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Friday, 28 February 2014

Leathes Ham

A look at Leathes Ham this afternoon Friday 28th February revealed 7 male Pintail and 7 female Pintail on the small island close to the boardwalk plus a further 7 males and 7 females on the water, so 28 Pintails in total. Close male Wigeon and Gadwall seen too, plus a further 3 Wigeon (2 male and female) on the water.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Lowestoft Bits and Bobs

Checking Lake Lothing at the Railway Bridge no Shag seen or any around Oulton Broad. However at the Riverside waste ground one fine adult Shag in fine summer plumage perched by the edge and after a while flew onto Lake Lothing. Whilst at Ness Point 12 Purple Sandpipers feeding at the eastern edge, a wave of water brought them closer before they flew with the Turnstones onto the top defence rocks before they flew south to the rocks in front of the old coastguard lookout.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Waveney Forest Crossbills

Arriving at Waveney Forest at 10am by the log pile, we saw up to 5 Common Crossbils 3 males and 2 females, that flew in and perched and fed on or bar the top of the pines, 1 male Crossbill flew onto one of the Alders and was quite confiding. A look at Corton woods, Ness Point and Hamilton Dock failed to reveal any further noteworthy birds. However at 7.30pm in the evening I heard a Wigeon call "weeooo" as it flew over the house, garden heard tick!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Waxwing Bonus!

A trip to Norwich today, Sunday 23rd February revealed a fine bonus in the form of a Waxwing seen along Ber Street feeding on apples in a tree in a disused yard formerly used by "The Pot Company" I didn't have any optical aids with me, although the Waxwing was quite close, shielded by a metal fence the bird appeared to be a female or immature as it lacked the waxy red in the wing giving its name. It was quite content to sit there and then start feeding from the apples. It might remain here for a while yet as there were still around at least 8 apples left. Great to see, particularly this winter, when they have been so scarce.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Parrot Crossbills (& Crossbill) at Waveney Forest

This afternoon Saturday 22nd February, I parked at the end of the track from Fritton village walked down to Forest Lodge I didn't see very much so I walked across the clearing towards the carpark by the pylons and the log piles and saw a group of birders comprising Andrew E, Rob Wil, Ricky F, Paul & Jane F & OFB. Amazingly they were watching some very close Parrot Crossbills and Crossbills all perched up in a very close larch. At the very top was a male Common Crossbill and another male Common Crossbill nearby, these were brick red in plumage colour with smaller bills and slightly smaller slimmer bodies than the rest of Parrot Crossbills. In contrast the "Parrots" looked more puffed up, with thicker bills greyer less vivid plumage and larger bills. A pale female Parrot Crossbill perched well down in the Larch and showed well, whilst several male Parrot Crossbills were near the top. Occasionally, some would fly to drink water from puddle on the muddy ground below, several male flew to the tops of the Pines and fed on the Pines. I estimated I saw 8 Parrot Crossbills in total 6 males and 2 females. With the tally of Common Crossbills the 2 males. A little later on at the mound, after a pit stop the Decoy pub for a well earned Coffee and Chips, we saw the excellent Rough- legged Buzzard perched on a gate, it later flew back to a further fence post. Whilst, a closer Barn Owl hunted over to the right. A very distant Short- eared Owl patrolling the back margins of the fields was well picked out by Andrew, it was later mobbed by a crow and flew up into the air for a while.

Ibis duo at Oulton Marshes

On Saturday 22nd February, I walked down Fisher Row and onto the Oulton Marshes via the tea gardens path, initially, I could only see just the usual birds such as Wigeon etc. I then met Don & Gwen who hadn't seen the Ibis' yet. I walked over to the platform, still no sign and I the walked over to the railway line, still no sign but a text from Gwen (many thanks!) they had just seen both the Ibis'. I walked back I still couldn't see them but I met a lady who said they were in the south west corner and close to the path. I looked and there they were! I walked back seeing Don & Gwen again and sure enough both Ibis' were just around some 40 feet away feeding, stretching and resting, I quickly see up my camera gear and I spent a very pleasant hour photographing them. The sun was in the perfect position and reflected the subtle purple and greenish sheen in the plumage to a tee. The birds spent the whole time feeding, resting and generally within 40 - 50 feet of the path.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Filby Broad Goodies

I had an hour and a half TOIL at lunchtime I drove over to Filby Broad and from the boardwalk, I first saw the redhead Smew swimming at the back with Tufted Ducks roughly in front of the big tree. In the far western end, a very distant Slavonian Grebe was seen in the water just in front of a square chapel like building seen through the trees, swimming right in front of the building along its right hand end before it swam left. A female Goldeneye was also seen.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Very Windy Day

On Wednesday 12th February having TOIL from work, I decided to go North Warren, unfortunately there wasn't any sign of any White- fronts let along Greenlands. The 50 Barnacles and 40 Greylags behind them were very distant in the extreme north west corner of North Warren. Scanning through the flock with great difficulty due to the wind and half the flock being obscured by bushes, I couldn't even see the Lesser Canada either. Subsequent trips to Oulton Broad, Asda, Lake Lothing railway Bridge failed to reveal any Shag and at Ness Point , no Purple Sands either but a flock of 7 Turnstone flew past together with a white Sanderling. Sadly, very poor birding day today.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

When two became one

Today, Saturday 8th February, it was initially very sunny but it soon became very windy. I wanted to go back for a return trip back to the end of Cess road to visit the lone remaining Glossy Ibis. I was hoping for some more shots this time in better light. The Ibis was quickly seen sheltering by the fence in the field. It was very windy and the bird stood by the fence, the only available cover from the wind, it stood virtually motionless during the period of observation, it looked around, craned its neck up and yawned and opened its bill and that was it! The sun was soon obscured by clouds which was better for photography, as I was looking directly into the sun with the camera giving a totally unacceptable silhouetted view of the bird. Whilst, on the river behind me, an almost full summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe swam close by but was constantly diving, no Cranes were seen at Billockby.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Little Ormesby Broad birds

Arriving at Filby broad car park at lunchtime today, Monday 3rd February at 12.45pm, having failed to see the Cranes near Billockby (the farmer was digging in a field just behind the usual spot), a tweet from John H and meeting him a few minutes later we walked to the viewpoint to look for 2 birds John had just found, a fine redhead Smew at the back which dived occasionally seen mainly right of the cut in front of the end of the long line of reeds on the water at the back. Left of us in mid- distance were several 8 Tufted Ducks and on the left of them asleep was a female Scaup-like duck, she work up sporting a thick white band at the base of the bill darker brown head and mucky brown back, but the possibility of hybrid origin cannot b ruled out. She eventually swam back a little way. meanwhile in front of the hide was a line of 6 Great crested Grebes.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Lesser Canada at North Warren & Smew duo at Minsmere

The tension was palpable, I was busy photographing churches exteriors and interior at first Blythburgh and then Aldeburgh for my forthcoming Cromwell talk and I was waiting desparately for news on what surely must be one of the ornithological sensations of 2014 in Suffolk. A "double beep" from the mobile and a tweet that it was still there "Lesser Canada Goose at North Marsh, North Warren". The relief was visible and elated I drove the short way to the marsh. Only problem was the parking area was full and cars parked on the other side of the road. I should have known such a fantastic bird such as this would attract a legion of birders who were already there watching it? Strangely no, only 3 birders including Dick & Chris B were viewing it. I eventually found a parking space and walked up to the gate and scanned the flock of Barnacle Geese totally around 100 and almost immediately I picked up the fantastic, absolutely superb, Lesser Canada Goose was seen sitting down at the back of the left hand end of the flock. A dream come true, and if accepted, my first Lesser Canada In Suffolk and what a bird! All "legitimate" records of Lesser Canada's arrive from Greenland with Barnacles. More experienced Lesser Canada watchers had told me what cracking birds these are when finally seen in the feather and I wasn't to be disappointed, if anything, the bird exceeded expectations. It was around the same size of the Barnacles, with a much shorter neck giving the classic smaller Goose profile rather than a Greater Canad Goose profile. It has a smaller proportionately black bill with black head and neck, interspersed with a thicker white chin strap on the face. The black neck finished abruptly just before the upper breast with a grey breast, muckier brown flanks and browner back with dark wing tips, white vent and white rear underparts with short grey legs. It then woke up and started walking about by the front of the flock along the left side and fed and I was delighted to run off a few shots with the camera of this exceptionally rare visitor for Suffolk (if accepted as a wild bird). After some minutes watching this fine bird, with time pressing, I very reluctantly tore myself away and headed to Minsmere. From East Hide, a Grey Plover was seen on an island with 100+ Wigeon and around 8 Pintail. From the public platform, slightly further along, the 2 fine redhead Smew were seen on the middle of the South scrape pool, frequently diving they nonetheless gave good scope views. After further Cromwell related photography at Yarmouth, I checked the Caister to Acle road for Cranes and saw the 2 fine Cranes in the usual spot near Billockby, they were feeding just beyond the edge of the field in a stubble field and slowly walked further back and eventually into the field beyond. A great day of birding and photography with the undoubted highlight being the Lesser Canada!