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Monday, 20 February 2017

Sotterley hoodoo strikes again

I have had mixed fortunes at Sotterley (it is the location I dip the most for example I never saw LSW here but for years I was going to the wrong place the temple instead of the park/ church area) and on Saturday 18th February despite 2 hours of extensive searching both the park and the Church area, I failed to see the Hawfinch, other people have seen it without fail in the preceding or following my visit. Other birds such as 4 Nuthatches, 3 Treecreepers and 2 Redwing showed well.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Locally rare visitor to the garden

On Thursday 16th February, early morning I was surprised to see a fine male House Sparrow hopping about the bird feeders placed strategically high up in the trees along the southern edge of the garden. he simply hopped around from foliage to foliage and really nice to see. The last House Sparrow was seen around a year or so ago.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Bewick's along the Acle strait

On Monday 13th February, 2 Meadow Pipits seen on the grounds of the JPUH Hospital, one flew over the E & EC calling, whislt one flew up at lunchtime by the Burrage Centre and briefly perched on the small roof. Wednesday 15th February at around 3.45pm, driving west along the Acle street I could clearly see at least 3 adult Bewick's Swans close to the road (1 mile west of the Hindu Temple) in the field by the north side of the road in with at least 100+ Mute Swans.

Smew at Minsmere

On Sunday 12th february, an initial look at the pools just west of the old car park from the mound failed to spot any Smew, a trudge around the Scrape revealed a Great White Egret standing in the north west corner of the pool behind the West (Wildlife lookout) hide. It was very obvious with its white plumage and long dagger yellow bill. Very little seen on the scrape apart from around a dozen Black- tailed Godwit and a similar number of Dunlin. A chance encounter with a birder I know, he stated he'd just seen the Smew. On the walk back, a female Stonechat seen near the north wall. Back at the mound overlooking the 2 pools the far west did indeed show first a redhead Smew in the far left corner and then the male with its typical white plumage "cracked" black lines on its body and black round the eye, as always a stunning bird. Both birds were slightly obscured by reeds in the foreground. The male was diving frequently but did eventually swim out towards the middle joining the female. Then a Great White Egret flew into the nearer pool and fished for a while in the right hand corner at one stage with a Little Egret and nearby Grey Heron giving a nice comparison of these Heron/ Egret species. It then flew east towards the north scrape.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Glauc and a dozen Bewick's

On Saturday 11th November on the way to visiting family in Sheringham, I parked at Yarmouth Asda and despite the fact there was a light drizzle, I sheltered under the bridge and scanned for the Glauc at 2pm, Breydon was half way between the peak of high and low tides and there was a channel of water running through the middle but on the muddy bank the other side, I could clearly seen the large biscuit coloured pale winged 1st winter Glaucous Gull with long two tone bill pink with a black tip. In the poor light the lower breast appeared dark but crucially the back was light biscuit coloured and it had pale wing tips and tail. It was stood on the edge of the mud face on. at 3pm on a drive round the old Ludham airfield, a tight huddle of 12 Swans were initially spotted by Jenny and getting out and scoping them the delicate black and yellow bills identified them as 12 Bewick's Swans. Around 20 Fieldfare flew over the road near Gunton, North Norfolk.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Beardies & Short- ears at Oulton Marshes

I decided to look at Fisher Row, Oulton Marshes today, just after 10am I was walking down the entrance hill, a Jackdaw perched in a tree. walking around to the viewing platform, I counted 209 Wigeon and around 12 Teal seen, plus 5 distant Snipe. Dog walkers and a young family hanging around didn't bode well for the Beards but after half an hour I located them at the usual place just past the platform on the left and incredibly there were around 12 Bearded Tits on the ground running around like mice feeding on presumably fallen reedmace. Sadly they were always obscured by tufts of grass and I didn't want to get too close for fear of flushing them. Occasionally, they flew up into reeds and a bird straddling two reeds showed particularly well as did an adult male feeding near the top of a stem, another photographer approached from the other side and I indicated the birds were there and he carefully stalked them. All was going really well until the inevitable happened and a dog walker with a dog of the lead flushed all the birds and they flew across the path or way down the dyke and south and were not seen again, unsurprisingly. Finally a female Stonechat seen by the dyke on the east side of the path. I moved onto the field where the SEO's were seen I walked half way north down the path to the pump house and was rewarded with one Short- eared flying along the dyke by the railway lined over the field itself. I was later joined by Rob H and we saw up to 2 Short- eared Owls plus another seen at the same time, a third Short- eared Owl in the distance flying over the reeds south of the footpath being watched by the Owl paparazzi. Out hearts were in our mouths once when it flew low over the railway line and a train rushed through fortunately no collision. One Short- eared owl would suddenly fly over to our field and on 3 occasions when they dropped to the ground they had what appeared to be field voles, one clearly seen in the beak of the bird and then carried off it flew a short way north and dropped down into reeds to further gorge on its prey. Another time when it caught prey a Kestrel harried it. walking back, one of the photographers pointed out a fine Kingfisher perched on a reed by the side of a dyke nearby giving good scope views.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

East Norfolk trip

Norfolk First stop was Mautby pig fields, where predictably enough , when I had just arrived by a side road overlooking pig fields to the right, west of the road, the Iceland had just flown. Driving down to the far end, you could look back up the fields and pig field area but again as I arrived the Gull flock took to flight again and I missed it again. Heading back to where I started up to 5 Mediterranean Gulls seen. The first bird seen was an adult winter- plumage bird wheeling around, another adult winter bird seen, plus 1 adult partial summer plumage, developing a black hood, 1 2nd winter bird and 1 1st year bird. Looking immediately right/ west a fine Hooded Crow was seen black head, grey mantle black wings & jaggy black breast, contrasting with the pale grey underparts including crucially the grey undertail coverts. It flew and perched near the top or crown of the field before disappearing. It was later seen perched in the crown of a tree before it flew down before finally flying west again. We decided to check the far end. When Justin's friend rolled up saying it just come in a bare field west of the pig fields. Looking we could see a few heads of gulls almost totally obscured by the brow of the field edge. Driving around, we saw a small group of birders and parking just past them I ran down and was directed to the bird which was the 7th bird in from the left. It was an adult Iceland Gull sitting facing us showing yellow bill and greyish nape. After a few minutes the flock flew and the bird flew back to the pig fields briefly settling before it flew left and around over a house and then disappeared with the flock in a north- westerly direction. Next stop was the Clippesby fields near the church and a car was parked by the side of the road and a birder was scoping them from his car. I parked just behind him and counted 205 Geese, there were Pink- footed Geese and at least 20+ Tundra Bean Geese with orange legs a darker brown plumage and dark bill with orange near the tip, but most of the flock were Pink- feet. Next stop Filby, we saw Jeremy G by the bridge (finder of a magnificent BN Grebe by the side of Gorleston Pier) and who better to point out the fine Black- necked Grebe behind the orange floaters, it swam first right past the tern platform and the left. It showed a slim upturned bill and typical winter plumage. Another birder said he had just seen a Red- necked Grebe and sure enough one was seen in the far south west corner of the broad this bird was also swimming left showed typical winter plumage with black/ yellow two- tone bill. Male Goldeneye also seen. On Ormesby Little Broad 2 male and 2 female Goldeneye plus several 8 Great crested Grebes seen.seen. driving back no Cranes in the usual place but driving back along the Acle strait, a large flock of Swans seen a mile west of the Man Dir Hindu Temple (formerly the Stacey Arms/ Cadillac Roadhouse) flock and 2 fine Bewick's Swans seen together at the western end of the flock. Driving back to Lowestoft, I checked the Blood moor road area and struck lucky again, driving up Lansdowne road, I turned right into Kilbourn road and by the junction opposite Honeysuckle Close, perched in a tree on the right were an incredible 27 Waxwing, I counted them 3X to check I had counted them correctly, it tallied each time. They suddenly started trilling in unison and the flew west.