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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Migrants on the North Denes

At 9.55am this morning a Hornet was seen on the flowers for a couple of minutes on the front floer bed, first spotted and identified by Jenny, she'll be needing a pair of bins next, she can have my old Zeiss Dialyts! Walking along the North Denes this morning included an excellent Spotted Flycatcher that flew to the top a bush, surrounded by 2 female Whitethroats. saw Big Steve & Norman and was able to put them onto the bird. It then flew down and perched a few feet down from the top for some 20 minutes first being face on and then hopping to be back on. It eventually flew out and flew north a way, but on the return journey it was back on the bush perched at the very top. Further along by the Links road car park, a Lesser Whitethroat flew to a elderberry bush and was joined by another Whitethroat. An excellent Garden Warbler flew to a Buddlea bush and perched for about a minute before flying off. An excellent Clouded Yellow flew to a yellow plant and perched before flying again. At Ness Point the juvenile Red- backed Shrike perched in a Buddlea bush on the western boundary of the Turbine compound, spending alot of time perched on the left hand side of the big buddlea. In the garden early evening was a male Common Darter preched on the tip of a runner bean caneand a female/ immature Migrant Hawker.

Curlew Sandpipers at Cley

Having to go to Cleyspey on Friday 30th August (TOIL from work!), OFB & I popped into Cley early afternoon, always a delight to come here but sadly we had very limited time. From checking the hide at Pats Pool, we saw a load of waders including 30 Black- tailed Godwit, up to 9 Curlew Sandpipers, in more winter or immature plumages, 10 Dunlin, 7 Ruff and 2 Common Sandpipers. The Curlew Sandpipers were bigger than the Dunlin, "cleaner" with brown above and white below or a peach flush on the upper flanks and of course longer down curved bills and more elongated shape, very elegant waders. Around 5 Little Egret and a Wigeon seen also, but no sign of the hoped for Little Stints. In the gadren in the evening 2 female/ immature Migrant Hawkers and a female Common Darter.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Shrike duo at Lowestoft this evening

A wonderfully sunny evening on Thursday 29th August just after work had me out on the North Denes and the Red- backed Shrike was sat on the middle of the west side of the usual big bramble bush just north of the Oval. The Shrike sat there dozing for a while before gently waking up looking around, up and to the side and then it eventually woke up and flew to a different bramble branch and promptly caught an insect. A little later, the Shrike could be seen coughing up a pellet in its throat. Some dog walkers made the bird even more alert and it flew to the top of the bramble standing sentinel. At Ness point seeing Andrew E and the Rob Wil, there was no initial sign of the other Red- backed Shrike eventually looking from the sunlite western side, the Red- baked Shrike was seen eventually perched along a line of elderberry bushes and sycamore in the middle of the yard just west of some orange metalwork in the yard. The Shrike was very active catching at least 3 insects sometimes perched at the side, top and back of the bushes, showing on and off.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Red- backed Shrike seen at Ness Point wind turbine yard

On Wednesday 28th August, Robert had done it again a found a second Red- backed Shrike in 2 days! I just had enough time (8am to 8.15am) to drive down to Ness Point seen within the wind turbine compound viewed on the far western side of the compound as we watched it from the seawall. and join him for some 15 minutes watching the bird. A paler individual compared to yesterdays one, it preched on top of a Buddlea bush and flew down caught something promptly devouring it and then flying back to the top of the bush again. In the evening a visit to Gorleston walking south from the cliffs, 2 Wheatear were seen on the fence of the first garden and later one was still there and one on the municipal grass. An adult winter plumaged Mediterranean Gull was on the beach later seen flying north along the beach & where I later saw a Common Gull. A male Linnet was een to fly into bushes by the bank. I'm still unable to upload any photo's from my new Macbook Pro (an otherwise excellent computer) from the iPhoto onto this blog, does anyone have any suggestions??

Red backed Shrike on the North Denes

On tuesday 27th August, the exceptional list of bank holiday migrants continued when Rob Wil found an RB Shrike on the bush by the lighthouse cafe on the North Denes. Not having enough time to twitch it in the morning, I patiently waited until after work and parked by the Oval, walking over to the first bramble bush north of the Oval I spotted Danny P and sure enough the excellent Red- backed Shrike was perched on the top of the bush showing very well. It was bathed in golden sunlight and occasionally caught foof from off the ground always flying back to the bush, ending up on its left hand side. It eventually flew to the next bush north of there (about half the size of this one) and again perched on the top of the right hand side of the bush where again it posed beautifully. I managed to obtain a few shots and left it perched there and was able to show a late arriving Peter N and his wife exactly where it was, even pointing out the bird on top of the bush!

Mon 26 September

Gunton beach- Wheatear and 1 Wheatear by Oval. At Carlton Marshes I met Rene by the first gate on the left just past the Spider dyke and he pointed out a Wall Brown perched in foliage just before the gate, Rene photographed it and the butterfly then flew into the field where I photographed it leaving it still perched there. At the Carlton marshes Scrape 1 then an 2 immature buff peach coloured breasted Ruff, 2 Black- tailed Godwit and 5 Greenshank seen, Sparrows Nest 1 Willow Warbler, Good to see Tony B and we both made our way to Gunton ORT. Really nice to see Chris M and together we had a female Blackcap & Pied Flycatcher seen in a small oak tree. The Flycatcher seemed to do a circuit and occasionally revisted the tree and seen perched on a branch. At Corton old SW, a Wryneck north side 7 posts from end really good clear view, plus a Black Redstart flew onto fence then perched in field then flew over cliff edge onto beach. At Gunton Warren, 2 Whinchat seen by the burnt gorse bushes but no sign of the sought after Wryneck. In the evening at 7.20pm and 7.30pm a Common Sandpiper flew south west heard calling twice over garden but not seen.

Winterton dragonflies & Cantley Phalarope

Tuesday 20th August a visit to Winterton after finishing work at 2pm, by the telephone exchange at 4pm, a Buddlea was covered in butterflies including 5 Graylings, a Painted Lady and numeous Small Tortoiseshells and Largw Whites. A walk to the northen most toad pool, included stopping at the secong northern most one where I saw several Emerald Damselflies. The northern most one included a confiding Dunlin in partial summer plumage and a Hawker dragonfly flying about which I carefully studied it was bigger than Migrant hawker with 2 yellow side stripes on the thorax, brown and yellow markings on the abdomen and clear wings with yellow costa clearly seen on at least 2 occasions, it was an excellent female Common Hawker, my first ever.on Wednesday 21st August at Cantley Sugar Beet factory a juvenile Red- necked Phalarope was seen I walked down and it was seen by the big pool by islands. Spending much of its time over the far side it would occasionally swim out and feed in its distinctive "knitting nachine style" as always an utterly charming bird. A Green Sandpiper flew over and settled on the bank out of sight just 2 feet from where I was standing before it quickly flew south.

Sunday 25

Saturday 25th August, a Tree Pipit heard calling "teez" over garden Corton ORT in the evning no sign of the Wryneck but another Tree Pipit heard calling as it flew over. On Sunday 26th August a Wryneck was seen in the compound of Corton Old sewage works on the mound on the seaward side half way along behind ragwort its back and tail could beseen, the head and shoulders obscured by the ragwort, but later the Wryneck was seen clearly in a gully. During an early morning walk at Corton Churchyard, a Redstart seen flying along the north hedge flew. At Corton new sewage works by the sludge pool, a Redstart and female Blackcap by sewage pond, On the Denes 5 Whinchat seen, initially no Greenish, 1 Clouded Yellow then flew west and over slope, a Wryneck was seen flying and apparently perched by umbillifers (I didn't see it), a Zebra finch flew in grass just a foot from my foot. Another Clouded Yellow seen as I searched for this Wryneck unsuccessfully. On the Sunday afternoon, by the top of steps leading to the Oval the excellent Greenish Warbler seen on occasions in a sycamore bush zipping about. Memorably, the excellent Greenish warbler perched and stuck its head out showing its characteristic head and supercilia for just 2 seconds before whizzing off again. A Wryneck was seen by the path just west of Links rd car park, watched feeding edge of park with Dick. At Corton new Sewage works pool 3 Chiff- Chaffs & a Willow Warbler seen but no 2nd Greenish seen here or seen or a potential 3rd one heard by Corton shelter belt. Tree Pipit heard calling "teez" over the garden again.

Remembering Cleo, a much loved friend

We mourn the loss of our beloved friend Cleo. Cleo was a loving and very tactile blue and cream cat who was 16 years and 9 months old. I am proud to say I knew Cleo for 12 years and 2 weeks. Jenny had chosen Cleo (and Henry, a ginger cat who sadly died 8 years ago from a throat infection) from the Cats Protection League when she was just 8 weeks old. When Jenny had picked up this pretty and delicately marked cat as a kitten she had purred and the lady had said to Jenny "she's going home with you!" Cleo was quick to start purring when you stroked her. Cleo was a nervous cat with strangers, indeed any loud noises, and particularly the sound of the dustbin men, had her running to hide often going under the duvet of our bed. She was particularly afraid of small children and men. Maybe a sign of her troubled past as a very young kitten, as she had a small kink in her tail where this may have been broken through abuse. Although she warmed to some men, she was wary of most, but was instantly accepting of John H when he called round once and promptly sat on his lap! In her younger days Cleo was quite athletic and would find safe and secure hidey holes to fall asleep in and leap up to the top of the wardrobe (10 feet high) and fall asleep and often the only clue of where she was, was her comically loud snoring at times! She didn't go out very often, being content usually just to go out or usually following us in the garden although sometimes she asked to be let out at the back and would often spend an hour patrolling the garden out of sight. If she was locked out she would cry mournfully desperate to get back until we heard her and promptly let her back in. She loved being around us and liked nothing better than to be stroked and tickled. She was particularly fastidious about keeping herself clean and was often grooming her soft coat. After washing herself she would often lick your finger too! Another endearing characteristic (of many) was she gave a very contented "purr" if you touched her when she didn't realise you were there. She particularly like to be tickled under the chin and unusually for a cat, have her tummy tickled. She liked to roll left and then right (roly poly) on the carpet, the thick shag pile in the lounge was her favourite for this particular pastime and if you gently touched her right foot she would roll over to her right and when you touched her left leg she would roll left. She could also be what we laughingly called a "tiger cat" particularly going for your hand through the bannisters of the stairs (although she would never bite or scratch you unless she was playing this particular game) she loved to chase up and down the stairs after silver foil balls, or memorably once leap up unsuccessfully once, 3 years ago unsuccessfully 6 feet up in the air and turn round at the apex of her leap to try and catch a flying Brown Hawker. This was unusual because she wasn't a hunter of birds, dragonflies or butterflies and she never caught any of these. She did however go for mice and occasionally moths in her younger days and one summer brought the odd Wood Mouse in, including one live one we had trouble catching until Cleesy did it for us expertly. Another characteristic she had was in the middle of the night she would go downstairs to eat and then yowl almost like a tomcat wondering or maybe unsure of where we were! She loved to be made a fuss of and would usually come down the stairs and greet us when she heard our car pull onto the drive. She would always sleep at the bottom of the bed at night but liked to wander up to us and every night have a twenty minute cuddle first, particularly on cold days (like a warm and purring hot water bottle!) this charming characteristic for example really helped and relaxed me on the night before my recent successful interview for the James Paget Hospital Library job. Sometimes she would sleep on our pillow, wrapped around your head like a Russian fur hat. The house feels very empty without her, Cleo was a much loved friend, who will always be in our hearts we loved her dearly, she was a very, very special friend.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

North Beach trips

On Friday evening 9th August, seeing Danny P & Andrew E, we noted an immature Arctic Tern close in on the groynes and had 4 Arctic Skua flying around far out to see, one of the distant pair did sport a pale belly, so it was a pale phase individual. On Saturday 10th August rushed down for the Roseate, it had flown off 5 minutes ago. but we enjoyed seeing an immature Arctic Tern on the closest groyne post but we had to leave it when James B arrived. He did very well by spotting the Tern a long way off. It was perched on a horizontal bar of a groyne. When we walked up there was some confusion as where to the Rosy was until we walked a few steps right or left and it could be seen behind a post that originally obscured it. The excellent Roseate Tern sported typically very pale white upper parts, with a full black bill with just a hint of red at the base and 1 silver ring on its legs. In Saturday late morning, the squeeling of the unfortunate House Martins I saw a female Sparrowhawk pluck a House Martin from the air and fly in a south westerly direction directly over the garden. A great pity it had to take one of our House Martins, I hope the brood won't suffer and there is another parent able to feed them. This Saturday 17th August, saw Nick B but failed to see any unusual Terns, a female Sparrowhawk flew low over th car park. 30 Turnstone were feeding very close and included 5 immaculate summer plumaged individuals.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Roller at Horsey

Following a fruitless look in the morning for the Roseate Tern at Lowestoft on Tuesday 6th August, as usual no sign of this really elusive Lowestoft bird. I decided after work to go straight for the Roller. After 40 minutes tortuously negotiating the holiday rush hour track through Yarmouth< I finally arrived. Parking off the road just before the Nelson Head pub on this lovely sunny evening, by the style at the start of the walk I saw a Painted Lady with almost half its right wing missing but it was still able to fly, it perched briefly on the path ahead. I met Julian B who was as helpful as usual, describing exactly where to see the Roller near cows in a fenced field 400 yards south of the end of the path. Julian said it was very distant and I was unlikely to get a usable pic. Walking south for around 150 yards I met a 3 birders scoping it, including Jeremy G. The excellent Roller was on posts at the western edge of the field. 2 Kestrels were perched on other posts nearby. Occasionally the Roller would fly down for prey before flying up again to the fence posts. When it flew down the very pale sky blue panels in the tail could clearly be seen. A jackdaw sized heavily built bird with a chunky black bill pale. A blue bird with brown back and black on the primaries and secondaries. Just behind it, a Hobby was perched on another fence post. We enjoyed this scene for around an hour, I took a few record shots but the bird was so far away. A couple asked had we seen the Seals on the beach and in retrospect I wished I had checked them out as there was at least 1 Common Seal subsequently photo'd by Danny P. Walking back we met a birder who had heard the Cranes bugling call and I was very fortunate, whilst driving past Horsey Mill to see 2 excellent Cranes flying directly over the road and right over the car!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Saturday at North Beach

Returning in the morning I initially looked at the rocky area just north of Birds Eye and was disappointed to see the sea was right up to the wall, full tide, so no chance of photo'ing the summer plumaged Knot, indeed I couldn't see it. Seeing Josh on his bike he said he'd seen the bird right out on the point. So returning to Ness Point the summer plumaged Knot was feeding on the very end of the finger in the company of a Dunlin. The excellent immature Black tern was seen flying over the water and indeed did perch on the groynes again, affording further pics once Ali R were happy for me to approach closer. In the afternoon, I spotted my first sighting of a Migrant Hawker dragonfly that was flying around the garden, when she alighted briefly on a bush, I could see it was a feamle. An evening visit parking my car near the tamarisk bushes by the factory, I was forced to hastily retreat back to my car and park it near employees cars at the far northern end of the Birds Eye, when 5 youths mainly 2 boys trying to "impress some girls present", pulled off the Yellow triangular sign with red writing "telephone cable on it"off its post and throwing it down the concrete western slope by the seawall. They were also throwing stone everywhere. So with great trpidation I walked down to the sea defence rcks where it was fairly obvious Dick & OFB were photographing something, almost ceratinly the Red Knot. It, the gorgeous Knot was in full summer plumage and showung very well as it fed amongst the tide, it was together with its friend, the Dunlin that it had been with before at the Point. In the evening my first Silver Y moth of the year was seen flying around the Buddlea plant.

North Beach Seawatch

Joining Rene B< Rob Wil & Andrew E on beach we watched a range of maritme species. The immature Black Tern flew in from north, settled on the groyne I managed to get some pics. A seawatch included a further 3 adult Black Terns which flew south, 14 Whimbrel south, 4 smart summer plumaged Grey Plover flew south, great flocks of Terns flew south, 2 Golden Plover flew south, 2 close Arctic Skuas flew south, the shear sight of these dark marauders from the north panacked a Common Tern which immediately dropped the fish it had and this was eagerly taken in by the piratical skuas. Later on a Little Gull flew north and over the Scroby Sand wind turbines off Great Yarmouth. Also 2 Common Scoter were seen 2/3 of the way out on the sea.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Butterfly bonanza

At around 7.15am this morning, I ventured out into the garden and was surprised to see a Hairstreak on the Hebe, it turned out to be a Purple Hairstreak that soon flew to the middle of the garden where I lost it, a first for the garden and unusual to see this species so low down, too. Meanwhile on the Buddlea, a cloud of butterflies were seen including 10 Peacocks, 6 Large Whites, 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 Red Admiral, a Meadow Brown, a gatekeeper and first one and then 2 Painted Lady butterflies recent migrants from across the continent. The first one spent much of its time on flowers at the very top and back of the bush, although both Butterflies were a little easier to see later on.