Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Sunday, 9 December 2018
Having gone down with a very sore throat, infected sinuses and toothache it was a weekend for resting up and catching up on sleep, however I did venture out briefly to Ness Point on Saturday 8th December in the afternoon. Grey skies meant photography was out of the questions however amongst 8 Turnstone on the finger was a lone Purple Sandpiper busily feeding, my first for this winter. It then ran down the finger towards me but when I looked again it had disappeared. The light was appalling by this stage. A look in Hamilton Dock, revealed a very close 1st winter Shag swimming left, that always does what close Shags do in the dock as soon as I got the camera gear set up, it also disappeared. I had to retreat to the car and home as the cold was starting to affect my throat again.
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
At 11am on Wednesday 5th December I was delighted to see the wonderful sight of 20 Fieldfare fly past very low and just over my head (they were strangely silent and didn't chuckle once!) as I walked over to the Education & Training Centre from the Burrage centre at the James Paget Hospital at Gorleston. I have a real soft spot for these Scandinavian Thrushes and hope one day soon to get some nice pics of this species. They didn't settle in southern perimeter hedge of the site as hoped but instead continued over to the housing estate and beyond.
Sunday, 2 December 2018
On Sunday 2nd December, starting again at Oulton Broad, I had a fantastic start when disembarking from the car parked on the road, 4 chattering Fieldfares flew low over my head and towards the Nicholas Everett Park. I walked up to the Boat club and despite crouching down I saw 5 female Goosanders swim purposefully away from the jetty, they swam to the back of the Broad. Meanwhile, an additional singleton female Goosander was seen around the reedy edge of the broad just north of Broadlands Marina. She slowly swam closer and closer passing the buoys and swimming past the Yacht club and down the channel towards the Boulevard area of the Broad. She was joined by the other 5 female Goosanders and they swam towards the Wherry. Well pleased with my sightings, checked my phone no news, which was odd I thought. I turned my attentions to the Park to track down the vociferous Ring- necked Parakeet and with the help of a couple saw her perched in the big Pine tree just north of its usual haunts. She then flew towards its favourite tree by the toilet block and spent a little time trying to enlarge the metal protected opening. Realising this was a fruitless activity she gave up and used her beak and feet to give her leverage to climb round to the back of the tree where she briefly appeared in sunlight before flying to the evergreen tree to feed on the berries. She was showing so well, 3 other "dude" photographers got in on the act too. I checked my phone still no news, so saying my goodbyes, I walked back to the Boulevard and I could see 7 Goosanders, the 6 females had been joined by the splendid male. I walked round couldn't see them from the Wherry so I decided to try my luck from the Commodore and walking to the deserted front lawn area overlooking the Broad. I crouched down to view the Goosanders on the other side of the water. To my amazement they started to swim directly towards me led by the ebullient male. Sporting his elegant dark green head crest. It had a lovely dark green velvety sheen and he truly was the emperor of elan, especially being followed by 6 females and their plumage being shown off in the sunshine that had just appeared through a break in the southern clouds. They then swam directly past me swimming north and were too close to get the whole flock in the picture, so I concentrated on the male and was pleased with the dozen or so shots I obtained. On reaching home, I checked "twitter" on the laptop and of course the first thing on there was Rob Win's wonderful find of a Dusky at KSW at around 11am. Obviously I'd been in an internet blacktop but glad noe news had led me to check on the Goosanders again. I cooly had some lunch then drove over to Kessingland and met Jeremy G down the Lane just before the Sewage works northern fence. More people were looking from the north at the fence and I joined them. Their number included Phil H & Dave H & his wife from Norfolk, Carl B and Pauline & Dave (also from Norfolk) Pauline ever vigilant said she had some thing moving in vegetation just above a large bramble bush and I got into it straight away, its Dusky hues and dark stripe and contrasting whitish super cilia confirmed it was the fine Dusky Warbler but as I soon as I latched onto these features it dropped like a stone behind the bush. It repeated these action every 20 minutes or so on at least another 4 occasions. Until neat the end of my visit, having also been joined by Maurice B, I spotted it slightly left of where I had first seen it, back on but again showing its whole body and distinctive head marking when it turned to look at us. Finally ten minutes after that it flitted through at the back in the same area giving reasonably views for a couple of minutes.
7 Goosanders (6 females and 1male) at Oulton Broad was a fine way to see in December also the Ring-necked Parakeet was heard calling from St. Nicholas Everett Park, Kingfisher, Oystercatcher & Little Grebes also seen too. Thanks to Richard S & Jane F for the heads up yesterday that they were still around! As I walked in, I had a quick look for the Parakeet but couldn't see it in a brief look. Spying Andrew E and Paul & Jane F at the Boulevard I made a beeline for them who had seen the Goosanders flying west along the Broad. I hadn't seen them but looking from the Yacht club we saw all 7 Goosanders distantly. I also spotted a Kingfisher flying past far west flying north across the Broad. They then swam back and then flew past and settled in the Broad viewable from the Boulevard just beyond the boat moorings in the middle of the Broad. The male Goosander glowed a Salmon pink- white on his underparts despite the gloomy weather!
Friday, 30 November 2018
On Friday 30th November, I was able to drive over to Oulton Broad for a quick look for the Goosanders, at 7.40am I walked through Nicholas Everett Park, I heard the Ring- necked Parakeet but couldn't see it when I quickly searched for it. I walked over to the Yacht club and scanned Oulton Broad no sign whatsoever of the Goosanders, I checked around by the boats and looked at the Promenade & Wherry too, after 15 all too short minutes I had to leave at 7.55am to get to work for 8.30am (and allowing for the train coming through- caught on the way over but not on the way back). I looked over at Mutford Locke the water was very low so nothing there and no time to drive over to the "Dead end" part of O>B> The dipping sequence continues. I'll try again tomorrow and I'll have more time.
Sunday, 25 November 2018
On Sunday 25th November, I raised new standards (definitely unwanted) in dipping 5 different species in a winter's birding day. In the car park I heard 2 Bullfinches and saw a couple of Curlew but no sign of Hooded Merganser (Blythburgh), there was also no sign of Bewick's Swans (Covehithe Broad), Scaup (Benacre Broad or Cattle Egrets (Carlton Marshes this am. I bumped into Peter N at the car park who hadn't seen the sole remaining individual this morning- my cue to leave!) Walking from Covehithe Broad due north in the field taking the coastal footpath, just north of Smuggler's Lane at Covehithe, 300 Barnacle Geese seen. They were close and they slowly walked back but were not unduly disturbed by my presence. Benacre Broad was better by also no sign of the Scaup although there were females of Red- breasted Merganser (behind the GBB Gulls out to the north- west area of the Broad) & a female Common Scoter (straight out at Benacre Broad plus an ad winter Mediterranean Gull at least I saw something this morning! Also no sign of the Purple Sandpipers at Ness Point in the afternoon. Nothing at Hamilton Dock either. A very poor weekend birding for me.