Wednesday, 18 September 2019
On Wednesday 18th September, I was keen to try and get pics of the Pec, several people had got some reasonable pics including a couple of non digiscopers. It had been little distant on Saturday. Walking around in the afternoon, from 4pm it was very sunny and as expected the light was totally against me. The fine Pectoral Sandpiper was in the Konik field, in the southernmost pool nearest the path running west, it was slightly closer but still distant and of course the light was all wrong. It spent the whole time feeding. 2 Snipe and Teal also seen here. From the South hide, 2 2 Black- tailed Godwits, 8 Dunlin, and an Avocet and a grey Knot seen over to the right hand side. Walking down a Painted Lady seen resting in some foliage and a smart Comma outside the West hide. Not much seen from the West hide, save for an Lesser Black- backed Gull with what looked like a broken wing.
On Sunday 15th September, following a late evening tweet from Andrew E, at 9am we assembled at Carlton Marshes car park and we walked out with John W, Robert Will, Rob and a few others. Walking around we saw up to 100 Red- veined Darters an incredible number, mainly teneral ones but at least one old male with tatty wings seen perched on some dried mud. Walking around the edge we saw around 15 exuvia (the chrysalis larvae case skins, shed when they break out to become adult form dragonflies), with one RV Darter sadly seen bursting out from one case but had very sadly died in mid metamorphosis. Plus, a Greenshank flying around and 2 Snipe seen too. Finally a very fine adult male Migrant Hawker seen flying around the GR Spider dyke by the bridge, it was seen perched a few times too.
On Saturday 14th September, I drove to Minsmere and taking the path behind the Scrape passing both the West and South hides, I then looked over the Konik field and saw the fine Pectoral Sandpiper feeding at the back showed a fine chestnut brown colouration on the primary, it showed a clear demarcated breast band which gives the bird its name and it also showed distinctive straw coloured legs. It was in the area behind the water often concealed by vegetation. I saw Dave J and Pauline M here and good to see Carl B too. Later Lenny T arrived & we both walked around to the beach area, just south of the public hide, where in an area where some gorse met brambles, we saw Eddie M and someone else intently watching something. Amazingly, there were 2 Great Green Bush Crickets, one leapt/ flew off but the other stayed and I was able to get a few pictures of this fine Bush Cricket, my first in the UK and obviously a first for Suffolk. From the East hide, Lenny and I saw a Little Stint by the left hand end of a far island. Finally by the first lot of Tank traps, 2 Dartford Warblers, male and female briefly perched on one of the concrete blocks before flying into a nearby bush. Next stop was the Hen reedbeds, walking out to the John Minihane hide (I am privileged to state that I knew John when he was Summer Warden at Benacre Broad for several years in the 1980's and spent several hours chatting to him over those years) I saw around 4 Bearded Tits fly in plus the excellent Osprey finally seen on a post by the edge of the estuary. Elsewhere, a late Comma butterfly seen and 3 Grass Snakes seen.
Saturday, 14 September 2019
The reason why we have the title of this post will be revealed at the end of this post. On Friday 13th September, after work I drove to Caister and decided to park in Tan Lane to avoid the extortionate £1 per hour parking charges in the car park by the Lifeboat station. I parked carefully in a road with no parking restrictions and didn't block any drives (my Room 101 pet hate!) I walked over and saw Chris from Dereham coming back, he'd seen the bird but more importantly he gave me directions of exactly where the bird had been seen 400 yards north of the Lifeboat station, by the burnt area by the edge of the golf course. There was no sign for an hour on the golf course I saw 3 Wheatears which then flew over to the Dunes area but Terry B (really nice to see Terry hadn't seen him for several years) arrived and almost immediately a small brown bird that probably wasn't a Skylark flew up from the path and flew about 20 metres north appearing to land on the path further along. I looked down the path and it was clearly the excellent Lapland Bunting. We took a circular arc around and viewed the other side of the bush where it showed well and often down to about 15 metres away. It fed along the path and hoped away, Terry then left and I spent some time watch this charming bird. It fed on seed which had fallen from some vegetation. Then Chris arrived again and we saw the bird for a while before it flew north further along the path at which point I left Chris watching the bird. I then went back to the car. As I walked back, a chap walked out of his house and got in his car parked just further along from me (there was several spaces slightly further along by the kerbside which had no parked cars and he then put his reverse lights on, but didn't move back. I thought this was a bit odd, so I then moved off and turned round further up the road and left and later found a note on the car stating "HOW MANY PARKING SPACES DO YOU NEED (underline underneath this aggressive statement followed by) PARK IN YOUR OWN ROAD.") Truly a Victor Meldrew moment, I think I had unwittingly got involved in parking wars amongst neighbours!
Thursday, 12 September 2019
On Wednesday 11th September, a drive to Hen Reedbeds I walked along the path to the first hide (I met Brian S, who had seen the Osprey and kindly said it was at Bulwer's Camp farm and although a very long way off the sun glinting on the fish could be seen. Sadly, he was off before he could show me exactly where. Unfortunately, this has happened many times before (telling me about birds/ wildlife, which for the record, I completely believe- he is Suffolk's best birder- but he never shows me exactly where they are (some of us are not so gifted and sometimes need help in locating wildlife!) and I subsequently never see them (Pallid Swift at Sizewell honourably excepted)! examples include i.e.. Woodcock Orchid/ Spur Winged Plover- Pathos Headland Cyprus etc) same thing happened here, I scanned both sides but try as I might, I could see neither the Osprey or a gleaming fish. The sun was low on the horizon and would have hampered viewing where I needed to look. A Greenshank seen here and over at Blythburgh estuary a Whimbrel and 3 Common Sandpiper (2 buy the muddy shore and 1 flew down the river and east). Elsewhere, compensation came in an incredible tally of 5 Grass Snakes seen, 1 seen by a log pile house (take note Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson!) 3 under 1 bit of corrugated iron and 1 under another. A Whats App message from James W on a possible YW Darter, had me driving back to Gunton Woodland Burial and I saw Nicholas and James W walking back as the light was starting to fade and James kindly showed me an the Odonato which I could clearly see was an immature female Red- veined Darter perched on the edge of the middle of the cornflower strip.
Sunday, 8 September 2019
On Sunday 9th September, a BINS message about a RN Phalarope at Minsmere, had me arriving there around 5pm, I saw OFB & Maurice and they told me it was in the NE corner of the East Scrape where the Marsh Sand had been. Arriving at the hide I headed for the right top, there was a flock of some 30 or so waders mostly Dunlin, but initially no sign of the Phalarope. I then spotted it, the super Red- necked Phalarope, was just underneath beyond th lip of the bay, the swirl of the water and just the head could initially be seen. It then waded though the mud, there was quite a lot of brown on the body indicating it wa juvenile bird. It then walked in the water in front of the flock of wanders which included 2 fine Curlew Sandpipers.
Saturday, 31 August 2019
On Saturday 31st August, at the Vicarage Gardens at Happisburgh this afternoon, 2 Southern Hawkers seen including one by the entrance "Emperor Pond" patrolling the walkway and when we walked past on the way out it was hunting over the pond then briefly settled on a stem. A male Common Darter seen by the pond where several Newts seen previously although this now choked with invasive Parrots Feather. At the ornamental pond with concrete side several water Boatmen seen c8, and what looked like a Common Darter nymph.