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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Greenfinches are back!

On Sunday 10th March rain stopped play, although I was really pleased to see 9 Greenfinches (a record garden tally) in the garden the most I have ever seen in one sitting and the only ones I have seen since the indiscriminate clearance totally of Fallowfields some 2 weeks ago. I have several black sunflower seed feeders especially for them so pleased it attracted a garden record of 9 birds today. Especially welcome since they had been totally absent since Fallowfileds was decimated. The Robin continues to sing from our back trees (the only ones until you get to Parkhill Hotel grounds, too. Delighted to hear my next door neighbour is planting trees (I suggested a few varieties) as a shield at the back of their garden too. We will re-establish a great line of trees and shrubs as a local corridor for wildlife. Now off to get some more nest boxes (Blue/ Great Tits and Robin boxes) to complement the ones I already have and the 5 House Martin nest boxes!

Herring fleet Hills Marshes again

On Saturday 11th March, a trip over to Herringfleet Hills marshes and again I saw the male Green- winged Teal from the woods albeit distant it was swimming vigorously to the left. The wind was very gusty and I managed to see an additional 40 Teal and around 3 Little Egrets too. Walking back 8 Goldfinch seen.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Highest tally of Purple Sandpipers for 21 years!

On Saturday 2 March, a tweet from Rob Wil, had me driving down to Ness Point and initially saw 5 Purple Sandpipers feeding on the finger, then a further 4 Purple Sandpipersseen on the close rocks. Also on the finger, were 17 Turnstone, later more Purple Sandpipers joined them and on the far side of the finger was an incredible 14 Purple Sandpipers, all feeding the far end of the finger whilst the 17 Turnstone fed much closer on the finger. This is my highest tally for 21 years, since 1998 when I had up to 16 birds. After later checking Hamilton Dock, 5 Turnstones seen flying over the dock. Travelling back to Ness Point, up to 12 Purple Sandpipers seen on the compass rocks, plus 3 close Turnstones too. When the sun came out I settled down to take a few pics. Hazards for photographers included a constant procession of people wandering around the compass and forcing the Sandpipers to the far side of the rocks and the now well known shadow cast by the blades on the whirring Wind Turbines, turning a third of the shots into shadow. Finally, a calling adult winter Mediterranean Gull was seen flying over Bird's Eye Factory.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Green- winged Teal at Herringfleet Marshes

On wednesday 27th February, hearing of a GWTeal on Herringfleet Marshes, it was just a little too late to reach the site as I would have got there at 5.45pm after having to retrieve my optical gear from home first the light would have been going rapidly by then. Fortunately, I had a day's A/L and postponed my planned Brecks trip, a Lowestoft Lizardland tick was available. So I parked at the Herringfleet Hills car park (newly re-opened) and walked down through the woods to look over the marshes. I saw Kevin B and we scanned the scrape and literally the first bird I saw as I set up the scope was the fine male Green- winged Teal at 10am. He was with 2 other Teal mostly asleep on small spit of an island. He was seen looking though an unfinished fence/ gate (no right hand post!) Slightly bigger and bulkier than the other Teal with a white vertical stripe seen down the side of the breast. Treecreeper heard in the woods but not seen. I then drove around to the Somerleyton Duke's Head but took the small track to the boat quay and parked there and walked north along the river path, initially no sign whatsoever of Water Pipits but the last bit of marsh before Smock's Mill, one Water Pipit flew up and settled for a while on a nearby gate, only to fly off when the camera had just been set up! Then at least 6+ Water Pipits seen. Behind a distant group of BH Gulls, a fine Ruff was seen feeding along the grassy edge. Seeing Steve S at the Mill, Steve eventually picked up the Green- winged Teal at 12.15pm around 150 metres NE of Smock's Mill, Walking back I checked the Gulls and 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull seen on Somerleyton marshes too.

Stock Doves on Fallowfields

On Sunday February 24th, 2 Stock Dove were seen feeding on the recently cleared Fallowfields at 7.30am, will they be the last good birds I'll see on there before it is built on?

Great day at Minsmere

On Friday 22nd February, it was surprisingly good at Minsmere today, but conditions difficult early & late with fog then looking into v.low bright sunshine. It was initially foggy at Minsmere, but by 10am the fog was beginning to clear and from the West hide looking north east from the hide, I saw the excellent female Smew who was busy preening sat on a spit on the other side, when she had finished preening she dipped her head down and couldn't be seen again, the sawbill was mostly hidden though. 12 Black- tailed Godwits were also seen from the West hide. From the South hide, a group of 30 Avocets huddled together in the middle of the Scrape. Also 8 Mediterranean Gulls were very much in evidence here, all winter adults. Hearing of Dartford Warblers on the beach near the sluice, I walked around but despite the increasing volume of families walking along the beach, a male Stonechat was first seen perched high and then a pair of Dartford Warblers showed exceptionally well. Seen anywhere between east hide and the sluice, the male was particularly showy, and would frequently pop up in front of me as I walked along the footpath, he was especially obliging when he was singing from the top of the gorse and they didn't seem fazed by people at all. Along the beach edge, 3 female Reed Bunting seen too. Entering East hide, I saw John Grant and the fog rolled in again, however it briefly lifted for some 2o minutes revealing a 1st winter Caspian Gull, another Caspian Gull and a Yellow- legged Herring Gull seen too. A great trip!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Back at the Razorbill

On Sunday 17th February, I went back to Asda in the morning, this time with bright sunshine and sure enough the fabulous Razorbill (does the relative lack of white loral line and relatively short bill especially noticeable at some angle indicate this is a first winter bird?) was again on Lake Lothing this time just off Asda at Lowestoft. It showed really well and at point blank range swimming right next to the balustrade bank. So at times I was looking straight down at it. It swam out and showed well where it frequently dived. As usual I ran into place when it dived to avoid any disturbance, although it was very confiding at time being seen at point blank range) A passing boat pushed it again towards the balustrade. It would dive every few minutes and would spend several minutes under water before resurfacing. I noticed it would crouch very low over the water just prior to diving. It some times several minutes under water before resurfacing usually just a few metres away. Marvellous to spend over an hour with this lovely bird.