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Friday, 18 May 2012

Marathon birding in the Yare valley

Wed 16th May, little seen at Corton save an Oystercatcher and 6 Starling (4 youngsters bathing in a puddle) and a male Whitethroat on the Corton MOD fence, wasn't there for long as the canon birdscarer lived up to it's name. Nice to finally see the 20 Sand Martins plus a House Martin flying around Corton cliffs just south of the former MOD compound. Any further cliff falls from the south- east section of the compound will render the path inaccessible. Today, on Friday 18th May, a very early start and despite a very slow journey along the Acle straight and the A47 following a convoy of 3 big trucks carrying 3 sail/ propellers I eventually arrived at Strumpshaw RSPB at 5.45am, half an hour later than planned. I walked round to the Tower hide hearing 2 Cuckoo's along the way and 1 Bittern booming. passing 3 birders walking away who had just seen it and when I entered the hide, I was very surprised to see just one other person! The bird just the other side of the water and was near a Willow bush near the edge, on the right hand side perched 3/4 of the way up a reed, reeling a hard buzzing tone. It flew into the bush and could beseen there but it flew to the very edge of the reeds, and the excellent Savi's Warbler, a personal first for Norfolk, showed well in the scope face on, you could made out the whitish throat and smudged brown breast as well as more uniform brown upperparts. As it reeled or buzzed it moved its head from side to side with its bill open. It then flew left to the reeds just by the water and then back to the bush and the reeds to the right of the bush. It showed well on and off like this for some 45 minutes. Until at 6.45am it became harder to see and less frequent in its reeling when it flew a way to the right. Meantime, a Common Sandpiper perched reasonably close on some sticks but was against the light. A Bittern could be heard booming throughout sounding quite near. Singing male Blackcaps 2,a Whitethroat, a couple of Reed Warblers and 4 Sedge Warblers were heard and seen too on the walk back. Next stop was Buckenham,and I faced another long walk to the Mill/ Pumping station, from the car park, I heard a distant Cuckoo and 2 Swallows perched on the railway gate, again against the light. At the Mill, I looked just north-east from there and apart from 8 Ringed Plovers reasonably close-in, I was surprised to see the Pectoral Sandpiper straight away. It then flew a way left, before flying back to it's original spot and feeding behind a male Shovelor and in front of a dark tussock. A fine male Ruff in full summer plumage with black and chestnut ruff feathers around the neck, was seen too. They summer garb always remind me of a Tudor nobleman in fine Tudor costume! Walking back to the carpark, in the meadow opposite the railway building ie. east of it, I heard a Garden Warbler singing and was delighted to see it fly up to near the top of a tree and sing again. At Carlton Marshes this afternoon, from 2pm, around 30 Swifts and 10 House Martins initially seen over Whitecast Marsh. Spratt's Water revealed another Garden Warbler initially heard only but then seen singing from a lone bush by the Orchid meadow, eventually flying up to a tree. Reed Warbler seen here too. Later, walking around Whitecast Marsh, following yet another long walk, by the extreme west corner, a further 2 Reed Warblers were seen by the corner overlooking Peto's Marsh. Walking back photographing a male Reed Bunting on some nearby bushes, I then heard a Cuckoo distantly from the southern GGShrike area of the Reserve. Walking back, a Chinese Water Deer was seen in the field running away towards the eastern fenced area by the eastern corner of Whitecast marsh. VAGRANT EMPEROR PICTURE ADDED TO 22 OCT 2011 BLOG "Vagrant Emperor at the Library" Quickest way click on link beneath popular Posts section at the bottom of this page. Go and take a look!

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