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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Gridlock!

Gridlock! at Oulton Broad stuck in traffic for 1 hour yesterday, 40 minutes today & getting tweets regularly delayed (1 hour delay on ALL messages since the weekend) = no birds = cancelled trips 2 days running to Kessingland & Benacre = utterly fed up Peter!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Nightingale at Corton

Receiving tweets about a Nightingale at Corton today Sunday 21st April, hastened my efforts to check around the Corton area, something I was going to do anyway in the hope of locating some newly arrived migrants. Parking by the old Sewage works, I met Rob Wil and he kindly drove me to the parking space opposite the Corton allotments (ie. northern end of the village and opposite the first house south of the Corton Old Sewage works) We were kindly invited in by the gardeners and we initially heard the Nightingale singing from the eastern most hedge of a house bordering the western part of the allotments. It then fell silent when a cat walked into the bushes. We were joined by a birder from Belton and we next heard it by the roadside bushes and Rob Wil did rely well to pick it out as it hopped to the bottom of the hedge by a fence post (located by looking beneath the white ball fence post top of the house over the road! It then it hopped up onto the bare branches of a small tree/ bush in full view for a couple of minutes. It perched looking to the right sporting the rich chestnut upper parts and pale underparts with reddish brown tail. It then flicked down into the bush and out of sight. My first ever seen Nightingale in the Lizard area (I'd heard previous ones along Gunton Cliff, and twice at Fisher Row, once by the tea gardens (found I think by the late Brian Brown) and once in the vegetation just before the "Bowl clearing"- where the tea gardens path starts (found by myself) but this is the first time I had ever seen one in Lowestoft or indeed anywhere else in the Lizard area! A Swallow also flew over. We moved back to the roadside and viewing from the eastern end i.e.. the other side of the coast road, we heard the Nightingale singing in the bush it then moved through the bush and was partially obscured but it was just about ready to hop out in full view again before a car went past and it flicked down and out of sight deep in the vegetation. Walking over to Corton old Sewage works I heard a high pitched "psit" and was delighted to see the yellow belly of a Yellow Wagtail (my first of the year) fly over and head north. Walking up to Broadland Sands around 80+ Sand Martin were seen flying around the cliffs and I heard the 8 note whistle of a close calling Whimbrel I looked around everywhere and couldn't see it. My assumption that it was flying low north over the beach (which I couldn't see) were confirmed when I met Craig he said he'd seen it flying over the beach by Radar Lodge. I thanked & congratulated him for finding the NightingaleBy Corton old Sewage Works field (more coastal erosion had occurred and 2 Oystercatchers were seen in the field. Corton New SW revealed very little save for a couple of each of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell plus 4 Speckled Wood butterflies and a female Sparrowhawk dashing through low through the wood area just north of the complex. A trip into town in the afternoon, I spied another female Sparrowhawk seen perched on the fence just south of Denmark road in Lowestoft and west of the railway station in the early afternoon.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Dotterel and a quartet of Ring Ouzels on Kessingland Dunes

Receiving the twitter message very late 9.10am, (twitter problems again and delay in receiving the messages) I didn't reach Kessingland Beach until 40 minutes later and early birds Paul & Jane were already leaving. Walking up the Dunes it was obvious where the bird was because of the small throng of people peering at it behind a bramble bush, with 2 photographer standing or lying as lone sentinels either side of the them. I joined the first and managed some distant pictures of this fine male Dotterel that favoured an island of green grass amongst the pebbles, he would feed then run a short way as is so characteristic of the feeding action of Plovers. I later joined Clive N who was just standing north of the group and we got slightly closer shots. The Dotterel looked really impressive standing on a ridge and then it ran to a grassy stretch just south of the ridge. I then walked up to the sluice looking from the Northern side where I joined Ricky F, no sign of the Ring Ouzels along the southern grassy bank of the sluice where they had been seen. When we saw first a male then a female Ring Ouzel on the grassy area behind us i.e.. north of us and then we saw 2 "chakking" Ring Ouzels fly past us and north, so there were 4 Ring Ouzels. From time to time we would see a male perched on a bush male on the ground plus at least 1 female Ring Ouzel. When they were flushed again by dog walkers they flew back to the grassy ridge south of the sluice and all 4 birds were in view at once, definitely 2 males and what looked like 2 females? Another dog walker flushed them before we say for definite and looking west along the track we were on, just 20 yards west of us at least 3 Ring Ouzels, 2 males and a female seen, zipping in and out of the bushes. A Swallow also flew south. Before once again they flew north to the middle of the grassy area where they were seen again. Near them were up to 4 male Wheatears. Going back to the beach, I was joined by Dick W and we made our way to the seaward side where we were able to get quite close to the resting Dotterel without disturbing it. After a while it stood up did a series owing stretches and preening before it suddenly flew up and then south along the Dunes before Dave H picked it up flying past us and around 50 yards north of us where it settled more on he seaward side of the beach. We left it in peace and at Kessingland Sewage works, 5 Blackcaps all males were heard singing, nothing on the Sewage beds by the fishing pool, a Swallow flew over and back at the Common, a singing Lesser Whitethroat was eventually seen when talking to Ricky F and Steve, the male Lesser Whitethroat briefly sang from the near the top of a bush before hopping down again. Finally driving back, I stopped off at Oulton Broad and took a couple of pics of the regular immature Shag that was lying on the end of the Mutford Lock jetty.

Carlton Marshes on Easter Saturday

At 1.20pm in the afternoon, a gorgeous male Orange Tip butterfly, my first of the year, flew into the garden flew into the north- eastern corner and briefly settled on the Aubretia before to flew back over the garden and south over the fence. At Carlton Marshes during the afternoon, I walked up to the scrape, On the walk up I saw a Swallow fly across the path flying south, I also heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling 2/3 of the way up on the right hand side, but couldn't see it. The Scrape had 3 Little Egrets on it but little else. Behind me, a Hairy Hawker flew by my first of the year and a good early date. With cloudy conditions and a brisk north- easterly breeze, birds were keeping under cover, I heard 2 Sedge Warblers and Grasshopper Warbler again at the spot I'd heard it on the walk up. At Spratts Water, 3 Willow Warblers, 5 singing or "takking" Blackcaps and 2 Chiff Chaff heard, plus another Swallow, first heard and then seen and a Green Woodpecker and I heard my first Whitethroat of the year. Walking back looking at the dilapidated building, the sun came out and sure enough, a Little Owl (they love the sun) peered out from the window and I also heard a Cuckoo calling tom the northern part of the reserve.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

First Swallow

On Monday 14th April, travelling home after work 500 yards south of the JPH travelling along the A12 just south of Gorleston Links road, I was very pleased to see my first Swallow of the year flying west over the road.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Field full of of Snake's Head Fritillaries

This afternoon following Jane's tweet yesterday, Jenny & I travelled down to the A1120 tourist route to Framlingham and called in at the excellent Mickfield SWT reserve where we first saw 4 and 2 Yellowhammers on the ground, they flew up to the hedgerow and then in the field itself were hundred's of Snake's Head Fritillaries. Most were densely concentrated in the middle of the field with about 10 white varieties also present. We were there from 3pm and I had to wait around 20 minutes for the sun to escape the cloud to get some nicely lit shots. Fritillaries, along with Orchids, are my favourite plants and a chance to see a field full of hundreds fully out in bloom couldn't go unrealised. It was a real joy to see so many in one field.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

New arrivals and Dusky photographed at last!

After 7 separate attempts to photograph the Dusky Warbler, I finally managed to connect and get a reasonable shot. As I walked down Fisher Row, a Green Woodpecker flew to a tree trunk just right of the path and just past the entrance gate, whilst up to 3 Willow Warblers were singing from the bushes just west of the track (First for the year). Over the track, I heard a Grasshopper warbler reeling first for the year, 4 Blackcaps, 2 males and 2 females, were were either side of the path in scrub and a delightful Moorhen nest with 2 adults and 6 youngsters diverted my attention. A Chiff- Chaff seen at the Bowl. I walked up the path to the tea gardens and met Don & Gwen who had just had some very good views of the Dusky, but true to form he it had gone to ground again. However, after just a few minutes, we heard it "takking" again and after a fruitless search to locate it somewhere in the tea gardens wood, I eventually spotted the Dusky Warbler zipping about in a tree just behind the hawthorne and in the very loose company of a Chiff- Chaff bush where it sat for several minutes on a horizontal branch extending out oft from the main trunk of the tree about half way up (but not photographable) it then flitted round, visiting the hawthorne bush several times before it flew out just east of there. It perched for a few seconds right out in the open on a branch for a couple of seconds (long enough for me to get 2 pictures) one was good, albeit in poor light. Don & Gwen then left, I am very grateful for their help in locating this bird. The Dusky flew back into the hawthorne by the path and then flew across the path into the northern most dyke running adjacent to the path, where it flitted around and perched on the vegetation just about the waters surface, I saw it couple of times here through the binoculars before I lost it and finally heard it "takking" by a bush just north of the path. I didn't see it again. Another couple came up and try as I might, I couldn't re-find the bird, but I did hear a Sedge Warbler singing, another 2014 first.