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Sunday, 14 April 2013

4/6 Long- eared Owl's, RF Bluetail & 12,000 Redwing

I had a tweet from James B today who had done well to find a Long- eared Owl perched in some gorse on the east side of the railway line at Hopton, around 100 yards north of the bungalow and 200 yards south of Radar lodge entrance track, I saw Tony B here and some other birders walking up the stubble field. We saw the bird roosting in the gorse bush behind a thick horizontal branch, although most of the head was obscured by the gorse bush, although its orange left eye could be seen at certain angles. Walking along the green field just west of the old Sewage works, several Redwings flew north just along the hedgerow, and then a brown elongated Thrush flew up calling a distinctive Rouzel chacking, showing silvery wings and a whitish breast band , it was an excellent female Ring Ouzel. 3 then 5 Sand Martins were seen flying around just off Corton Cliffs and then Corton MOD, 1 Yellow Wagtail flew over the field by Corton MOD, calling but not seen. Visiting the Corton ORT by the plantation following a text from Ricky F, a Brambling was heard flying over the Corton ORT, but again not seen. By the Holm oak along the south east end, as I was texting a 1 Long- eared Owl flew from plantation towards Sallows (but I didn't see it this time). The Long- eared Owl was seen again briefly perched near the top of the sallows viewed from the south before it flew back to the track. Going back to the track Jane F cut across to western edge of the track just before the plantation and flushed the Long- eared Owl flew south again. By the hedge south of the Sallows, Comma seen on the ground and I pished out a lovely Firecrest, which simply worked its way east along the hedge. Driving along A12 just before Hopton roundabout, a Swallow flew south. At Horsey gap, the Red- flanked Bluetail seen just 100 yards north of Horsey gap car park, in a scrubby copse area, the Bluetail seen almost immediately as it darted onto to a twig just a foot of the ground the bird seen well for a minute. It showed the small white throat orange on the flanks and a blue tail. I assume the bird is a female. By the northern edge the bird was seen well perched in bare bushes through the fence and later it flew and perched twice on the fence and fence post. It later flew out and across the path and east to scrub here. Meanwhile, 2 Swallow and 1 Sand Martin flew south along here. At Winterton, 2 Long- eared Owls were seen in large Holly bush around 200 yards south of Hermaness restaurant down in the valley western slope. Looking down on them from some steps and a cliff top garden where the owners had kindly granted us access. We looked down at around 8 o' clock, into a hole in the bush where first one was seen, and the first bird could be seen almost full view from the breast up, it opened its lovely orange eyes within the heart- shaped warm brown facial disc and long ear tufts on its head. the second bird was 10 o'clock from it just a metre away and looking west sideways on, again the long ear tufts noted, gorgeous birds! Back in the garden 7 Frogs were seen in the fish pond and just 1 Frog in the wildlife pond. I decided to put 605 of the frog spawn into the wildlife pond as the Fish will ultimately gorge themselves on the fry. During, late evening an incredible gathering of Thrushes were seen from the field just west of Corton old Sw and just east of Corton Church. Together with andrew E, Robs Wil & Win, Paul & Jane F, Richard W we saw literally thousands of Thrushes especially Redwing, I saw 12,000+ with 1 flock totalling 3,000 birds, Redwings lined the nearby trees and comprised groups of several hundred plus as they flew out to sea. By contrast just 100 Fieldfare and 50 Blackbird seen. I spotted an Eared owl species, it was a Long- eared Owl at 19.58 hrs flying high in the sky, shorter winged than a SEO and it flew slowly out to sea. Later Rob Wil spotted another excellent Long- eared Owl flying behind the tree line to the north of the field. It then flew and perched in a tall tree, accompanied by a Thrush just beneath it for a couple of minutes before it too flew out to sea.

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