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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Smoky Falcon, a male Red- footed Falcon at Horsey




A tip off from work colleague and friend Peter C that he had seen the male Red- foot down at Horsey from the Nelson Head Pub track yesterday evening had me keen to make up for not going to see them at Hickling Broad at the weekend. So picking up OFB we drove north and parked near the track, also fortunately meeting Chris Ba and then walking down, other walkers told us they (the male and female were still there) Walking down to near the end, we could see 3 birders scoping something just south of them, I could see the excellent immature 1st summer male Red footed Falcon perched on the fence post just by the track, and 75 yards away from the bird was well known rare bird photographer Rob Wils who was busy snapping away, the bird then flew over the field towards us and then over the next few hours hunted for insects mainly dragonflies, seen feeding in flight and then settling on fence and gates posts mainly in the field stretching north of the vertical entrance track. He was an ash grey colour, darker grey above with an inflection of chestnut on his nape and lighter grey below, with chestnut undertail coverts and bright red legs. Over the southern field, we were also fortunate to see a Hobby hunting, and a second Hobby hunting behind or north of the hunting male Red footed falcon in a similar hunting style. Sadly, we didn't see the female Red- foot at all.
The Red- foot treated us to a fine display of hawking and hunting for flying insects, it would fly very low over the field then often fly up high chasing a dragonfly and then over the dunes and would often settle on the fence posts on the western border of the north field. It often flew past us quickly very close to us. On two memorable occasions it perched on fence posts bordering the beach (where we were joined by Richard W) and we managed a few distant shots from 100 yards away. It also perched briefly on the fence posts near the beach and later on by the bushes near the track too. 
By the beach dunes tracks some teenagers driving a hideous buggy vehicle along the track towards us, flushed 2 Cuckoo that flew towards us and north over the field, although unfortunately against the light when they flew by us. Near the end of the beach track on the south side of the path, I noticed 4 very fine looking Southern Marsh Orchids in full bloom. Finally walking back the Red- footed Falcon flew and perched on a post by the bushes right by the track about 80 yards away.
Walking back 4 Goldfinch seen feeding on the path plus a close feeding male Reed Bunting seen very briefly.
A Yellowhammer was heard calling from a tree near the entrance to the track.
Finally, driving back through Great Yarmouth, an Oystercatcher was seen by the Vauxhall roundabout.

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