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Monday, 30 November 2009

Hybrid Hoodie

A look at the sea this lunchtime from Baker's Score off Corton was very disappointing despite the long hoped for Northerly winds with absolutely nothing moving during the 15 minute observation.
As I was driving to work along the coast road between Corton & Hopton, I noticed a small group of Carrion Crows feeding near the roadside in the Corton M.O.D. field and one of them was a hybrid Hooded Crow X Carrion Crow which fed face on showing a black throat/ bib and dark grey breast the back was virtually black and I estimated that the bird was about 1/4 Hoodie, 3/4 Carrion Crow.
Pictured is a pure Hooded Crow from Lesvos.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Stately Cranes

Whilst working in Broadland today, I was fortunate to firstly hear and see around 35 Pink- footed geese flying over Martham Library in a "V" formation flying south west. I spent half of my lunchbreak looking for Cranes and was spectacularly successful when firstly,  I saw 3 flying south over Brograve Farm and then even better nearby I saw an incredible flock of 16 Cranes standing in a field, not far from the road.
I parked and watched them (being very careful to stay within my car) from the side of the track as they walked and fed but something spooked them and all 16 flew off in a south- westerly direction.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Ringing Recovery 3XA9

I've just had an E-mail back from Renaud F from Brussels in Belgium, who originally ringed the adult Mediterranean Gull I saw on the Link's road car park at Lowestoft on 15th November this year. The bird had a green ring on it's right leg with the white lettering 3XA9 on it.
This is the second time I have seen this bird, having previously seen it at the same site on 28 December 2007.
Renaud originally ringed the bird as a 3rd calendar year bird on 17th May 2004 at Noordelijk Insteedkdok, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium where apart from deviating to Calais (Aug 2004) and Antwerp (April 2006) it has commuted regularly between Noordelijk Insteedkdok (generally summer months) & Lowestoft (generally winter months).
The bird has now therefore reached the grand old age of 8 years old!
Ringing is vital in tracking the movements of birds, increasing our understanding of their movements and leading hopefully to better conservation of the species and the habitats they require.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Get well soon Ronnie

I was due to see Ronnie James Dio (legendary ex- singer of Rainbow) in concert at the HMV Forum (the old Town & Country Club) this coming Tuesday 24th November.
Ronnie James Dio is one of the best ever vocalists in rock, he always puts his heart and soul into his performance and I have been lucky enough to have seen him 10X live in concert, all great shows.
Sadly the concert, and indeed the whole tour, has been abruptly cancelled due to Ronnie being "hospitalised"
Get well soon Ronnie & very best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Lean Pickings

Having a day off work today, I started at Ness Point where 4 Purple Sandpipers fed, bathed and had forty winks on the rocks at the base of the "finger" that juts out to sea. Always nice to see, I was amazed to see 2 birdwatchers just walk past without even looking!
Even though there was a strong southerly breeze nothing was moving out to sea. Finally 5 Turnstones flew in.
In the parks, a Grey Wagtail was seen briefly perched on the main path in Arnold's walk before it flew down to the stream where it perched for a while on a rock. I then saw "chatty" Paul from Norwich (who wanted to see a Firecrest, should have been here last Sunday, Paul!) and we then made our way through Sparrow's Nest (1 Goldcrest seen) , Flycatcher Alley, N.Denes, Links rd car park, North Beach, Warren House Wood & Gunton Warren seeing just a few flocks of Long- tailed Tits, Blue & Great Tits, 2 Jays north of Warren House Wood. The Gull flock on the Links rd carpark comprised Black- headed gulls, Common & 2 Herring Gulls but nothing else.
Walking back past the Oval along Flycatcher Alley we spied through the wall a close female Green Woodpecker feeding amongst the tussocky grass.
Back in Sparrow's Nest, Goldcrests were heard and several Chaffinches were seen.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Fieldfare Overhead

An early morning Fieldfare overflying the front garden gave it's presence away by its distinctive "chackling" call, it was flying in a north- westerly direction.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Firecrest bonanza

The calm after yesterday's storm initially didn't seem too promising for migrants around Lowestoft today.
Little was seen at Ness Point, but there was a Purple Sandpiper feeding amongst the rocks just north of the point (on the seaweed encrusted wreck of the sea wall.
Checking the parks a lot of common birds were seen in Arnold's Walk, Great & Blue Tits, Robin etc.
At the top of Sparrow's Nest, in the holly by the steps leading down to the Museum, an excellent Firecrest was seen twice. I heard the melancholy call of a Bullfinch and a female settled & perched right at the top of one of the trees before flying west inland. A Jay was also seen.
More Firecrests were seen in Belle Vue Park along the northern path, half way between the bridge and the north- west entrance another Firecrest was seen in the holly bordering the ravine, 2 Goldcrests also flew in here and another Firecrest called in the Holm Oaks behind me.
Behind the Oval, another Jay was seen. Whilst walking past the north- west corner of the Oval and out onto the Denes, incredibly another Firecrest, the 4th of the day, flew into the bramble and remained faithful to this area.
Meanwhile, a chap flying a gyrocopter flew over. Then 3 calling dark- bellied immature Brent Geese flew over (1 had an odd looking bill were they the same 3 Brents seen on Breydon south wall earlier in the month?) and circled over the North Denes 4X,  looking as if they wanted to land, but dog walkers appeared to put them off and the Brents flew off south. 
A final check of the Links Road car park revealed around 70 Black- headed Gulls, 2 Common Gull and an adult winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull but suddenly the flock was flushed deliberately by a young boy, they all flew towards the sea. The adult Med was on the beach with 4 Black- headed Gulls, but again these were flushed by dog walkers.
Fortunately the gulls perched on the groynes, the adult Mediterranean Gull was ringed  on it's right leg with a green ring and the white letters 3XA9 and on the left a smaller silver ring. It was the same bird I had seen on Links road almost 2 years ago in Dec 2007.
This bird I knew from contacting the ringers, was a bird that had originally been ringed 9 years earlier in Belgium. The bird has been commuting between France/ Belgium and Lowestoft for the last few years and it was back again!
This bird then flew back to the Links road car park where it showed well.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Single Snow

Up with the Lark or should I say Bunting, this morning. There was sadly no sign of the Little Auk on the sea off Gunton Warren, although a nice adult Kittiwake perched on the end of the groyne. On Links Rd car park, Herring Gull, 2 Common Gulls and about 20 Black- headed Gulls were around the puddles. On the North Denes a tall clump of Mushrooms/ Toadstools were seen near the car park.
As I was walking back to the car park, a serving member of the Norfolk Rarities committee was trying to stalk something (not very successfully!) along the northern edge of the car park and from within 30 yards he flushed a single very white, probably male Snow Bunting which flew away north- east over the edge of the car park and out of sight over the eastern end of Links Road.
Very little at Ness Point this afternoon save for an obliging Herring Gull on the sea defence rocks south of the compass. 14 Turnstones were on the edge of Hamilton Dock too.


Saturday, 7 November 2009

Late Autumn Treat

Hearing of a couple of Shore Lark on Kessingland Beach this afternoon, I drove to the end of Rider Haggard Lane and walking right at the end I took the steps down the cliff and made my way north along the beach where I could see 4 people hopefully watching the birds, Ricky F & Carl B were nearer and literally had 12 Snow Buntings flying around their feet!
They were indeed watching the excellent Shore Larks, one bird was more brightly marked than the other. They feed on a dried muddy area for a while before some walkers pushed them onto the shingle reach nearby. 
I slowly crawled closer and could see Chris M & Peter N watching from further away, I managed to edge a little closer to the edge of the watery pool area and took a few pictures. The birds fed constantly and when 5 Pied Wagtails flew in they sat and crouched low in the shingle. As I was there the Snow Buntings flew in very close and fed from the water giving close views. 
I took more shots of the Shore Larks as Paul R strolled along with his dog and as I moved away carefully the birds were still feeding on the shingle ridge.
Paul informed that he had just spoken to Andrew E and the Little Auk was still on the sea off Links Rd, Lowestoft. John H had kindly sent me a text earlier to say there was one there, thanks John.
I drove swiftly to the Links road car park and after an initial scan I couldn't see any sign of the Little Auk, but I could see a little group of people on the beach gathered together by the second groyne north of Links road. Always a good sign of a good bird nearby.
Seeing Andrew E & Roger C amongst them it was obvious that the Little Auk was still there close on the sea just slightly left of the groyne. Although the light was fading fast I ran off a few shots of this excellent Arctic wanderer, no not Roger, the Little Auk!
The film ISO sadly had to be 1600 rather than my usual 400 (so there will be a lot of noise on the film) because of the fading light but some shots are better than none at all. 
A final late afternoon treat for the day!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Dusky Warbler

I caught up with the Dusky warbler this morning, found by Nick B earlier in the week.
It apparently ranges widely, but it seems to have settled down between Warren House Wood and the the Holm Oak copse just north of there. I saw it looking from the Pillbox towards the Birch & Sycamore trees just west of there. It was tacking regularly around 10.15am and showed briefly in the trees there where I managed this record shot. 
I had earlier seen a male Dartford singing from the top of the ridge in the usual area.
Brucie bonus was the calling of 3 Whooper Swans which I saw flying east over the warren.
A Firecrest was heard but not seen. Some Lesser Redpolls and a Siskin flew in off.
Later that day driving to Martham for a talk, as the light was fading I saw the usual Ormesby St. Margaret Wood Common Buzzard was having a very late fly around low over the fields just west of the main road.