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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

White Chlorantha Bee Orchids

Following a text from Jane F on Sunday 23 June, I looked at Corton New Sewage works during the late afternoon and counted up to 57 Bee Orchids in the usual area but initially I could not find the white ones. However, following a call to Jane F and excellent directions, I quickly found these initially elusive plants. I found both the White Chlorantha Bee Orchids just over the fence around half way back from the stile, as always absolutely stunning plants and they were well photographed by yours truly and I surely owe Jane & Paul a pint each! Pictures to follow soon. On Monday 24th June, a Buzzard whilst driving back home after work, flew east over the A12 by the farm just a mile south of the Hopton roundabout.

Hobby flying over Parkhill

On Saturday 22nd June, a Hobby flew over the road at Parkhill as we travelled down the road, it flashed by flying south.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Roller at Holt Country Park

On Friday 14th June travelling home after work just after 5pm after my last day of work, working for Norfolk Libraries, I spied a Hobby fly over the road by the farm just after the Hopton roundabout it flew west over the A12. On Monday 17th I parked at the car parking area on the east side of the road. I initially met Kevin B & his wife as they were crossing the road. Initially, the news was not good from Kevin as the sought after Roller had last been seen in the clearing at 6.10pm. Having met Peter C (former) work colleague and friend & Diane, viewing the clearing nothing could be seen and the Roller appeared long gone. Peter said he was going to check the area bordering Holt County Park and he promised to ring me if he heard any news. After a while a chap came over saying he thought he had seen it and we initially walked west towards the far end of the clearing. Then I suddenly saw people running in the opposite direction. Obviously the Roller had been sighted but it was in exactly the opposite direction in which I was going! Quickly changing direction, I started to half run (difficult with a 7 kilo weight on my back- my camera and 500mm lens) but I gradually managed to catch several people up, bumping into Paul & Jane F just driving back into the east car park and we continued to walk down a slope throgh a small copse of tree and up a gently ascending slope (the phone was now ringing, the ever dependable Peter C with news about the Roller) and I eventually reached the crowd and eventually spied the excellent Roller perched on a branch on a tree extending right of the trunk, around half way up. Peter C & Diane were watching the bird and I was joined by Rene B & Paul & Jane F. An absolutely stunning bird with cobalt blue plumage brown and black back, it was a real stunner. We watched for some 30 minutes before after an explosion of colour it flew right and then behind a tree and out of sight. meanwhile first one then another,2 Wood Larks seen singing their lovely "lululula" call.

Orchid Heaven

On Sunday 16th June, I made my way down to The Woods as Dick had tweeted that he'd found 2 plants in one section of that wood. Having first contacted Paul & Jane I was delighted to meet them there at 10.30am and even more delighted when Jane had found them. The 2 Greater Butterfly Orchids really were stunning plants with gorgeous white flowers having been protected by couple of branches laid around them to stop deer grazing on their precious sepals and leaves. On the other side Ricky found another small Greater Butterfly Orchid. Taking the path down, in an Oak by the side of the path at the bottom of the scae, a moss filled nest revealed a lovely female Spotted Flycatcher sitting on the nest, just her head could be seen poking over the top of the nest, lets hope this pair of Flycatchers are not disturbed successful in raising their young.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Trimley Pacific Swift

Returning from the supermarket and hearing breaking news of a Pacific Swift down at Trimley, the same old questions surfaced. When confronted with twitching one in the past would it stay? (Cley, 1993, missed that one by 40 minutes, after dilly dallying around!), was it really one (aberrant Swift, initially identified as a Pacific- Walberswick 2012) and could I get a lift with someone/ or give someone a lift?? These were quickly resolved when James B travelled over and I drove down to Trimley St. Mary the road leading down to the reserve was choc-a- bloc with cars and absolutely no spaces. Fortunately at the full- up car park at the end, some birders were walking back and they said I could take their space, so parking well off the road on a slope we finally got going. I walked past the avenue of trees where many years ago, 1992, I had seen my first White- throated Sparrow. A very long 3 mile walk which took around 40 minutes & after 20 minutes we forked right and half an hour later we had reached the path to the river and walking along here we joined the thronged crowd on the bank over looking a marshy lagoon. They included Rob Wil & Win, Andrew E, Paul & Jane F and a later arriving Rob Hol & Paul W) At the back were some Shelducks and Dick W (with Maurice B behind him) directed me to look here and after what seemed an age I finally connected with my first British Pacific Swift, an incredible bird looking browner than the darker Common Swifts it was with, c60 & with a very clear white rump, more elongated wings, and more attenuated end/ ie. tail, it scythed the air and often flew low and then high. When it was against the trees we often lost it for a few moments before it was picked up again. For most of the time the tail was closed but at times showed it was deeply forked tail and the underparts were clearly paler sandy scalloped appearance. It flew low over the the lagoon, obviously feeding on insects and over the heads of the Shelducks on the water, a House Martin was also seen here too. it then flew past the marshes to the right and then turned around flew up past the trees and higher up into clear sky before turning around and back over the Shelducks again. It kept repeating this circuit and occasionally even varying it by sometimes it would fly towards us, flying low over the lagoon and showing really well especially when viewed in the 'scope! No pics I'm afraid, as i didn't fancy dragging the camera and lens over 6 miles of walking! We also received the shocking news that Police were issuing parking tickets to all the cars parked in Cordly road, & my car was parked here!! Walking back, we encountered an anxious late arriving John H and a few minutes later we received a bit of a soaking! Lee E was directing operations in the car park. I was relieved when we got back to the car, that I hadn't received a parking ticket, although I had parked very sensibly well off the road & not blocking any drives or the road itself. In the garden in the evening, a Goldfinch for the second evening running singing from our TV aerial. In the fish pond 3 Frogs seen with one showing exceptionally well.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Red- backed Shrike still at Gunton Warren

On Monday 10th June, early morning I looked for the Shrike for 1/2 hour but failed to see it. I was delighted in the evening to see it again. With the help of the finder James W, we tracked it, the female Red- backed Shrike, down to between 2 sycamore trees and a white post by the usual thicket of scrub. It showed well from approaching from the beach side but then flew and caught an insect, a bee(?), which it prmptly devoured on a curved piece of bramble between 2 sycamore trees where it remained for a good 1/4 of an hour before catching another insect and flying down out of sight.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Shrike & Marsh Warbler

A very welcome tweet from James W had me walking along to Gunton Warren, seeing Rob Wil, James W & Josh, I walked a litle closer and following Rob's pointing, saw the excellent female Red- backed Shrike sitting on the edge of the bramble face on, after a while she hopped and turned back on, I managed a few shots and fairly close range but annoyingly was on the wrong focus setting on the camera. This was rectified seconds later but only after she had flown a few feet further back. The grey clouds were rolling in and I joined the Lowestoft Lizards and we enjoyed watching the Shrike initially she kept to near the sycamore but later on flew around 80 yards north of there before eventually returning. Then onto Southwold, parking at the harbour and walking up to the bailey bridge, met Steve & Dot who said turn right and walk 100 yards north along the old rail way line to a ditch near a load of cows and it was there. reaching a bushy area overlooking the ditch i could immediately hear the excellent singing Marsh Warbler, thanks to Richard, I saw the bird immediately as he directed me to the bird perching at the base of the bush on a thick branch extending right of the trunk. It then flew and was later seen in the reeds just in front of the bushes. Brian S arrived and he immediately located the Marsh Warbler singing from reeds at the edge of the dyke, always partially obscured I managed to get some half decent shots. As we watched the bird, a shout of "Turtle Dove!" went up and my first Suffolk bird seen since Sept 2011, flew over our heads down the path and north then west, great to see this species again. We then spent some time watching the Marsh warbler showing a yellow bill and gape, surprisingly dark for a Marsh Warbler but still sandy brown plumage and longer wings distinguished (as well as the amazingly varied song full of musical mimicry) from Redd warbler. A really enjoyable visit.

Ibiza birding

Just returned from a week's birding on the sunny Mediterranean island of Ibiza, perhaps best known for its club scene. Jenny & I avoided these and concentrated on birds, beaches and history in that order. In any wooded habitat you would expect to see Spotted Flycatcher and hear the "purring" of a Turtle Dove. La Salinas is perhaps the premier birding site on the island and the clue is in the title, which is used as a working salt works, a big browny tinged white salt mountain was stacked up over 100 feet tall to one side! Our first view of the Salinas was from the aeroplane on the flight in in and I thought I could see 8 Greater Flamingos. On visiting the Salinas on Sunday 2nd, these were confirmed as we saw 9 distant Greater Flamingoes. We viewed from the track that leads down to the restaurant at the end. In the Pine woods, I heard and saw Spotted Flycatcher and a Turtle Dove was seen and heard purring near the trunk of a Pine tree. At the end, I walked up a sloping cliff covered in bushes were I was hoping to see Balearic/ Marmora's Warbler. I was not to be disappointed as one was foraging in a bush just feet away, a small slim long- tailed slate grey warbler with red eye. It spent several minutes hopping in this bush and then flew to the one behind before flying to a larger bush at the back, where it was conspicuous for around a minutes before disappearing. A Spotted Flycatcher seen here too.On checking the same area when I walked back I saw the Warbler in the same area. An immature Blue Rock Thrush briefly flew onto the wall, before flying off. On Monday 3rd June, a stop off by a cemetary and a cafe revealed singing Firecrest (not see), a Woodchat Shrike perched on the top of a tree, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Thekla Lark. In the mountain area of Talissa, by the radar mast station. 1st one then 2 Firecrest showed really well amongst the Pine trees, several balearic Crossbills seen flying past, I picked up 1 or 2 immature Baleric Crossbills. Wandering behind the radar mast, at the back up to 9 Balearic Crossbills congregated, including a great red male on the fence then seen in the tree. On Tuesday a walk along the river at Santa Euralia revealed 3 Reed Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler and little else save for the obligatory Serins, around 5 seen. Plus by the area near the sea, a popular walkway sported 3 showy singing Serins and the then first one then 2 very showy Iberian Wall Lizards crawling out from a rock and occasionally eating ants on the path, the first Lizard had a shortened tail, whilst the second had a complete tail and looked slightly greener, both performed amazingly well for the camera's macro lens. On the Wednesday 5th June, at Cala Lunga, I photographed up to 3 Audouin's Gulls whilst a male Blue Rock Thrush flew in off the sea. On the way back from a viewpoint close to hear we saw a Woodchat on top of a telegraph post. On Thursday on the return to the Salina's, several Black- winged Stilts included one on a nest and adults with up to 3 young. The Balearic Warbler was seen and heard singing in the scrub behind the posh restaurant. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen here too. Whilst at the back up the hill, in a cultivated area, 3 Blue Rock Thrushs seen perched on the posts including 2 immatures and 1 adult male. On Thursday, at El Vedra, I didn't see any of the hoped for Rock Sparrows, but a Red- legged Partridge seen and looking back over a distant rocky crag, an excellent Egyptian Vulture seen soaring past it and to the left. Another stop by the roadside revealed 5 Iberian Wall lizards all fairly showy and another stop nearby revealed first 1 then 2 Painted Lady butterflies along the rough track. On Friday back at Cala Lungha, just back from the viewpoint area, a Peregrine Falcon flew past. walking down a track another Woodchat Shrike seen, an adult female seen.