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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Owls & raptors

This afternoon, a look around Lowestoft Hamilton Dock, Ness Point and the wind turbine revealed precisely nothing. A change of tack was required, so parking at the end of the road down to Fritton woods, I walked down the frosty path to the bung overlooking the fields and marshes over Haddiscoe island.
I had earlier popped into the town to visit The Works bargain bookshop hoping to find a copy of Collins Birds of Prey for Neville L who requested a copy, sadly I didn't find one but what I did find was "Collins Complete Guide to British Garden Wildlife" by Paul Sterry; a photographic guide to the birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and flora that are resident or visit gardens. A stunning photographic guide particularly strong on garden moths, I can't recommend this highly enough! A steal at just £4.99 and still 5 copies left in the Lowestoft store, they should have copies at the Great Yarmouth store too.

Scanning over Haddiscoe island from Fritton woods, the first thing I saw was a Peregrine Falcon perched on the end of a gatepost, a large individual probably a female.
Close by a female Marsh Harrier quartered the reedbed and later 2 female Marsh Harrier flew past a mill and perched up in some trees. I was delighted to see a fine Short- eared Owl patrolling the marshes fairly close in but over the other side of the river, it would effortlessly almost lazily flap its wings and then suddenly swoop down onto the ground after prey.
Every so often, I would pick this reasonably close bird up hunting just beyond the reedbed. In the far distance another second Short- eared owl was seen and then later whilst scanning I counted 1 then 2 and finally 3 Short- eared Owls flying over the marshes, a wonderful sight!
around c200 Pink- footed geese were on the marshes and I counted 8 Chinese Water Deer out of the marshes too. Whilst scanning along again, I saw a small brown Merlin perched on a post and another second Merlin on another gatepost and on a nearby gate a female Sparrowhawk seen too.
Suddenly, strident "tlueettt- wiit- wiit" calls revealed 2 excellent Green Sandpiper flying north closeby.
Up to 3 Little Egret seen flying around including one that settled in a marshy ditch just feet away that flew again south on investigation. As the light was going, the temperature was dropping a few degrees to just above freezing and my cue to depart. Driving back, I saw a female Kestrel fly across the road too, taking my tally of Falcon species to 3 for the day.

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