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Sunday, 7 October 2018

Yellow- browed City

Deciding to look at Corton this morning, Sunday 7th October, it was sunny and struck gold when half way down the ORT by the southern end of the Holm Oaks I heard the distinctive call of a YBW, I spun round and saw a bright bird a wonderful Yellow- browed Warbler, which showed well in the top foliage of the tree twice before flying over the track to the eastern perimeter belt. I rang James B and met him on the west side where we heard another YBW call and saw one showing briefly at the topof a sycamore, this time a pale bird, a second Yellow- browed Warbler. Jame went onto check the pond, whilst I walked back to the bridge and taking the west track heard and saw a Yellow- browed Warbler in a sycamore. As I was watching this bird one called behind me and seen in the trees in the middle of the track, a second Yellow- browed Warbler. I was joined by Derek M and James B and we watched a bird the other side of the road calling frequently. Checking out Corton Churchyard, a Mistle Thrush flew east walking over the the start of the Corton old SW track, I heard the rasping call of a Brambling and saw the bird with white rump fly off and walking back a Green Woodpecker also flew east from Corton churchyard. Mid afternoon, I walked round Gunton woods not hearing/ seeing any YBWs but walking past the woodland burial area the cleared path running parallel with the Gunton ORT, I could see a Fieldfare perched on the track, a walker disturbed it before I could get a photo. Turning my attention to Gunton ORT, 2/3 of the way down, a calling Yellow- browed Warbler (my 4th of 5th bird self found today a personal record for me in one day!) showed itself in an Oak and I walked 100 yards further north saw the calling bird again in a Sycamore tree where I was able to get some record shots. I saw the bird from 4.40-5pm. Walking back a heard the 'pssst' call of Redwing and in the field just north of the woodland burial, in the south- west corner amongst c30 Chaffinches feeding here revealed 4 Bramblings including 2 smart males. At Gunton woods Sallows, a Chiff- Chaff heard, at Gunton Meadow south, I heard another Brambling.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Ness Point in the rain

On Saturday 6 October, I was unable to get out birding until the early afternoon, when I met with Andrew E, Rob Will & James W, no sign for me of the Little Bunting which is still a big Suffolk blocker, having never seen one in the county despite several attempts. On the sea, 2 immature Gannets flew south, 5 Brent Geese flew North, 24 Chaffinches flew north and around 18 Chaffinch plus an unseen Brambling heard called its distinctive rasping call flew in off. 4 Rock Pipits flying in off were joined by a further 2, a flock of 6 in total, as we searched around the Ness Point carpark site for the Bunting in the rain and to no avail.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

2 Redwing heard flying over the house

Leaving work early afternoon on Wednesday 3rd October, arriving home I heard 2 Redwing (not seen) appeared to be flying south over the house at 1pm.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Buzzard low over A47 near Corton roundabout

On Tuesday October 2nd at 5.25pm a Buzzard flew low over the road travelling back from work along the A47 just before the Corton Long Lane roundabout.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Buckenham Pectoral Sandpiper duo

Having seen visitors from the Arctic and the east (Finland) in recent days I was now hoping to see some American visitors. I drove over to Buckingham RSPB on the evening of Monday 1st October, initially I couldn't see any waders. Walking down I heard the pink-pink of Pink-footed Geese a small flock of 8 flew in, A Buzzard was also seen perched on a distant gate. I later counted 160+ in this area. but as I scanned past the 150 or so Black- headed Gulls, 5 Lapwing were seen to the left of the Gulls, whilst walking right of them were the excellent duo of 2 Pectoral Sandpipers feeding on the muddy edge, (slightly bigger than Dunlin) with Snipe-like backs and the very distinctive brown breast cut off on the mid breast with whitish underparts below. The were hunched over constantly feeding and one was following the other they were still at Buckenham RSPB but flew off at 6.15pm, when the whole flock was disturbed by a female Marsh Harrier (they'll probably come back though), in front of the Gulls an incredible 34 Ruff flew in. Over to the right, 1 Snipe and 12 Wigeon were on the grass, Finally 1000's of Jackdaws were amassing on the grass right at the back, then they all flew into an isolated copse and then an incredible 5000+ Jackdaws flew over me their collection calls sounding like a high pitched machine gun. Also 300 Rook pre- roost gatherings completed the corvid-fest equalling a great evening!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Blyth's Reed amazingly gives itself up for me just before going to roost

On Sunday 29th September another fruitless search around the local patch this time at Corton Playing field and Corton OSW nothing wildlife of wise of note save for 8 winter plumaged Starlings singing away from pole at Corton OSW, nice to see Craig S and the Border Collies again though. I was tweeting my Beluga pictures out mid afternoon, when incredibly James B tweeted at 4.10pm, Rob Win had just found a Blyth's Reed Warbler in bracken just north of the Lowestoft Oval on the North Denes. I rushed down parking along North Parade and walking down the Oval steps to the Denes and joined Rob Win, James B, James W, Andrew E, Rob Will, Paul & Jane F, Chris M, Richard S, Rene B and others who later joined included Dick W, John H and Paul W. The bird was proving to be typically elusive mainly moving through the bracken, bramble and betraying its presence only by its distinctive "sic" call and at times bracken was seen moving and sometimes, a "Warbler" shape seen moving through. I had resigned myself to dipping this bird as I have done for most of the goodies seen in Lowestoft this Sept (although I was away in Jersey when the Booted warbler was present), save for the YBW. When at 6.35pm, the bird flew right and standing next to Dick W, who confirmed I was in the right area, I saw through my Zeiss Victory binoculars, which are known for giving outstanding visibility and clarity in poor light, and this time agin it was no exception, and I saw the bird hop onto a bit of bracken where it sat out in full view for me for around 5 to 10 seconds. I noted the following ID features: a pale grey- brown bird on the upperparts (not rusty brown or chestnut). The white super cilia was prominent and clearly noted extending just beyond the eye, pale flanks (not chestnut fringed) and importantly short tertial projection (ruling out normal Reed and Eastern Reed Warbler) The legs appeared dark. Before, the bird hopped out of view and then flew into a large bush, presumably to roost, where it continued to give its distinctive "zic" call. My last Blyth's Reed Warblers was one on Bryher, Scilly and I also saw 1 at West Runton in Norfolk on 27th September 2008. A really jammy observation, as I fully expected to dip or have untickable views, but that view gave me a super new Suffolk tick, a wonderful Blyth's Reed Warbler and yet another stunning find by Rob Win, who a regular patch worker and fully deserves the plaudits of this stunning find, especially as he had spent most of the day trying to ID it, the bird proving typically elusive and Rob seeing it only 7X in total. Thanks to James B for putting the news out as soon as the ID had been clinched.

Benny the Beluga Whale, a stunning Arctic visitor

On Saturday 29th September, after hearing of an incredible find of an Arctic Beluga Whale, nicknamed "Benny" or should it be called "Benita"? in the River Thames at Gravesend in Kent, and much talked about in the media making it to the Ten O'clock BBC News and articles in all the national newspapers. I drove down taking John H and James W with me. Using the Sat Nav, we eventually made our way Gravesend to Mark Lane and parked just off here at a very run down industrial estate, littered with rubbish everywhere and walked to the equally run down "Crown & Sepulchre" pub and joined a few potential whale watchers on a concrete platform, having a good and commanding view of the river. The Whale had been seen around 30 minutes earlier. A message 20 minutes later came on John H's pager, that it was being seen just west of our position and we walked along the footpath by the river and came to another good viewing point where the Whale, an excellent Beluga Whale was seen occasionally surfacing usually showing its mid back looking for all the world like a turning white tyre in the water. It was disturbed several times by boats and one time it swam close in very calm water and stuck its head out where we could the line of its mouth but not its eye. It would be seen usually every 5 minutes or so when it would then surface for 1-2 seconds for 3 separate times. When it was disturbed by boats, it would disappear for around 10 minutes. Walking back to the car, seeing Matt D, he said it was showing a fare closer from the Promenade, so we drove around parked by the much more salubrious Esplanade. The Promenade looked really nice and was a big improvement on the very run down industrial estate area where we had been! Around 110 people were around the promenade area peering over the railings, hoping for views of the Whale. Most were "birders" but other curious onlookers were noted too! The Whale was indeed a lot closer being around 500 yards out (instead of 1200 yards away when seen from viewing area we had walked to just west of the Pub) finally giving me a chance to get some photos of it. The Whale was seen mostly around the back of a moored barge, where it would surface every 10 minutes or so and on 2 occasions showed a lot more of its body (see pic. The Harbour Master's Pilot boat even came past and had a look, with a chap with a camera and mid zoom lens (see pic). However, the Whale was seen again. Unfortunately after 2 really massive large container ships went through we lost it from view and decided to leave, well satisfied with our views of this magnificent cetacean. Let us hope that this Arctic stray makes it back safely home.