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Monday, 3 October 2011

Boyton Marshes Sandhill Crane Success

Taking a half day's leave from work, I had a second chance at trying for the Sandhill Crane, that had taken up residence in the Boyton Marshes/ Boyton Hall farm area. The Crane having first been seen by Chris D flying south from Kessingland Levels. Chris has got the Suffolk BINS cup in the bag for the second year running! Parking at the car park by the village hall in the Boyton village, initially the signs were ominous (no BINS message since midday, it was now 4pm) and the lady at the car park had said the bird hadn't been seen recently.
But as I walked/ ran the 3/4 mile walk along Mill road heading east out of the village and then over to the track running left of a wood going out onto the marshes, via some crop fields, encouragingly birders were saying the bird had been relocated on a marsh viewed from furrther along and south the seawall, a further 1/4 mile along and I met 4 birders who had it in the field!
Scanning right and directed onto a small pond a ditch that ran just right of here concealed the bird, an excellent adult Sandhill Crane with just its head and neck visible. What a wonderful bird! It had a light grey neck and vivid red forehead.
Noting there were further people along the seawall, I decided to walk around another 1/2 mile walk along to get a better side on view.
So walking under the seawall, I reached a throng of some 30 birders and leaning against the bank looked over and saw the whole bird standing in the field!
The bird was a big Crane sized bird with long paler grey neck and legs. It had grey plumage with bright red forehead. On the body it showed more scaling than a Crane. It was walking around the field. It seemed slightly agitated by the presence of a Little Egret. It walked around the field for some twenty minutes before it suddenly took to flight and flew north around 3/4 mile. walking back the bird was relocated in the tiled field just north of the track by the wood.
The Sandhill Crane was busy feeding in the middle of the field with its head down feeding on either potatoes or sugar beet. It walked close to the edge of an area of green shoots and was constantly feeding, it would occasionally look straight up and around if alerted from calls from other birds or the firing shots of a mechanical bird scarer in the field opposite. It continued to feed as the light started to go and well satisfied I decided to leave at 6.45pm.


Paul Woolnough said...

I asked some Lizards where you were, Sunday.

Some Norfolk birders made a rare trip across the border for the crane

I spent all the weekend in Suffolk
Yellow-browed warbler at Sparrows Nest and another at Flycatcher Alley plus my first pied flycatcher at the Alley - at the north end in sycamores.

Nearly trod on two snow buntings at Minsmere beach looking out for the crane flying over. (Not seen!)

Grand tour of North Warren, Orford and Boyton via Shingle Street. One of us rang a Suffolk birder for directions on Sunday. Could not help - they were on Shetland!

Dotterel at Levington to finish.

Third Suffolk lifer at Boyton after isabelline shrike and self found montagu's harrier

Peter Ransome said...

I was in Buxton, North- east Derbyshire seeing Ritchie Blackmore (of Deep Purple/ Rainbow fame) live in concert! rare birds have a knack of turning up when I am away! Fortunately the Crane stayed. Phew!
Missed the Ybw's although I would hope I'd catch up with at least one this autumn or find my own.
Cheers, Peter