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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Carlton Marshes Great Grey

On Tuesday 27th March, I eventually got down to Carlton Marshes (having been at Norwich all day) and looking west of Spratt's water by the gate I failed to see the GGS that had apparently dropped down into a bush at 5.50pm. Walking back, 7 Fieldfare flew south chackling as they flew overhead. On Wednesday 28th March, a very early morning visit failed again to reveal the GGS either. But in the evening going down at 5.30pm, I saw Phil B along the lane by the Horse Paddocks. it wasn't there so carrying down to the car park, I walked out and saw Rob Wil and Matt from SWT near the gate. I then walked west to the gate overlooking 3 bushes bordering the southern section of the field. The excellent Great Grey Shrike was perched on top of the nearest bush. The only problem was you were looking almost directly into the sun to view so it was virtually silhouetted making photography difficult. It flew to other bushes and during the period of observation it frequently flew out and caught insects in mid air returning to the top of the bush and devouring its prey. A Short- eared Owl was also quartering the fields and showed reasonably well as did a Barn owl later on. 2 Snipe also flew over. On Thursday again no sign of the GGS early morning. by the horse paddocks by the railway on the western edge of Carlton marshes, I saw 26 Fieldfare and 3 redwing in a field.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Peregrine at the Cathedral

In Norwich today and walking into the cathedral courtyard I saw an excellent female Peregrine Falcon (quite a large bird) flying circling round way over my head and past behind the Cathedral spire at 1.20pm. A superb sight. Apparently one egg has been laid on the nesting platform installed by the Hawk and Owl Trust who also have a webcam so you can get regular updates on the lives of these magnificent birds. Lets hope we get a breeding pair at Lowestoft soon, we've got one/two birds so you never know.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Notts Trip & Famous Grouse

Although not strictly a birding trip, a 2 day break to Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire on the edge of Sherwood Forest revealed several birds. On Wednesday 21st March popping into Ollington Fishbar/ Tourist info (Notts) at the roundabout, on the journey up, I saw a Nuthatch fly over the road and into some trees, on the edge of Sherwood Heath reserve. Staying at the very picturesque Thoresby Hall, (a Warner Leisure Break, a special treat for Jenny) Jenny and I saw several birds including a singing Chiff- Chaff, 3 LT Tits, one Coal Tit excavating a nest hole in a tree. With Great- spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper all heard. Thursday 22nd March, as Jenny was having her Spa/ Swimming treat, I drove a 37 mile trip to the excellent Bamford Moor. Driving to the Ladybower reservoir P&D car park I decided to drive straight on over the bridge turn right at the junction drive for 2.1 miles park on the left handside of the road (opposite a Scottish style grey hunting lodge and walk a mile up (I met a very knowledgable and helpful dog walker who kept his dog on the lead the whole time and told me of the birds that could be seen here, including SEO & seeing Grouse was "no problem!" and meeting him on the way back he had just seen several Grouse on rocks at the top part of the walk) the main path (intersecting great swathes of heather) to the top of the moor. The areas were the heather had been burnt recently were best for the Grouse, just 5 minutes into the walk I saw a pair of Red Grouse to the left of the path, one male remained alert and I managed some picture another pair flew by calling their distinctive "go- back, go- back" call. Further up there was one male on the path and by a grassy area, A Curlew flew away. There were also several 6 Meadow Pipits seen too. By the rocks at the top there were several on territory, one female walked just right behind one rock and I stealthily crept up and managed to get some good pics of this pair of birds at quite close range, without disturbing them. The path forked left and taking this path another 3 territories seen, with 2 pairs of birds I observed from a distance and I retraced my steps. Around 25 excellent Red Grouse seen in all. A great walk which I hope to repeat again soon.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Arrival of Chiff- Chaffs

Early this morning I drove over to Cantley, following a day of A/L, to try and get some better shots of the quartet of Ibis's. The 4 Glossy Ibis were in the usual field at the back of the flooded area and I joined Perry F and a newly arrived Robin C to watch the Ibis. They slowly walked our way first over to the right back side of the pool and then a quick hop and flight they flew over to our (left hand) side walking towards us and in front of the pool showing down to 30 metres. They were constantly feeding, one sported a silver ring on its legs O1N1. They mostly stayed together or divided into twos as they fed. Meanwhile a Peregrine Falcon flew over out heads and then south, then later it flew east directly over our heads too. Robin spotted a Buzzard flew west and a flock of 60 Curlews flew probably disturbed by the Peregrine. An overflying female Marsh Harrier again flying west was notably looked at by the Glossy Ibis as they tilted their head to get a better view. No sign of the Little Owls by the lane. early afternoon, I heard a Chiff- Chaff calling from Fallowfields and nice to see around 7 7-Spot Ladybirds around the backdoor outside. Whilst late afternoon checking Corton, I saw a newly arrivedChiff- Chaff singing his heart out calling from the mid point of a tall tree bordering Church farm and a second calling Chiff- Chaff in scrub just a few metres south west of the old sewage works. 3 Oystercatchers in the ploughed field north and east of the works were joined by 2 calling Oystercatchers, 5 in total which flew in from the north.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cantley Ibis's

An enjoyable trip to Cantley this morning albeit in very poor light and light rain, revealed finally the quartet of Glossy Ibis that had been nye on impossible to see at Burgh Castle/ Berney. Parking at the car park at the end of Station road and walking west for 50 yards then 50 yards south down a concrete road, looking west initially from a gate, I could see the 4 excellent Glossy Ibis feeding by the pool. I went back to get the camera and saw OFB (and later Steve S & Dot). We both went back but unfortunately the Ibis' had flown back quite away. Someone kindly let us look through his telescope at a very distant gate in the fields and an excellent Crane was walking behind it and then beside the gate. The Ibis' then flew in close and fed on the grass by the pool, just 50 metres away then they stood in a line in the water, before flying south and eventually settling on a field behind a farm. On the way back, OFB and I stopped by an ivy clad Oak tree and spotted a confiding Little Owl perched on a horizontal branch, we took it in turns to photograph it. Keeping the aperture to a 5.6 (with a 1.4 converter on) and dialing in a +1 exposure compensation in the bad light. In a field just north of here we also saw a big flock of some 340 Fieldfare and 10 Redwing too. After lunch, I photographed 2 Wheatears, a female and a 1st year male (having had time to look at the pics this evening) on the North Denes Mobile caravan park just south of swimming pool road and just south of here on the grass just east of the netposts. A trip to Kessingland later was not very pleasant and was a complete waste of my time with 2 Oystercatchers seen on the beach by Benacre Pits, the only birds seen.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

First Spring Migrants

Up and out early today, as the weather forecast was dire (rain all day), the first couple of hours of the day was dry and I drove to Links road and walked across the Denes, checking the North Denes and the Oval seeing little other than a small flock of 16 Linnet. Walking past Swimming Pool road and the Mobile caravan park, in the area where the old Toilet block had stood, I spotted 2 excellent female Wheatear. Sadly, they weren't that confiding and were seen around the concrete path area and even flew and perched in a Conifer when disturbed by a dog walker. Nice to see the Wheatears and Don & Gwen, Andrew E and Rob Wil in the distance! Back on the sea wall, walking towards Ness Point, I briefly met Rene and was glad of his shout when he continued on his way, an excellent Fulmar was flying right overhead over the seawall above my head initially flying south it then changed direction and then flew north! Down by the rocks below, 1 Turnstone and 6 Purple Sandpipers seen. The Purple sands were feeding on the rocks and then eventually flew south to the edge of Ness Point. Good to see Paul & Jane and walking back along the seawall another small group of 12 Linnets seen and the 2 female Wheatears back on the stony ground. It was now starting to rain rather persistantly so I quickly retraced my steps back to the car.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Fritton all day!

In the garden a White- tailed Bumblebee seen. A look at Fritton woods, late morning at 11am, parking at the car park, I walked down to the usual area and the first area I checked before the path converging, led to my first Adder sighting. In the best area, I was disgusted to see a load of beer cans and crisp packets which I promptly cleared up; and afterwards I was rewarded in several Adder sightings here too. But down by the far end, just past the Christmas tree, I was treated to first one and then 2 confiding Adders, near the base of a tree. The Christmas tree area had several Adders as always. But another evergreen tree had been cut down next to it and several Adders were here too. Incidentally all the Adders seen were males, the females tend to emerge from hibernation a little later. Just then I heard the "chup chup" calls of some 25 Crossbill that flew past west behind me. Walking back east from the Christmas tree, at around 1pm with strong sunlight, around 8 Adders seen around here as prolific an area as usual. Walking south from here closer to the stream, some 3 Adders were seen here too in an area where I have never seen Adders, just their shed skins. In total I was delighted to see a very credible 15 Adders seen and 2 others (most likely Adders but Grass Snake/ Slow Worm cannot be ruled out) heard slithering away. 2 Comma butterflies were seen on the walk back. Back at the car park, some very vocal "chup chup" calls eventually revealed a Crossbill flying east. A late afternoon visit after a break for a late lunch, walking down to the hump overlooking Haddiscoe Island I joined regular correspondent Paul Wo and we saw up to 4 female Marsh Harriers quartering the fields, around 6 Chinese Water Deer seen including one chasing another and 3 Brown Hare too. I spotted a Short- eared owl perched on a nearby gate and it eventually flew low over the fields and was joined by a second Short- eared Owl. A dark backed male Peregrine Falcon perched on a post by a gate and then abruptly flew north low and fast over the fields. Suddenly, I had spotted my much sought after bird an excellent but much persecuted female Hen Harrier which hunted these fields with impunity (phew, he's in Jamaica!), it kept disappearing probably settling on the ground, it was a pale bird with obvious white rump but wasn't seen for very long. it obvious had passed the word onto Later on a second ringtail Hen Harrier flew low and north over the near fields, a darker individual with obvious white rump but were delighted to see it, especially Paul who had missed the first. A distant Sparrowhawk flew north too.

Friday 9th

Friday 9th March first stop Ness Point, a confiding Oystercatcher was seen on the rocks by the compass. The 6 Purple Sandpipers were on the rocks further along just north of the point. 1 Rock pipit was seen on the sea wall too. A Yellow- legged Gull was seen on the Hamilton Dock shoreline too. Driving to a local marsh, a pale Short- eared Owl seen flying over the field it then settled in the field and showed well and I was able to get within 30 yards of it. It then flew around hunting often turning and dropping to the ground, it then settled on a post. It flew up and down the dyke often hunting close by in the late afternoon sunlight. Saturday 10th March together with OFB we were treated to a repeat performance from the Short- eared Owl albeit in not such good light.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Goosander again

The Redhead Goosander was again showing "ridiculously well" late this afternoon at Leathes Ham, it was right in front of the feeding area, often going after other ducks if they took some bread when being fed by members of the public. I had a problem with a new memory card which didn't seem to be formatting properly, so I had to quickly edit some images to obtain some super close- up shots of the head when it swam left and was well lit with the setting sun. Wigeon and Gadwall were also posing nicely for the camera, c10 Pintails upending over the far side and the usual pale- headed individual came close again. A 7- Spot Ladybird was on the brick wall outside the front door this afternoon today, too.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Ladybirds- 7 Spot and Harlequin

Last Sunday 26th February- 3 Seven-spot Ladybirds were seen in the mild weather. Whilst today at County Hall Annexe at Norwich there seemed to be an infestation by the Harlequin, 7 seen in an around a small room.