marshes: Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies & Interloper!

On Friday 27th May at Carlton Marshes tonight 3+ Cuckoo calling constantly and flying around the western end of Spratt's Water, 2 birds in particular were flying around the end bushes and the 3 bushes spied from from the south western path, a Cetti's Warbler sang its explosive song and for once I saw the bird, chestnut coloured and it flew from a bramble down into a dyke. A Kingfisher flew and perched on a vertical stick over the dyke + when I was looking at a male Blackcap in the bushes on the southern side of Spratts Water marsh, as I was looking at male Blackcap going up into a tree and looking distressed, I first heard crashing around and then I spied an interloper trampling all over Spratts Water (well off the footpath) and looking suspiciously into several bushes I think he was after nests or eggs. I challenged him he gestured that we was doing photography but a) when you are peering in a bush parting the foliage with both hands and the camera slung around the left side of your body b) crashing around making a lot of noise c) walking off the path d) disturbing all wildlife trampling on flowers and orchids this is no defence! He walked off quickly and sheepishly, I shouted "Oi" he looked around and bingo, I cold now send a pic of him to Mat. Several Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers seen too.

Minsmere Long-tailed Duck

On Wednesday 25th May, I drove over to Minsmere after work to look at the LT Duck. I should have visited the previous evening as the dull overcast weather would have given better viewing than the brilliant sunshine I was greeted with and the sun setting in the west causing much glare on the water on the back of the east scrape where the bird was. I couldn't see it and it wasn't safe viewing directly into the sun with optical equipment. I spied a fine adult Little Gull complete with black hood. BBC cameramen were walking on the scrape one set up a camera just the side of the south hide and a warden came in to warn us to set up another camera by the BH Gull colony. It just as well he did, as all the Gulls flew up into the air, as did the Common Terns and ducks except the Long- tailed Duck, a magnificent male in full summer plumage with long tail only occasionally seen as it was mostly drooped in the water. It swam left and I could see the bird albeit mostly silhouetted. Matthew D and his girlfried then entered and I again showed him a rare bird I had refound! A BBC cameraman with a very fine full beard (as seems the fashion these days, not quite ZZ Top style but getting there!) entered the hide and started filming downstairs.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Now you see me, now you don't!

On Sunday 22nd May, at Carlton Marshes, on an initially cloudy start the sun broke through and on the walk to Spratts water, the 5 dead bushes by the footpath I could hear the Grasshopper Warbler as usual but this time he was perched on the one 2nd in from the right and was singing from a perch 1/3 to 2/3 up in full but often partially obscured view. My first sighting of this species for several years. Walking to the area by Spratt's Water, 2 Reed Warblers seen and further along the path, really good to see Neville S and I walked back to show him the Gropper that was still reeling. A Willow Warbler showed briefly well. Half way down the path just past the 2 bare bushes by the dyke, I heard a plop go into the water it must have been a Water Vole (walking back later it did the same on the way back. A Cuckoo was heard and appeared to be in the western area of Spratt's water actually in the large very well foliaged tree right above me, the Cuckoo then flew out and soared down and out of sight. I saw a Sedge Warbler briefly. I met Chris M, good to see Chris too and we enjoyed first a Song Thrush singing from the overhead wires and then a Buzzard and a pale male Marsh Harrier both flying north. Walking back I broke off from Chris to look at Spratt's water and saw 2 Reed Warblers again. We saw up to 8 Hairy Hawkers patrolling the dykes and an early Wall Brown briefly alighted on the path as we started the walk back. At the car park, I met with Chris again and he said he had seen a Water Vole nibbling on a stem just path the right hand bend by the dyke. I walked back initially no sign although I enjoyed seeing the showy Grasshopper Warbler reeling from his favourite bush. Walking back I saw 3 people intently staring into the reeds they had a Water Vole and just left of a bramble stem going into the water partially obscured by 2 reeds was indeed a Water Vole nibbling on a reed stem with its claws, it spent around ten minutes doing this before leaning forward and plopping in to the water and completely out of sight. Walking back just past the bend were a pair of Mallard with ducklings 2 were bright yellow, another plop into the water must have been a 3rd Water Vole although not seen.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Butterflies in the garden

On Saturday 21st May, for the first time this year from the garden I could hear a Whitethroat singing & then a Holly Blue flew around and settled on a bush and the cooler weather enabled me to get a few shots of it, when the sun came out it opened its wings sunbathing before it was off. A Green- veined White looked exhausted as it rested on the ground at the rear right hand flower bed, therefore posing nicely for the camera & before the sun seemed to re-energise and it flew strongly up and over to next door.