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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Home comforts & patchwork

On Wednesday 13th May, 2 Stock Dove flew past the garden NE at 7.35pm also I saw the Orchids in the orchid meadow. On Friday 15th May returning home after work, 12 House Martins were flying over the Pastures, we are still awaiting the long overdue return of our resident nesting birds. In the local Orchid meadow, 105 Green winged Orchids seen plus 2 Common Twayblades. On Saturday a Cuckoo was calling west from the garden from the direction of Parkhill Hotel Grounds., 4.30-4.55pm and at 5.55pm Also I noticed not 2 but 3 plants of Southern Marsh Orchids in the middle flower bed of the garden. On Sunday 17th May, a visit to to Oulton Marshes I finally saw Garganey at Oulton Marshes, a male Garganey bird sat and was initially awake and then went to sleep on the island in front of the platform. At least 2 Cuckoos heard, 1 heard from Platform marsh and 1 Cuckoo was seen briefly flying low over the fields by the north river too.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Citril Finch stunner at Holkham, Norfolk!

Early morning on Sunday 10th May, the message from BINS of a Citril Finch in Norfolk on Burnham Overy Dunes just west of Holkham woods had me on the phone and I was grateful to be offered a lift with Paul & Jane F. Around half an hour later, I was picked up together with Andrew E and an hour and a half later we were parked up in a crowded lady Anne's Drive. The long mile and a half walk taking the path bordering the Pines on the inland side saw us eventually reach the hilly slacks just west of the Pines. At around 1.10pm, we had met Justin L on the walk down who had seen the bird and Tony S, Keith D, Paul N at the slacks where they too had seen the bird indeed it had just flown back into the direction of the Pines. We also saw Rob Hol who assured us, that like Arnold Sch- it would be back! (and how right he was) While we were waiting we saw a Green Hairstreak on the gorse well picked out by Paul. Over the Pines to our right, a superb Hobby was seen hanging over the wood, with dark upper parts and scythe like wings. Within an hour at 2pm, a greenish bird with a strange call flew from the Pines and then round and west and out of sight, ws that the bird? A little later, a movement of birders to the top of a ridge were the first indication of a possible "pinning" down of the bird and when I walked across it certainly looked as if it had been seen. We were looking down into a scrubby area with a single spindly small tree just right of there and in front of it, a whole series of fallen pine cones on the ground. Just left of the tree, feeding by the cones was the absolutely stunning male Citril Finch. A really beautiful bright bird with green plumage offset by a bluey- grey nape shawl extending onto the shoulders but with green on the front face. There were a few streaks on the mantle a thick green wing bar and black on the wing tips. A really stunning bird that spent its entire time feeding on seeds by the pines and then it moved to the base of the spindly tree and then gradually it hopped around the sandy bank before finally after watching the bird for a glorious 40 minutes, it flew into the bushes. It then flew over us and seawards before appearing to perch in a tree. I then lost it before 20 minutes alter after the arrival of Rob Wil, we saw the bird fly around into a semi circle overhead before appearing to fly down into the first slack by the Pines. I have attached 2 record shots the bird was really too far away and the pictures taken into the light and heat haze there are also heavily cropped and adjusted so record shots only! Only the second record for the UK, and first definite mainland record following the first in 2008 on Fair Isle, a previous historic record of a bird shot at Great Yarmouth having removed from the records. In Norwich over the Fat Cat pub and the obligatory celebratory half pint, cheers Paul, Jane & Andrew, we saw around 3 Swifts overhead (that was before we had consumed our drinks!) Finally at around 7.30pm I decided to have a quick look at the Corton Old Sewage works, not taking my camera; which was a mistake, as first a male Whinchat perched on the barbed wire in the north east corner north side, with the bird being quite confiding and allowing a reasonably close approach. Just behind it on the eastern wire fence a male Wheatear perched too. Satisfied and with the light fading I left the birds still there.

Catch up on Spring sightings

Monday 4th May, at Oulton Marshes no sign of the male Garganey, but an obliging Sedge Warbler in the reeds and 3 Common Sandpipers flying west down the river probably spooked by 3 canoeists powering down the river behind the fleeing waders. On Saturday 9 May, a Kestrel seen hovering just north west of the garden and Close, observed from lounge window at 7pm.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Evening walk around Nest & North Denes

Tuesday 5th May, little seen in Sparrow's Nest, 2 singing Blackcaps revealed 1 male bird singing from high up in one of the tall trees bordering the steps by the lighthouse. On the North Denes, a lone male Wheatear perched on the mid path.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Wheatears & Swifts around the North Denes

In the garden today at around 2pm a Holly Blue flew along the right hand hedgerow of the garden and a fine male Orange Tip butterfly flew diagonally across the garden south west to north east at 2.25pm but sadly it didn't settle. A look around the net posts in the early evening revealed very little save for a flying calling Pied wagtail and I heard familiar screaming ahead and I looked up and 3 Swifts, my first of the year, were flying over the Nest/ Arnold's Walk area. Nothing on the Oval, save for 60 odd Wood Pigeon and Magpies. The dismantled wall in the north east section and a section of wall now fallen down on the south east section would inevitably flush the birds if anybody walked by. Along the diagonal path dissecting the middle of the North Denes, 4 Wheatear were seen including 3 males and a female. I often find Wheatears can be quite confiding especially if the=y perch on a wall & by judicious stalking (crawling on one's knees and using tall weeds as cover), I managed to get close to one of the males on the path and even closer to 2 perched on the stone water tap wall and got within 20 feet of one there to take a few pictures before I left him there in the fading light.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Belton & Lound

On Sunday 4th May, a really enjoyable evening, the yellow flowers of the gorse were in full flower and the heady aroma pervaded the Common, another wonderful sound heard regularly was the wonderful "purring" call of Turtle Doves, with Turtle Dove heard seen on a distant electricity pylon, 2 birds flew 1 flew to far trees one flew back to the cage by the pylon, and its started its evocative purring call again. As I watched the bird, the sides of its throat bulged and puffed out like a bulbous ball. Further along, I heard 3 Whitethroats and another close purring Turtle Dove but I couldn't see it and I didn't want to disturb said bird. Meanwhile, a distant but showy Garden Warbler was seen in the top of a tree. The evening sunlight picked out the yellow flowers on the gorse to great effect. At Lound very little was initially seen. As I drove away however, along the the top of inland lane opposite a field, I saw a Hobby fly low and right low over a field, with dark scythe like wings, clearly seen. Driving past, the usual Little Owl tree the Little Owl sat right out on an exposed branch but alas, the light was going and there was not enough for any photography using the car as a hide.

Bank Holiday at Oulton Marshes

My bank holiday birding has been severely affected because the suspension went on the car when negotiating the sleeping policeman hump and a loud bang underneath me meant I was restricted to local Lowestoft birding, no real hardship. On Saturday 2nd May, it was really sunny weather when I walked down Fisher Row, 2 Chiff- Chaffs seen singing and Willow warbler heard. Down the side path, a Sedge Warbler showed well. Barn Owl flying over the marsh. Walking back 3 Whitethroats seen and heard.