Sub- header

Sub- header

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Broads magic

On Sunday 4th December, at Oulton Marshes, Bearded Tits heard in the reeds by the river overflow but a surprising strong east wind kept them low in the reeds. A female Stonechat perched briefly on a bush and a Heron stood on the path ahead. At Martham Broad, initially didn't see there GN Diver but walking up and then back again. The bird swam back from the left arm of the broad, a fine Great Northern Diver swam right by the Mute Swans then swam further over only showing reasonably well when the light had dropped a little. 2 (1 a male) Marsh Harriers flew over at the back and a further 25 Mute Swans flew in. Walking back, 7 Red- legged Partridge seen in the field to the south. Half way up the Horsey straight, a group of around 40 Swans included 4 fine Bewick's Swans seen in the northern end of the flock. I was delighted to see 2 excellent Cranes on the seaward field right hand side of the road, the Cranes flew west and over the road they flew over the inland field then flew south towards East Somerton village. Nice to see Paul & Jane F at the Someron car park and catch up.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Sparrowhawk & Magpie

On Wednesday 30th November, a Sparrowhawk flew up and perched on the roof of the James Paget Hospital in the afternoon. sadly no Masked Wagtails seen amongst the 40 or so Pied Wagtails that scattered following the arrival of this apex predator. In the garden in the evening at 8pm, I heard at least 2 Magpies rattling call was heard almost constantly. One even flew into the Fallowfields hedge beyond the garden fence.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Shrike and Walberswick birds

Having missed a lift for the Shrike yesterday, on Sunday 27th November, I drove down to Sutton Heath, I eventually arrived at the southern most car park and initially unsure where to go, returning birders said I had to walk 800 yards down the road and on the right hand side of the road look into a field opening and scan the distant hedge. I joined a small throng of birders including Paul & Jane F, Jane had picked up the bird perched on a distant bush and having been kindly put onto it. I followed its progress as it spent a lot of time hunting flying down and then returning to a different push usually on top of a bush or an overhead wire. It looked like an ordinary Great Grey Shrike save for the obvious white outer tail feathers, white all the way down suggesting it may be of the "homyeri" race. Indeed the white outer tail feathers were very similar to the pattern of Steppe Grey Shrike. It showed a little more white on the wing too. It worked its way down the fence and then worked its way back before flying even further back where we were joined by Chris L. At one time I saw several passerines flying over including one with a white rump, a Brambling. I then drove to Needham market, but sadly there was no sign of the BB Dipper at Hawksbill or the Weir. I then drove to Walberswick, I reached the shore line and immediately 30 Snow Bunting flew north along the ridge and perched on the beach around 60 yards away. I met Alson A who walked north in search of Snow Bunting, but 5 minutes after I left her, another 3 Snow Buntings flew north along the ridge. By the shore pools, a Great White Egret flew and flew back into some reeds but later walked and fished along a dylke before flying a little way south when someone, a birder walked along the ridge. Meeting Gerald J, we walked south towards Dunwich and I estimate I saw around 440 Common Scoters the majority of these were female. I did spot a female Velvet Scoter with 2 white smudge spots on its head and a tell tale white wing clip. It was seen near a juvenile Herring Gull. A couple of Red- throated Divers flew north here. I also saw a female Eider swimming towards me. walking further along, I again spotted a male Velvet Scoter, this time a smart black plumaged male again with the white wing clip seen. Just before leaving Gerald, I walked back and was really pleased to see 40 Twite flying along the beach heading north. Over the reeds by the Mill, a few Bearded Tits heard but not seen, plus 6 Marsh Harriers and 3 Buzzards over Westwood marshes. walking back through the woods and insane number of Pheasant seen or heard, 1 along the path, 1 in the wood, 2 in the trees- I estimate I must have recorded around 200.

Shrike and Walberswick birds

Having missed a lift for the Shrike yesterday, on Sunday 27th November, I drove down to Sutton Heath, I eventually arrived at the southern most car park and initially unsure where to go, returning birders said I had to walk 800 yards down the road and on the right hand side of the road look into a field opening and scan the distant hedge. I joined a small throng of birders including Paul & Jane F, Jane had picked up the bird perched on a distant bush and having been kindly put onto it. I followed its progress as it spent a lot of time hunting flying down and then returning to a different push usually on top of a bush or an overhead wire. It looked like an ordinary Great Grey Shrike save for the obvious white outer tail feathers, white all the way down suggesting it may be of the "homeyei" race. Indeed the white outer tail feathers were very similar to the pattern of Steppe Grey Shrike. It showed a little more white on the wing too. It worked its way down the fence and then worked its way back before flying even further back where we were joined by Chris L. At one time I saw several passerines flying over including one with a white rump, a Brambling. I then drove to Needham market, but sadly there was no sign of the BB Dipper at Hawksbill or the Weir. I then drove to Walberswick, I reached the shore line and immediately 30 Snow Bunting flew north along the ridge and perched on the beach around 60 yards away. I met Alson A who walked north in search of Snow Bunting, but 5 minutes after I left her, another 3 Snow Buntings flew north along the ridge. By the shore pools, a Great White Egret flew and flew back into some reeds but later walked and fished along a dylke before flying a little way south when someone, a birder walked along the ridge. Meeting Gerald J, we walked south towards Dunwich and I estimate I saw around 440 Common Scoters the majority of these were female. I did spot a female Velvet Scoter with 2 white smudge spots on its head and a tell tale white wing clip. It was seen near a juvenile Herring Gull. Divers flew north here. I also saw a female Eider swimming towards me. walking further along, I again spotted a male Velvet Scoter, this time a smart black plumaged male again with the white wing clip seen. Just before leaving Gerald, I walked back and was really pleased to see 40 Twite flying along the beach heading north. Over the reeds by the Mill, a few Bearded Tits heard but not seen, plus 6 Marsh Harriers and 3 Buzzards over Westwood marshes. walking back through the woods and insane number of Pheasant seen or heard, 1 along the path, 1 in the wood, 2 in the trees- I estimate I must have recorded around 200.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

2 Cattle Egrets again at Gapton Hall Marshes

On Saturday 26th November, I took a walk down a sunny Harper's Lane and initially hearing gunshots I wasn't expecting to see the Egrets but seeing Jeremy staring eastwards was a hopeful sign. Sure enough, looking out in the field by a gate, 2 Cattle Egrets were seen around the gate. 1 Cattle Egret flew back and joined some cattle, the other bird stayed put. As the cattle wandered a little closer although they weeding on mare's tail, the Egret flew over to join them. The other side of the path, we saw a Little Egret stood erect bold upright whilst 2 immature Marsh Harriers flying further out. Back at the Egret field, a Buzzard flew across and settled by a gate before being briefly mobbed by a Kestrel.

Lowestoft and Haddiscoe Marshes

On Sunday November 20th, a pair of Stonechats were best on a morning's birdwatch round Ness Point and Hamilton Dock. At Haddiscoe Marshes in the afternoon from the mound an imm Rough- legged Buzzard was seen perched on a post it later flew to roost (showing white tail with dark terminal end) over Waveney Forest, 3 Buzzard, a female Hen Harrier following the line of a muddy bank, 3+ Short- eared Owls, Marsh Harriers 2 Barn Owls and a Kestrel & around 20 Pink- footed Geese.

Forsters Tern at Mistley

On Saturday 19th November, receiving a lift from Rob Wil, Ricky Rob and I arrived at Mistly Quay in Essex and the weather had been kind to us. The anticipated high winds and heavy rain hadn't occurred, instead we had had the odd light shower. We arrived and the bird hadn't been seen. We decided to look further down the road at Wrab Point we walked left along a fore shore and further along were wooden "beach style" huts and we saw a great deal of birds including 33 and 23 groups of Red- breasted Mergansers (female outnumbering males 4 to 1) There were Black- tailed Godwits c30 and groups of around 50 Dunlin and 3 Bar- tailed Godwits on shore close in. We counted around 17 GC Grebes out on the estuary but couldn't see any rarer Grebes or sea duck amongst them. We went back to the Quay and a chap had a call saying the bird had been seen further east, we drove down to an area by a railway line and walked north to the estuary and along the shore we could see the excellent Forster's Tern flying west slowly. It showed a black smudge around the eye area, a black bill and black wedge on the primaries. It was fishing around the buoy and we had good views of the bird, but it was always too far away to photograph. It eventually flew west. Walking back, we saw a visibly distressed regular Correspondent who cheered up when he spotted it himself later on. Back at the Quay, the bird was around the far western end but it suddenly flew past reasonably close but flew east at break neck speed again too quick for me to photo. At the Quay itself we saw it fly west again, on the far side of the bank, which was Suffolk proper and a very welcome addition to my Suffolk list.