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Thursday, 29 November 2012

RIP Blackcap

Sadly, today, at 11.30am this morning I found a freshly dead male Blackcap who was found on the pavement in front of Great Yarmouth Library.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Waxwings along the A12

I was absolutely delighted today to find at around 8.40am, 4 Waxwings which were first seen as I was driving north along the A12. They were perched up on some tall bushes on south side of the Rackham's Corner roundabout, just north of Barn Owl Lodge, on the busy A12 dual carraigeway. They were initially seen as I was driving along the A12 approaching the roundabout, I saw 4 birds perched up in a bush looking very much like Waxwings! I parked the car briefly along the layby just north of there and walked back along the pavement. I saw them briefly feeding on the berries on the mid southern section, whilst 1 Waxwing was perched high up in a tall bush along the mid northern section of the roundabout. They were suddenly spooked and flew right over my head trilling as they went, always great to hear them calling. A few minutes later they flew back and settled on a bush on the east side of the road next to the roundabout. It was now 8.50am, it started raining heavily and I had to leave for work.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Diver down

Arriving at Hamilton Dock this morning, I heard a splash in front of me, but I couldn't see what it was, as I would have been looking directly into the bright sunlight. Some other birders wandered over saying it was a good thing it had surfaced and shown well. I didn't know what they were talking about, until I wandered away a bit and looked back and saw a sadly oiled Red- throated Diver sitting on the bank barely 15 feet away. It unfortunately some oil around the base of the bill and quite a lot on the belly, too. No doubt, either a victim of the nonsensical oil transfer policy which is conducted off the coast just out of sight of land, or the oil tankers illegally washing their tanks out at sea. The diver looked in a bad way, especially when it rested its head on some rope. But after a while, it appeared to rally and shuffled around looking quite alert. At such close quarters the red eye and upturned bill could be seen clearly. Chris M and later Dale (who I haven't seen for a long while), arrived, with Chris stating he'd seen an interesting warbler in the Arnold's walk, Whilst I was walking through (from Arnold's walk) to the Sparrows Nest in a sunlit tree in front of us and to the left, a Willow Warbler perched out in the open for a few seconds and continued to feed well around the trees and foliage, always on the move. Andrew E, Rob Wil's & Win, Paul & Jane F were also present. A later walk through the long grass of the Denes flushed a Snipe, Song Thrush and 4 Greenfinch. Whilst on the groynes, an adult Kittiwake seen and 3 flying north. Plus a large flock of c50 female Common Scoter also flew north.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Peregrine Over

A Peregrine Falcon flew west in the mist over WHSmith's today (Saturday 17th November), over Lowestoft London Rd North, where it briefly harried a Feral Pigeon right over the store at 11.10am.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wild Goose Chase

A day off work today and first stop Oulton Broad in the bright November sunshine the 135 strong Greylag Goose flock was quickly sighted on the Broad by the Maltings, included the Greater White- fronted Goose, it spent most of its time on the margins of the flock, usually at the back. I could see why, when one Greylag Goose in particular pecked at it's hind quarters on several occasions, being 30% bigger the Greylags should pick on Geese more their own size! I suppose they were saying that the WF Goose wasn't one of their number. I could see Jane F watching from the jetty by the maltings. As I watched the Geese, I saw up to 4 Great- crested Grebe, including one reasonably close individual. An Egyptian Goose stood in the water just a few feet to my left. A canoe, drove the Geese over my side and I got reasonable shots. With car park time running out and someone asking me about a flock of 6 colourful starling sized birds coming into his garden at Maidstone road, had us driving over to Maidstone road area, obviously W
axwings. No such luck though. A pleasant stroll down to Fritton woods and past a new large clearing just before the mound, we saw up to 4 Short- eared Owls hunting the distant fields with one seen perched in a field. Up to 3 female Marsh Harriers patrolling the area and 1 Barn Owl flying reasonably close to by the reeds. 4 Egyptian Geese flew by and a Chinese Water Deer was seen in the field. Around 200 Pink- footed Geese seen at the back of Haddiscoe island, were all checked when they flew up definately no white Ross' Goose seen. Meanwhile, in the conifers we saw a Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and LT Tits and we heard both Siskin and the rattle of a Redpoll flying over. Back at Oulton Broad by Pets corner Jetty, Jane F found the Wood Duck and a stroll to the boulevard, first of all seeing 6 Goldfinches ina tree above us. We then sighted the flock of 155 Greylags on the Broad near the pleasure boat jetty and walking out along the Fishermen's jetty, I was able to get some good shots of the Greater White- fronted Goose especially as it swam around the front of the flock only swimming away when a boat came to more up by the jetty.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Redwing arrivals

There were lots of Redwings heard calling overhead and flying westwards inland this evening at both Gunton (9pm) and Parkhill (9.30pm).

Monday, 12 November 2012

Blackcap First & Kamikaze Owl!

A lovely chestnut-capped female Blackcap, a long overdue, but very welcome first record for the garden, was sitting out in full view on the edge of the middle of our Copper Beech tree (still covered with maroon foliage) at the back fence this morning at 7.45am, for around at least 3 minutes, sadly just eluded the camera. In the evening picking up Jenny from Norwich airport and travelling back to Lowestoft past Hales on the Haddiscoe road just before Hillside farm at around 9.45pm, I spotted a Barn Owl perched on some farm machinery to the left of the road and it suddenly flew kamikaze like towards the car, I had to break sharply to avoid hitting it and it flew right past the windscreen safely, but only just!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Richard's Pipit & Whitefront

At around 9am this morning, it was a lovely sunny morning, I, belatedly made my way over to Covehithe (having resisted the urge to go on a dull and rainy Saturday, yesterday) and walking along the cliff-top fields south-east of the church, I saw a small group of birders looking up the cliff top path around 2 fields south of the track. They were looking directly north along the cliff- top path and I and some Essex birders, stopped at the top of the field looking down. It was in exactly the same area, where I had seen my last one in Suffolk, 2 years ago. Immediately, we saw the excellent Richard's Pipit pop out at the edge of the field of green-shoots (not sure what the crop was?) before almost immediately darting into long grass and weeds by appropriately enough given the day, 2 very red flowering Poppies. We had to wait around 3/4 of an hour before we had good views on the cliff top path, where it gradually made its way towards us. It showed on and off for the next hour, giving good scope views. I also heard a Snow Bunting which appeared to be flying north over the sea, although I couldn't spot it. A Common Darter flew in off the sea and flew steadily inland. A group of around 45 Barnacle Geese flew over and north. While behind the southern group of birders a late Swallow flew west and over Covehithe broad. The Pipit then flew out into the field and perched up for a couple of minutes before flying back and occasionally showing along the path again. It was good to see everyone hanging back, allowing the bird space to feed. Back at the Church seeing Dick and Clive, we scanned the field, for winter finches and Sparrows of the arboreal variety, but we only saw a group of 25 flying Skylarks, 2 Reed Bunting and a Chaffinch. Small group of Starlings, 100, 30 and 45 flew in off the sea. A stop off at Asda, revealed many c80 BH Gulls on the very low water, so low a Redshank flew in tried to land, it ended up swimming for 2 minutes before getting fed up with that it flew west. An adult Shag flew west. Late afternoon, in fading light, I drove to Oulton Broad, following tweets from Rob Wil and Rene B, looking across towards the maltings were 145 Grelag geese and bang in the middle and swimming just in front of them was the smaller White- fronted Goose, always nice to see. A smaller goose, being around 20% smaller, with pink bill and white surround by the base. The new scope was really excellent in the fading light and I could clearly see the bird. It then swam into the pack of geese and I left in the fading light. Paul & Jane F were turning into the car park and told them to follow me back to save time, we also saw Rene B briefly (and having thanked him for his tweet) and we were soon watching the bird again.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Goldeneye

A male Goldeneye was seen at the back of Rollesby Broad as viewed from the A149 road on Tuesday 6 November, early morning. Solitary Sandpiper shot added to Soggy Scilly post, Blackpoll Warbler pics have been added to the "Arrival of the Americans days 3 & 4" Oct 2012 Scilly post. Also Wryneck details and picture notes added to "Soggy Scilly days 1 & 2" post (Oct 2012).

Monday, 5 November 2012

Waxwings!

After a weekend fruitlessly trying to twitch Waxwings firstly at Thurston street, Lowestoft (Saturday) and then Pasteur road retail park, Great Yarmouth by Perenco (Sunday) without any luck. I had to return some equipment to Great Yarmouth Library on Monday 5th November and at lunchtime, having to fill up with fuel, I had briefly called in at Asda to fill up. Passing the new Breydon bridge on the way back at around 11.30am, travelling along the Yarmouth bypass road, just 50 metres from the Gapton Hall retail park roundabout, I noted 5 excellent Waxwings perched on the tree on the east side of the road, driving around the roundabout and pulling into the layby by Gapton Hall retail park, I parked the car just before Black Gate farm and decided to take my lunchbreak. The 5 Waxwings were still perched in the tree and I was able view them from a gap in the bushes. However, they soon flew off and when I drove back, seeing Keith D, I returned to the layby, where Keith D had walked there before me, when I heard the distinctive trilling call of a Waxwing. I looked west across the fence and there were now 6 Waxwings perched on a bush on the "farm area" behind metal fences. Two of their number then east flew over our heads and perched on some berry bushes right in front of us (but the light was very poor here) before a lorry driving past flushed them back to their bush. Another 3 Waxwings, that Keith spotted flew overhead and directly west again right over our heads, so 9 Waxwings seen in total, today.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A few Ness Point goodies

On Saturday 3rd November, I arrived at Ness Point at 9am in the morning and saw some birders scoping 2 Purple Sandpipers by the defence rocks just left of the finger. A further 2 Purple Sandpipers were then seen on the top of the large boulders amongst a group of 5 Turnstone behind the ledge just right of the compass, so 4 Purple Sandpipers in total. On checking the tamarisk bushes, I could see no initial sign of the LW, until I spied some birders gathering by the Tamarisks by the seawall near the southern walk entrance to said wall. A bird flew back into the Tamarisks bordering Birds Eye and eventually it was seen deep in the bushes in particular skulking around the barer branchy bit of the bush, showing on occasions briefly, it was the fine Lesser Whitethroat, looking typically like a normal one. Grey above, white below and browner (earth brown) back. It then flew right, started "takking" and then showed briefly on two further occasions, once out in the open for around 10 seconds! Some birders walked south along the Point and I saw Jeremy G, who was keen to get further views of the bird. Unfortunately, the bird was becoming more difficult to see or even locate, I had only had one further glimpse. It appears to favour the Tamarisk opposite the southern entrance walkway to the seawall and up to the staff entrance gate for Birds Eye. By now I had given up all thoughts of trying to photograph it, perhaps my last chance this year for this species? I met the birders on their return walk from the old Coastguards and they pointed out they had just seen a confiding Snowie by the aerial. A good find. I drove straight round and found Danny P and his 2 children, plus Barry W digiscoping the excellent Snow Bunting. It was feeding between the cracks of the pavement on the raised path at the most southerly tip of the point bordering SLP and next to the cabin there. It flew up the SLP wall and I was just about to photograph it, when a dog walker walked up the wooden steps and flushed it, it flew north. I thought that was it, until Danny P had it feeding around the weedy margins of the concrete floor slabs by the aerial. Another passer-by flushed it back to its original area. A few minutes later it was flushed again by a walker going up the steps and it returned to the area by the aerial. With the others, I tried to get some pics, but wasn't very happy with the results, until it did some wing stretching. When all the others had left I stayed, the sun came out and the bird showed particularly well down to 10 feet right in front of my car and feeding along the weedy perimeter of the blue western most fence. It was nice just to watch it without it being disturbed by anyone. Then some teenagers arrived on bikes and started messing about by the aerial, flushing the Snow Bunting onto the wall just left of the wooden steps, Andrew G then arrived and I pointed the Bunting out to him before I left.