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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Goldfinches!

18 Goldfinch flew in a north- easterly direction over the garden whilst a Linnet flew south-easterly at 5.15pm today.

Monday, 29 August 2011

20,000 views

Thanks to everyone, I have now had 20,000 clicks onto the blog!
Thank you.
In the garden today, in the early evening, 1 adult Common Frog held court from a Lily leaf in the wildlife pond and whilst I was photographing it, 2 Chiff- Chaff called whilst feeding from the Copper Beech and nearby bushes too.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sparrow's Nest Flycatcher

At 10am this morning, I was walking up Arnold's walk and it was good to see Robert Wil, who kindly showed me in Sparrow's Nest where he had seen the Pied Fly earlier and looking up from my favourite Holm Oak trees overlooking the bowling green we saw the excellent Pied Flycatcher flick up onto a high perch and it was viewed for a minutes before it flitted off again. 
We also saw 2 Treecreeper here.
A Wheatear was seen on the new caravan park area, 3 LBB Gulls on the Oval and 1 Wheatear was seen on the Netposts near Birds Eye.
We later saw OFB and later walking back through Arnold's walk, 2 Jay were seen.
In the garden this afternoon, a Small White butterfly and Silver Y moth were seen.
The young House Martins under the eaves of our house (second or third brood this year?) are getting very vocal, surely about to fledge, very soon?

North Norfolk trip waders & rarities


Yesterday morning, Saturday 27th August, I had a very enjoyable trip up in North Norfolk for a change. Picking up Jeremy G from Gorleston and first stop was just past the "T" junction along Warren road off Sidestrand road just south of Cromer town centre. An enforced wait of 30 minutes due to the heavy rain led us eventually 8.30am to walk south along the road through the wood and up a steep hill where a Holm Oak was and eventually out into the open where other birders stood. From this vantage point "the look out" we could view the tops of the trees of a lot of the wood plus looking further north we could see the town of Cromer and Cromer Pier. It was nice to John H, Ian M & Baz here too. First 1 and then 2 Swift were seen flying overhead. No sign of any warblers so Jeremy and I went back into the wood and saw 2 calling Nuthatches on a big tree and 1 Treecreeper also seen.
It was at this point in the wood that I heard a sharp terse "hu-eeef" call which sounded like the Greenish Warbler in with a tit flock but sadly it wasn't seen despite much searching.
We then decided to press on to Cley when a call from John H 10 minutes into our journey (thanks John) had us retracing our steps back to Warren wood and going specifically to the large green area on the southern border. Running up to a group of birders, I immediately locked my bins on the Western Bonelli's Warbler that was ranging left (west) along the tree edge at around 1/2 to 2/3 height of the trees. It had greyish- brown head and mantle with slight supercilia and crucially unmarked lores in front of the eye (a distinguishing feature for Western as opposed to Eastern) and obviously yellow- green colouration on the wings.
Seen for all of 3 minutes it followed the Tit flock across the field to the hedge on the western border of the open green area and then flew south into another thickly wooded wood.
From here we drove to Walsey Hills, walking down the path we came to the finger post turned left meeting Penny C (she hosts an excellent blog entitled "Hot Birding & Life") and we then walked half way down a field and looking at the bushes at the end we could see an excellent immature male Red- backed Shrike perched on the top of bramble bushes and flowering Clematis. At one point the Shrike flew down to the ground feeding on something, before returning to the top of the bushes again. 

Next stop Cley NWT reserve & it was good to see Chris B at the new very swish-looking visitors centre (I remember the old wooden hut!!) At Daukes hide overlooking Pats Pool, we saw lots of birds, beyond the pool was an island were 8 Immature Spoonbill, 5 asleep & 3 preening. To the left of the island, were loads of waders 5 Black- tailed Godwit, 12 Dunlin and 8 Curlew Sandpipers.  At one point everything was flushed by an overflying female Marsh harrier and all 8 Spoonbill flew up wheeled around in the air (showing greyish-black wingtips of immatures) and settled back on the island. The Phalarope was initially hard to spot, but was eventually spotted the excellent immature Red- necked Phalarope right at the back swimming along going right hugging the waterline it was constantly swimming occasionally spinning around and pecking the water like a sewing machine. A superb bird with brown buff V'd back and dark brown cap, dark mask and pinky buff on chest with white underparts and pencil thin short/medium bill.
Occasionally it would fly, behind the island repeatedly going across the back of the pool and the island. It then flew closer to the watery area in front of the island.
Several Ruff were seen, 2 very close birds in the water and then on the grassy island right in front of the hide and a further 8 Ruff including 1 very golden buff- breasted brown immature
A calling Green Sandpiper flew right across the front of the hide. 
Looking over to the far left amongst a load of Dunlin, 1 Little Stint was walking left along a muddy ridge interspersed by water.
Later looking out from Bishop hide, overlooking the front edge of the Pool several very close waders were seen including Green Sandpiper that was along the muddy perimeter of the pool followed by first a Ruff and a Common Sandpiper. A further 4 Curlew Sandpipers were seen including an adult half moulted out of its fine brick-red summer plumage. 



Friday, 26 August 2011

Garden Chiff- Chaffs

Early this morning in the rain, 2 Chiff- Chaffs were seen in the garden in the Copper Beech at the back. No migrants seen whatsoever within Great Yarmouth churchyard and Great Yarmouth cemetaries north and south sides during a lunchtime vigil in a rare break in the sodden weather, 3 Speckled Woods seen 1 in the south side and 2 wheeling around in a spiral by the main path in the North near the chapel. Arriving at Corton woods this evening hoping to see the Wryneck, I briefly saw James B driving off, I left too without even getting out of the car, as it just started to pour down with rain again.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Soggy Corton

A look around Corton new sewage works this evening following the rain today revealed very few migrants, a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrubby area, 3 calling Chiff- Chaff, with their plaintive contact calls, plus a calling Bullfinch and a female Migrant Hawker hawking the path amongst the Oak trees, was a marginally better return than my usual patch results.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mass clear out!

Up at first light this morning, birding before work down on the Oval amongst some Gulls, the Yellow- legged Gull sat on the field. The Shrike and indeed all yesterday's migrants had gone. Out to sea, the distinctive 4 note call heralded a flock of 10 Whimbrel (viewed from the sea wall with Andrew E)  flying north, whilst later 9 Turnstone flew south.
That was good as it got this morning, as the North Denes, back of the Oval, Sparrow's Nest, Arnold's walk, Belle Vue Park and Corton Old and New Sewage works were completely devoid of passerine migrants. My usual local patch experience.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Autumn migration starts here!

Strictly speaking autumn migration probably starts with wader movements at the end of June, but there is nothing like bad weather, in this case rain for most of the morning to ground a few passerine migrants moving over Lowestoft and set birders pulses racing, mine included!
A BINS message stating that an immature RB Shrike had been seen on the North Denes during the afternoon had me driving over there and walking across the Denes by the Oval seeing James B on the way.
Assembled on the wall was Ricky F, OFB, regular correspondent Paul W, who also kindly pointed out the adult Yellow- legged Gull perched on the middle of a groyne, 2 groynes north of us.
There perched on the small wooden fence sat the excellent immature male Red- backed Shrike.
Paul and Jane also joined us and we shared good views of the Shrike, I then wandered back to the Oval path and got a few distant shots of the bird and noticed there was a Shrike pellet laying beside it on the horizontal beam of the wooden fence (measuring about 3cm long and 1.2cm wide) composed of the hard indigestible bodies of Crickets and so on. proof postive that this bird had newly arrived from warmer climes.
some dogs flushed the bird over and into the new caravan compund and it was seen perched up on several temporary fences before eventually returning to its favoured wooden fence, this time nearer the sea wall.
Also in the compound was at least 1 Whinchat and 1 Wheatear.
As I walked back I heard calls and saw 19 Oystercatchers in a tight flock flying high and steadily southwards over the sea.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Covehithe Waderfest!

Yesterday, Sunday 21st August, we went to Covehithe Broad with Jenny's family and had a very pleasant time there, Jenny and family relaxing on the beach and I was able to look at quite a variety of waders.
When we first reached the beach, a Little Egret was seen in the inlet and 2 Greenshank and then walking around a little further I saw 3 and then 5 Curlew Sandpipers feeding on the mud by the closest island, longer legged, longer bodied elegant birds with a yellowish wash to their breast indicating that they were immatures, 2 Dunlin were also with them. As I marvelled at these elegant migrants from Siberia, a flock of 12 Ruff, brownish tinged, there appeared to be 5 males (larger birds than the females- the reeves) flew in and settled and slightly later on 9 grey dumpy winter- plumaged Knot flew in too, settling just to the right of the Ruff and the Curlew Sands.
Scanning the back of the broad, I counted up to 8 Green Sandpiper. I also counted at the back a total of 5 Greenshank (including the 2 previously seen that flew back to join them).
5 avocet were also seen including 3 brown- tinged immatures.
Looking south I could see a Great black backed Gull in the water close in and next to it and auk even closer in, scoping I I'Ded it as a winter plumaged Guillemot and I walked about 1/2 mile south following the birds as it steadily paddled south and was able to obtain some good pictures of it, especially when it swam close to the shore line, barely 30 foot away.
Skeins of 100 and 30 Barnacle Geese flew north and then inland by the Broad.
Later I met a couple who had also seen Wood Sandpiper, looking amongst the Gulls I also picked out an immature Sandwich Tern and an adult winter Mediterranean Gull. Near the inlet where the egrets usually are, a Wood Sandpiper steadily walked behind a reedy island. Finally 2 Bar- tailed Godwit flew south away.
Jake spotted a Grey Seal and I briefly spotted it poking its dog-like triangular head out of the water on the sea.
Finally a Little Egret flew south over the walk to the end of the cliff from Covehithe church, just east of the farm a female Migrant Hawker flew up and settled on a tree, the yellow "T" could clearly seen on her thorax.

Last Sunday 14th August I briefly noted both Brown Hawker and Migrant Hawker in the garden, with up to 12 Green bottle flies on the Pagoda on Tuesday 16th August. On Saturday 20th August and Sunday 21st August up to 3 small Frogs seen either on the Lily pads of the garden pond or the spikes of the Water Soldier. Still up to 30 7 Spot Ladybirds encountered in the garden too.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Ladybird invasion

There must have been hundreds of 7 Spot Ladybirds on the North Denes and seawall this evening. First seen around Links road car park, I walked along the beach and saw the Yellow- legged Herring Gull, sitting on one of the groyne posts it then stood up shook its wings and flew north eventually settling on Links road car park. Lots of Terns were on the groynes mostly Common, around 100 seen plus 4 Sandwich Terns too.

Covehithe & Benacre

Yesterday evening , Tuesday 9th August, I visited first Covehithe and then Benacre Broads. At Covehithe Broad, I spied 2 Grey Heron, 2 Little Egret several 6 Sandwich Tern and 10 Black- tailed Godwit, 2 Green Sandpiper but sadly the long staying Spoonbill wasn't seen at all.
Walking back along the cliff, a camera shy Painted Lady butterfly (my first of the year!) posed well until I retrieved the camera when it promptly flew, it then posed again until I tried to photograph it and it flew again! Quite a few 100+ 7 spot Ladybird were seen along the walk to Covehithe Broad. A family of 6 Greylag Geese seen in an arable field.
Benacre Broad was disappointing with the highlights being 3 Green Sandpiper flying around the far side and 1 of these birds flying closer in.
walking back a big flock of 300 Canada, 300 Greylag and 100 barnacle Geese seen in the fields.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Old faithful

The adult Yellow- legged Gull was again on Links road car park this evening and flew over to the tide edge on the North beach, sitting down before flying and sitting on the nearest groyne. Again about 25 Common Tern seen on the groynes plus 6 Sandwich Tern (2 adults and 4 immatures) with around 40 Common Terns flying mostly south.
4 Turnstone and an immature Pied Wagtail seen on the beach plus the Yellow- leg back on Links road car park as we walked back.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Red- backed Shrike still there!

The adult male Red- backed Shrike is still showing at Carlton Marshes this evening, following yesterday's almost non- show (I saw it very briefly on the Thurs 4th August morning in the western most bushes), it had been thought it might have moved off; perhaps moved on by the extremely wet day we had had on Thursday. But the bird was still there tonight perched on the bushes viewable from the main west path running through and dividing up the north and southern sections of the reserve.
Rob Wils, Ian S and Jon E were seen, a veritable photographers convention and Rob Wils & I were able to get a few reasonable shots this evening.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Red- backed Shrike again and Blackout!

Just after 7am this morning, I saw the Red- backed Shrike again, a fine male in full summer plumage with grey crown, black facial mask, reddish- brown back and pinkish flush to the chest.
A magnificent bird!
It spent time by the end bushes near its roost site and then hunted for insects and was seen to catch and promptly devour a beetle from a bush just north of the aforementioned bushes.
Also a Barn Owl flew across the field too.
This evening in the company of Jon E and Chris M we saw the Shrike again hunting from bushes a little further north from here, it caught several winged insects during the period of observation.
There was also a full power blackout in North Lowestoft at least including our house this evening between 9.20 - 10.20pm.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Elephant in the Library, Shrike on the Marsh

At noon today, a member of the Gorleston Nature Club brought in a Hawk Moth caterpillar which he wanted identified, he had very perceptively put in a piece of Fuschia plant and flower with it. Having seen one in the garden before, I knew it was an Elephant Hawk Moth larvae.
It was feeding on the Fuschia leaf, the main food plant for this species is Fuschia and Honeysuckle.
I managed to get a few shots.

A BINS message at lunchtime about a Red- backed Shrike on Carlton Marshes saw me down there at 6.30pm in the evening and just past the first field on the left from the car park, we looked out west over the meadow towards 3 bramble bushes. Danny P, Justin L, and Chris M were amongst the birders looking over the area. It hadn't been seen since 4.40pm, we were joined by Clive N & Dick W. After an hour Dick & I decided to check the area out from the western side (the sunny side). We had no luck but we had good views of a Barn Owl patrolling the area. Clive then rang to say he had the Shrike and as we walked briskly back, 4 Jay flew away along the path. Reaching the spot by the gate we walked west along the edge of a field and looking back along the bushes, Dick did well to pick out the excellent male Red- backed Shrike, a fine summer- plumaged adult male with grey head, black mask and reddish- brown mantle perched slightly within the bush. We enjoyed the views for a few minutes before leaving the bird go into roost within the scrub.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Yellow- leg again!


The Yellow- legged Gull was seen again along the shoreline of the North Beach again this evening with around 60 Common Terns seen along on the groynes and several flying south c100 with afew also flying north this evening.