Sub- header

Sub- header

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Waxwings again

On Thursday 31st January, 18 Waxwing were seen around the Berry bush at Crab Lane and they all flew west a few yards to a tree by some houses. Early afternoon, the Waxwings were busy feeding on the bush again, joined by Ricky F, we both witnessed a Sparrowhawk dive at great speed into the bush and unfortunately pluck out an unfortunate Waxwing, held securely in its talons as it shot away. The rest of the Waxwings flew to the tall trees in the churchyards where there were 50+ birds. The Fieldfare was again seen on the berry bush giving very good views.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

More Waxwings

With a load of Waxwings just up the road from work, you'd think I'd have some time to look at them, but being exceptionally busy at work, I have to confine my views to drive bys and a brief stop at lunchtime. Just before 10.30am 8 Waxwings flew up from the berry tree and feeding in the tree itself was an obliging Fieldfare as I stopped at the traffic lights. At 1.20pm there were a much larger group noted in the tall trees by Almond road/ Oak road at Gorleston and a ten minute stop here led to a confirmed count of 55 Waxwings! Alison was there also. The Waxwings then suddenly flew over to the berry bushes but in the breezy conditions weren't staying long, my cue to leave. At 2.50pm again passing by, I saw c40 Waxwing again flying again around the berry bush/ tree by the eastern end of Crab Lane.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Unlucky for some, but not me!

I was just about to take my lunchbreak, when a tweet from Ricky, saw me driving to Crab lane and I drove down Almond road to Berberis Green, where I saw 13 excellent Waxwing perched on a TV aerial, some flying down to the garden. They were trilling regularly until they all flew north- east to a tree in Almond road. Where they perched trilling once again before finally flying south and alighting on the well berried tree on the Crab Lane corner.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

RSPB Big Garden birdwatch

Over the weekend, I participated in the RSPB Big Garden birdwatch. On Saturday in the first hour of daylight, 3 Greenfinch, 5 Chaffinch (3 male, 2 females), 4 Blue Tits, 3 Great Tits, 4 Wood Pigeon, 2 Collared Dove, female Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin a female Green Woodpecker seen as it flew up to a bush on Fallowfields. 4 Starling seen on aerials at the front. On Sunday, the 4 LT Tits visited the fat balls.

The snow has finally gone

At Oulton Broad, Mutford Lock it was low tide and consequently no Jack Snipe seen amongst the Redshanks, 3 Sanderling were seen. At Lake Lothing from the riverside, 4 Shag were seen, at one time 3 together. 3 Sanderling flew east along the river. At Hamilton Dock, 4 Sanderling were seen in the north east corner. A Ness Point walking north to the sea wall 100 yards from the Point, a group of waders included Turnstones, 3 Sanderling, 6 Purple Sandpipers and 1 Dunlin. They fed on the rocks while for a time the Dunlin slept. They eventually flew south to a groyne. walking back along the Point to the finger, a Sanderling flew past and settled on the ledge just feet away but was running right (south) the whole time. It eventually settled at the eastern most point feeding before flying south again.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Jack Snipes, Whoopers & Glaucous

Driving past Oulton Broad Mutford Lock bridge, I could see Rob Wil, scoping something by the time I had parked up and walked round he had gone. Looking over I could see 2 Redshank and a Snipe, Morris B arrived and I suddenly spotted the excellent Jack Snipe right in the back corner, seen behind a drainage pipe, it was bobbing up and down on the mud before it walked up to the snow and disappeared behind a clump of grass. Later when we had been joined by Ricky F, Paul & Jane F, Tony B & Neville S, 3 Snipes were at the back and 2 Jack Snipes came out running down to the shore whilst one disappeared up the bank. A Rock Pipit flew down to the side of the bridge briefly before flying off. I later saw Dave H & Paul W as I left. At Leathes ham, 8 Pintail seen (4 males and 4 female) including the pale buff coloured head of the male from last winter plus a male Wigeon. At Waddling Lane, driving down to it from the Queen Highway at Flixton and taking the lane west of the telephone box, I met James B & Paul W and looking north from the gate, at the far end of the field in front of a wood, were a family party of 6 excellent Whooper Swans, with 2 adults and 4 immatures. feeding at the back of the field. Back at Oulton Broad, I was parking up ready to photograph the Jack Snipe, when a tweet stated that the Glaucous was on the water from the yacht club and I joined Morris B & Tony B and I could see the excellent 1st year Glaucous Gull swimming on the water just by a pale pink buoy it started to swim right and I could see the large two tone pink and black- tipped bill, biscuit coloured plumage and and white wings/ primaries. It swam around for a while and watched for twenty minutes before it flew west at around late afternoon. I was joined by first Ricky F and then jane, Paul F & Robert Wil and later Andrew E. Also on the water quite close to us, was the ever popular "Woody" the male Wood Duck, a very smart plumaged male. Walking over to the bridge the Jack Snipe was showing very well by the drainage pipe as I looked over the wall albeit in fading light. Again it was bobbing up and down, then it walked into the water before walking onto the mud by the drainage pipe. Later, a walk around Warren House Wood, I saw a Woodcock fly up and west. It was great to see Snipe, Jack snipe & Woodcock all in one day. Looking around the stream by the Japanese Knotweed, no sign of the hoped for rail and the dark drape of dusk had fallen, back in Warren House wood, I heard 2 Tawny Owls hooting from the eastern end of the wood.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Sad demise of Ruddy Duck

Whilst driving to a meeting at the Time & Tide Museum, I noted a Fieldfare fly over Southtown road and perch in a tree by Matalan, it later flew back to another tree on the same car park before flying over to the Mountain Ash/ Waxwing trees just south of there. At Great Yarmouth Library, by the Sycamore along the eastern side of the car park, a Redwing perched on top of the tree. Along Caister road, another Fieldfare flew east across and over the road, whilst travelling north. Later on at lunchtime from the dual carraigeway going west of Caister, I noted a Brown Hare running along a field carpeted with snow. As I was working at Martham Library this afternoon, I had an eventful lunchtime visit at Filby from 12.45 to 1.45pm. Walking to Filby Broad from the car park, some birds flew in by the alders including at least 5 Siskins, around 70 Coot swam away plus a Kingfisher zipped past first showing its irridescent blue plumage as it flashed past, and later its fiery orange under belly when it returned. At a 95% frozen Filby Broad, near the bridge was an unfrozen patch of water were around 30 Tufted Duck and a very close male Goldeneye. Looking over to an area near the back, to the right of the wooded island, was a long line of unfrozen water, amongst the Tufted duck here, was an excellent female Ruddy Duck, a small pale buff duck with stiff erect tail, now very much a rarity following the ongoing DEFRA cull to stop this bird hybridizing with the globally threatened near relative the White- headed Duck in Spain. It was swimming around merrily swimming left along with the Tufted ducks. I watched it for some time as it swam and constantly dived, it showed paler checks with dark brown band running across them. I then walked to Ormesby Little Broad, (on the walk down, along the boardwalk, by the dyke a Kingfisher zipped past), here too the Broad was 95% frozen, 2 Mute Swans & Tufted duck seen in the unfrozen pool at the back. By the alders, 2 Marsh Tits flew across from right to left and a Lesser Redpoll was heard but not seen. At the very back just left of the wooded island was another small area of unfrozen water and a thin line of unfrozen water by the far bank, this area was covered with many, many c150 Shovelors, a male Pintail was seen here too and following a sighting from other birders, I scanned this area constantly for half an hour before a female Marsh Harrier helpfully (for me!) scattered the birds as it flew low over the ducks here. Many started to swim way over to the right or fly away. At last I had a chance of realistically seeing these elusive Smew, amongst their number, I briefly spied an excellent redhead female Smew swimming right too. The constant scanning over the far side of the Broad, meant that I missed a macabre event reported to me by other birders who just arrived (from viewing the broad from the boardwalk bridge along the eastern side of the Broad, they informed me that they had been watching the female Ruddy Duck swimming in this area, when abruptly a Great Black- backed Gull had flown over and was about to commit a felony, it swam alongside it in the water, the GBB Gull promptly grabbed the female Ruddy Duck's head and held it under water drowning the unfortunate bird. The GBB Gull then grabbed it's unfortunate victim and flew onto the ice. Later, I saw the GBB Gull pecking at a corpse of a very small pale brown duck, which indeed looked like a corpse of the female Ruddy Duck.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Redwing & Goldcrest at County Hall

No time for any recreational birding this week, so it was nice to see a Redwing perched high on top a tree by the steps to the upper car park at County hall, Norwich today at 4.20pm. It flew calling "Pitzzz" and north. Goldcrest heard too.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Redwing at Morrisons, Gorleston

As I was walking to Morrisons supermarket by the entrance at 11.35am today, (a very early lunch as I was visiting the Sixth form college over lunchtime for a work promotion) a Redwing flew in and fed on a few berries by the berry tree standing south west of the inland entrance of Morrisons supermarket, Gorleston.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Big Freeze continues

Another bitterly cold day compounded by a freshning north- east wind. Fallowfields again failed to reveal anything significant early morning, but 6 fine Fieldfare flew north right over the house as I was walking up to the front door! Late morning, at Hamilton Dock, the purple patch continues with the majestic Great Northern Diver was seen half way out, it began to swim closer but some birdwatchers arrived and halted its advance. In the north- east corner bay, 2 Sanderling seen (my first for this year and for a while at this location) plus a Purple Sandpiper. 6 Brent Geese flew over the eastern edge of the dock flying south. Whilst on the rocky ledge, 2 Ringed Plover seen. Arriving at Oulton Broad, a 2 hour vigil in the bitterly cold was literally bitterly disappointing (I am still await my first sighting of a large white- winged Gull on OB) with lots of Gulls except the sought after Glauc seen (missed the message yesterday as my phone was on charge) and 6 close Great- crested Grebes relatively close in, plus a single Dunlin flew west directly over the edge of the Boulevard the only avian crumbs on offer.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Redwing in Garden

A look around Fallowfields, covered in snow first thing this morning failed to reveal any Woodcock, however a flock of 12 Greenfinch were seen and they were later seen on the garden feeding on the sunflower seeds we had put out. At 10.57am, a Redwing was seen to fly in from the east and perch in a bush on Fallowfields, a minute later it flew to the large tree in the back middle of the garden before flying to the back bush of the right back of the garden. It flew off a minute later. I have since then put a fresh supply of apples (the previous ones are covered by 6 inches of snow!) out in the hope that it might return.

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Big Freeze: Please feed the birds!

In this current severe weather it is crucially important to keep feeding your garden birds. Providing bird feeders full of peanuts, sunflowers seeds for Tits and finches particularly greenfinches, sunflower hearts, niger seed and fat balls for LT Tits and Sparrows. Don't forget to feed ground feeders such as Dunnocks, Chaffinches, Song Thush scattering mixed wild bird seeds and dried meal worms (but please make sure these are suitable for birds and NOT for fish!) If you can put out apples Thrushes will be very grateful. Don't forget to put out fresh water for the birds to drink and bathe. Putting out fatty scraps (but please avoid food with any salt in it) is also a good idea. You will rewarded with visits from a whole host of birds and you never know you might be likely and see something unusual like a Woodcock, Snipe or Brambling!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Fieldfare at the Library

At Great Yarmouth Library this lunchtime looking out from the staffroom 12.30-12.45pm, I saw a fine Fieldfare feeding off red berries near the top of the large red berry bush just east of the Library.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Wow! 50,000 views!

50,000 views and counting thanks to everyone for viewing the blog!

Great Northern Diver & Chedgrave/Haddiscoe Marshes goodies

A mid morning look at Hamilton Dock, on Sunday 13th January, revealed the Great Northern Diver again at mid- distance but it swam along towards the wooden pontoons and boats and was soon lost to view. A Shag swam along the northern edge of the dock also. Dick W was also present. a quick look at Lound lakes and around 100 or so Greylag Geese were asleep on the islands and as a result I couldn't pick out either the WF Goose or the neck- ringed Greylag on this brief visit. parking at the northern edge of Fritton woods, Tony B & I walked out to the mound, meeting Pete M on the way who'd just seen the Ross' and RLB. Just before the mound by the edge of the clearing by the conifers around 5 calling Goldcrest seen flying right here along the Conifer edge. As soon as we got to the mound, we looked straight out (as directed by PM) and scanned just right of Cantley Sugar Beet factory and just right of 3 distant houses together. In the far fields (Haddiscoe marshes) we saw several hundred 200 Pink- footed Geese and within ten minutes walking left of a mound with 6 Barnacle Geese was the excellent Ross' Goose, a small Goose all white with black primaries. After a while, it walked back right and disappeared behind the mound. After half an hour all the Pink- feet including the excellent Ross' Goose flew towards us, the Ross' Goose showing its black tipped primaries well in flight and settled much closer on Chedgrave marshes but the Ross's disappeared from view as soon as it landed. A Barn Owl hunted by the river, as did 3 female Marsh Harriers. Along the north of the marshes. More birders were arriving and a raptor was pointed out just right of a mill perched on a gate, it looked big but looked very dark brown on the back and tail (it sat back on) and had a light head. Initially we couldn't rule out female Marsh harrier or Buzzard, (it was very, very distant!) although its size to me seemed to weigh against the Harrier option. Sadly Tony B left before the "raptor" turned around. When it moved it showed white in the tail but only when it turned around showing pale head and upper breast and 2 diagnostic dark patches either side of the mid/ lower breast and white tail with black band at the tip proved conclusively it was the excellent Rough- legged Buzzard. Suddenly a birder yelled out male Hen Harrier, and straight out right at the back an excellent male Hen Harrier, pale silvery grey with white rump and black wing tips flew left and then flew in close towards us over the Haddiscoe cut and the footpath and then flew right much closer over the reeds just the other side of the river and right ie north and out of sight. Finally 2 Short- eared Owls seen one straight out at the back over Haddiscoe marshes and a second Short- eared Owl flying along the northern part of Chedgrave marshes. A great afternoon's birding, which finished with 300 Pink- footed Geese seen flying north- west over Somerleyton village green. A Jay was seen in the back south- west corner of the garden feeding on the remnants of the fat balls on the ground late afternoon.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Goosey Goosander

Looking east from Lound causeway, I noticed around 100 Greylag Geese asleep, as I scanned through the flock (all birds sat down and most asleep) I noticed a smaller bird with paler mouse brown back of head and what appeared to be a patch of orange where the leg was. A pale blue car, drove along the approach road and I could see Andrew E and Jane F on the offside of the car with presumably Rob Wil and Paul F on the nearside!) Eventually the bird woke and lifted its head up to reveal a pink bill and white band at the base of the bill, it was the White- fronted Goose. I rang Andrew E, and they hadn't spotted it but was eventually able to put them onto the bird which was in the middle of the flock. The bird was fast asleep but twice more briefly lifted its head before tucking it under again. The whole flock then stood up and walked south a few yards the thick black lower breast band seen on the White- front. At Ormesby Little Broad, disappointingly, shooting was taking place, but good to see Joan & Ken S, Ted & Neil M and regular correspondent Paul W. So no sign of the Smew and Scaup. Walking back, 3 female Goldeneye seen, they flew south and onto Filby Broad. On Filby broad, a total of 17 Goldeneye seen 8 resplendent male and 9 females seen including a flock of 11 (with 5 male in flight flying east! A Kingfisher flew east right in front of us by the bridge and the Norfolk visitor (would I be the Suffolk visitor today?) did really well to pick out a female Goosander swimming east by the far end reeds in front of a stand of poplars on the band just beyond the far edge of the broad. Later saw Ricky F briefly before heading back home for lunch. As I got out of the car I heard a Bullfinch flying west directly over the house and the seconds later heard a Redwing flying west over the house too.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Diver and Waxwings

Early morning today, I saw the immature Great Northern Diver fishing in Hamilton Dock along the far side by the ships, continuing to swim and dive in a productive channel running parallel to said ships docked along the south end of the dock. The weather was perfect with plenty of sun and good light but sadly the Diver didn't come close during the period of observation. Driving around the Rigbourne Hill area of Beccles, initially failed to produce the sought after waxwings, until I drove over to St Paul's Close and saw 2 Waxwings sitting high up in a single tree. Walking into a green area of a child's plyground I managed to view them for 10 minutes before they flew east over the roofs of the houses.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

First 2013 Bullfinch

A handsome male Bullfinch with peachy pink breast was perched in a bush just behind our currently flowering Mahonia bush which nicely framed this perched bird in the back right hand corner of the garden early this morning feeding on something presumably seeds or buds between 9.50am and 10am. Of course, he had disappeared by the time I retrieved my camera! At midday, I could see no sign of the GND in Hamilton Dock on a quick visit there.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Rough- leg at last!

On Friday 4th January, before work a quick drive along the B1074 vfailed to reveal the Waxwings Alison A had seen earlier but nice to see Rene B who promised to tweet news of the RLB if he saw it from Fritton. Rene did see it and duly sent text messages out just after 10am, I knew what I would be doing lunchtime! Arriving at Fritton Woods mound at exactly 12 noon, (it only takes 10 minutes drive from work on a good run), meeting Roy R & his wife as I arrived. I also met Chris M who'd just seen the RLB the omens were looking up! I arrived and the bird I was directed to initially, (post right of mill with no sails) I looked at and thought "this is no RLBuzzard its a female Marsh Harrier!", it was a dark bird with yellow cap slim body and perched with its body horizontal on a post A further 2 female Marsh Harriers were seen also. I expressed my doubts but eventually realised that I was looking at the wrong mill and post. I also saw a dark Common Buzzard fly right and out of sight. Meantime straight out, the Great White Egret was flying right or north and landed in the field in full view stretching its very long neck and its long dagger like yellow bill again obvious. Back to the raptors, I realised I had the wrong directions for the RLB and was patiently re-directed to a white topped mill with no sails and the gate just right of this. On the right of the gate were 2 posts on the left and 3 on the right, the 3rd most "post" was NOT a post but the RLB, it was really distant. Increasing the zoom to 60X on my new scope it really came into its own. The bird shifted around showing a greyish head, the subtle shaded of grey- brown on the back and body plus the darker black patch on the lower underparts area and also distinctively, the white at the base of the tail, it was indeed the excellent Rough- legged Buzzard. I had finally seen it on my 8th visit!! Later the Great White Egret appeared in the field right in front of the RLBuzzard and at one time through the scope I could see the Egret, the Rough- leg and a Short- eared Owl flying by, quality birds of the highest order! During the period of observation first 1, then 2 Short- eared Owls flew left and behind it 2 single Barn Owls flew past too. At this point Paul & Jane F suddenly appeared from nowhere! Later, the Rough- legged Buzzard flew left a short way and I saw the white base to the tail and the dark black band at the tip as it flew a few metres and disappeared below the ground level obviously flying down and landing into a dip. this was my cue to go as half an hour had elapsed since I first arrived and I was due back at work.

Great Northern

On Thursday 3rd January, a quick before work half hour visit to Hamilton Dock early morning, the immature Great Northern Diver was seen half way out in Hamilton Dock and it was seen around the jetty area and came close once feeding catching yet another crab, workmen who were arriving at SLP were keeping a little way back, one was curious what was out there and I eventually saw Rob Wil who'd just seen some WF Geese fly over.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year birding in and around Lowestoft

The Great Northern Diver was in Hamilton Dock again, initially very close, it then swam far out before disappearing for a while by the marina before once again coming quite close. 1 and then 2 Shag seen plus a Seal then a Guillemot seen far out. At Ness Point, first one then 3 Purple Sandpipers seen on the seaward edge of the sea defence rocks just south of Ness Point compass and viewed from the 200 yards to the south and looking back. In Link's Road car park initially few Gulls but several flew back including 1 adult Mediterranean Gull flying towards the car park, the flock returned and then I spotted 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls both ringed with white rings. Walking out from St Olaves Bridge, onto Chedgrave marshes, a close Barn Owl flew past me along the reeds running just east of the new cut, a further 2 Barn Owls seen. At 3.15pm the excellent Great White Egret flew around bigger than 300 Pink- footed Geese and then the Egret landed stretched its long neck with a kink in the middle and yellow bill, it stepped down and disappeared into a dyke. Finally, a female Marsh Harrier perched close by in a field, and 212 Greenfinch flocked by some trees by the house.