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Friday, 25 December 2009

A Festive Treat

A Christmas Day visit "over the fence" on the Fallowfields site revealed an excellent Woodcock 9.45am that flew from the north-west corner over towards the the houses just north of the Parkhill hotel.
A great start to Christmas Day birding which was enhanced further with the calls of 2 Bullfinch coming from the Hotel grounds.
This afternoon a walk around Oulton Marshes/ Fisher Row revealed some excellent wetland habitat constructed parallel to the river. A Barn Owl quartered the fields north of the site. 42 Linnet flew to a bush just over the river. A Little Egret flew north over Peto's Marsh and landed briefly in the field before continuing its journey to the north- west.
A Barn Owl flew south over the marshes and 20 Goldfinch flew into a tree opposite the stables.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve Local Patch Birding

The Christmas break started in fine style with me seeing several avian goodies around the local patch area today with quartets seen of both Woodcock & Firecrest! This afternoon, a walk around the Fallowfields waste ground just east of Parkhill hotel, revealed a brace of Woodcock, firstly one was flushed at 3.20pm in the middle of the area and it flew west towards Parkhill Hotel grounds. The second bird (& 4th of the day!) was flushed five minutes later close to the wall and simply flew over to the Hotel grounds. Finally, a Redwing flew from Parkhill hotel onto Fallowfields.

This morning, starting behind the Oval & the N. Denes and initially seeing very little save for the usual flock of Black- headed Gulls on Link's Rd car park. The flock was over 100 strong with 4 Common Gulls and 5 Herring Gulls. At first, Warren House Wood was disappointing but a second look revealed the hoarser call of a Firecrest roughly in the middle of the wood which betrayed the presence of 3 birds, but they were very, very elusive. After an hour I had only seen brief glimpses of shapes in the foliage and had it not been for the calls I wouldn't have been able to ID them at all.
Walking up the bank just south of the Wood, on a hunch it might be a good area to explore and no sooner was I peering down into the back garden of 100A Corton Road, than an excellent Woodcock at 10.05am flew up suddenly from the ground and flew over and down towards WH Wood.
Retracing my steps I then clambered up the bank to the old Toilet block bordering Link's Rd itself and again flushed another excellent Woodcock at 10.15am which flew low wheeling round over the green area and then again flying over and down into WH Wood.
In Sparrow's Nest at the top, near the steps a Firecrest (also 4th of the day!) showed very well briefly and in the trees and bushes at the top of the bowling green a Redwing perched up briefly.  
In Arnold's Walk, a Goldcrest, surprisingly a rare sight this autumn flew south over the path near the apple tree.
Back at the Oval on the grass in the south-west corner a female Green Woodpecker flew out and spent some time probing the lawn here.

Monday, 21 December 2009

A Surreal Experience!

I never thought I'd encounter wildlife whilst opening up the laptop computer and especially not during a cold snap in winter, but when I did so tonight, at 5.50pm, I encountered a 10 spot Ladybird perched on the keyboard, complete with yellow legs! I'll post a photo of it soon. The Ladybird was released unharmed into the conservatory.
UPDATE 6/1/10- The ladybird was seen again in the Lounge & having measured it and downloaded an ID chart of native & non native Ladybirds from the British ladybird Society website I can now correct my initial mis-identification the ladybird has a domed appearance, it is 8mm long and has 18 spots on its orange wings. It is the dreaded Harlequin, an invader from Asia and most unwelcome to these shores & our house!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Garden Visitors

With renewed snow overnight, the garden was a looking a picture carpeted with a blanket of 4 inches of snow. A lone Song Thrush (a bit of a garden rarity sadly these days) perched briefly in the left-hand tree before being chased off by 1 of 4 Blackbirds present. The Robin was feeding on the seed I'd just put out and this was also appreciated by a Dunnock and up to 4 Wood Pigeon. A Blue Tit also paid a quick visit but the 4 Great tits & Greenfinch preferred to use the seed feeder hanging from the tree.
A Magpie quickly took advantage of the bread put out on the bird table.
At 9.05am a small party of 4 Snipe flew low west over the garden and 1 peeled off and appeared to land in the corner of the garden nearest the conservatory. I failed to see the bird on the deck it must have flown off shortly afterwards, but it's footprints in the snow confirmed it had landed, albeit briefly.
This species has been much anticipated (especially in this hard weather) for the garden and is a very welcome garden tick).

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Minsmere Quest

A longer journey than usual to Minsmere in order to purchase the latest Suffolk Bird Report resulted in me having to park before the hill at Scolts Hall. Because all the snow and compacted ice provided no grip so ever going uphill. On the ensuing walk I heard the "peuuu" calls of at least 2 Bullfinch and on the feeders briefly was a fine Marsh Tit.
I was pleased to have 2 of my pictures published in the report the Wangford Waxwing (Dec 2008) and the 1st winter Glaucous Gull (Gorleston harbour March 2008 to view the pics go to those months reports from last year).
Having purchased the report, I saw the Marsh Tit all to briefly again and a charming picture of 2 Rabbits huddling together in the snow but sadly they parted when I got the camera out.
Having to take the road to eastbridge avoiding the entrance hill on the way back I was lucky enough to see 3 Bullfinches 2 magnificent males and a female fly from the roadside hedge as I drove by.
In Blythburgh village, a redwing fed by the side of the road until I stopped and it sadly flew. Slightly more obliging was a Marsh Tit that was seen in a small copse of trees opposite.
In the field opposite Pontins at Pakefield 4 Snipe could be seen amongst a few Lapwing there.

A Festive Feast!

Early morning in the garden was for once a hive of activity, the hard weather, 2cm of snow on the ground had pushed the birds into the garden with up to 5 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit on the feeders, a Robin, brief visits by a Jay & Green Woodpecker that perched in the central tree of the garden.
A Dunnock, a Chaffinch and a Greenfinch were also present from time to time, but they were all flushed by a magnificent male Sparrowhawk who sat in the right tree for several minutes attracted by the melee.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Several hundred Geese & Plovers A-Flocking!

First of all apologies everyone for the lack of updates for the past 2 weeks.This is not because I've given up birding or indeed not seen anything (which is the case around lowestoft recently!) We've been without the internet, because of firstly problems with the line and then our router gave up the ghost.
On Tuesday 8th December I visited Horsey in my lunchbreak following work at Martham library, and I saw up to 500 Pink- footed Geese in the field opposite the windmill.
On Tuesday 15th December, back at Horsey again, most of the Geese were gone but there were 8 Pink- footed geese quite close to the road opposite the windmill. By carefully driving to the edge of the field using the car as a hide, I managed to get some OK pictures of them.
Incredibly, by Walnut farm at Waxham, I counted at least 400 golden Plover in the one field here together with 150 or so Lapwing. just north of there I saw an incredible 300+ Golden plover flying north, like a golden haze of birds in flight. So together with the ones still in the field I'd just seen well over 700+ Golden Plover!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Bark at the Moon!

On this clear almost full moonlit night from 10.20 to at least 10.30pm, we could clearly hear the shriek of the "vixen's scream" of a Fox from the back garden. The shriek of a vixen Red Fox was calling regularly and loudly from an area barely 200 yards away and I would say it was coming from the direction of Parkhill Hotel grounds. The shriek could be heard every 8 -10 seconds. I have only heard this shriek before called so regularly in summer at Fisher Row when the mother vixen Fox was calling her wandering cubs to her side in the woodland there. These calls to me, at this time of the year ie. December- February period clearly indicates that the local Foxes are in season and about to start their breeding season and maybe she is calling for her mate? 

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Pink- feet

Just before 10am 2 small skeins of Pink- footed geese flew south- west (c25) & noth-west (c15)
over Martham Library.