Sunday, 25 May 2014
Saturday, 24 May 2014
On Saturday 24th May, 3 adults and 10 immatures Starlings seen outside the front of the house, 4 immatures and 2 adults fed on the from tlawn. No sooner has Springwatch been officially announced that it is broadcasting from RSPB Minsmere for the next 3 years, then you realise that the bulk of the spring migration is over and with mainly southerly (Not south- easterly winds as predicted) it was in retrospect not surprising that very little was seen today. Nothing seen around the Scores or the Netposts save for 2 adult Magpies soaking up the warm sun on the steps of the Lowestoft Registry office! Down at Ness Point, always worth a look for waders on southerly winds, no initial sign of the Sanderling but 8 Turnstone were on the rocks mostly asleep including 1 very smart summer plumaged individual. This bird was asleep for most of the time when it was sunny and it was only when it started to cloud up that it woke up (see header picture) As I was walking back I saw 5 Sanderling fly south over the sea, 1 summer plumaged individual seen amongst them.
On Sunday 15th May, there were 2 Green Hairstreak garden on the Wisteria in particularly sunny weather. At Kessingland I watched a Cuckoo fly calling from the caravan park over to the sewage works marsh and I sneaked up to it when it was perched on a dead area of branch, only for it to fly just as I was focusing on it with the camera very frustrating! A Holly Blue butterfly was seen here too. The Cuckoo was seen flying south from the sewage works and very good views were seen in flight when it appeared to fly back towards the caravan park area.
On the night of Thursday 12th May a loud buzzing noise revealed a large Cockchafer trying to get into the house via the conservatory window, Good to see baby Starlings perched just over then fence with 2 adults, 3 juveniles were counted (could have been more)
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Very early this morning, I woke up with a headache and went downstairs for a cuppa I walked into the Lounge and had the very surreal experience of being confronted by an adult Frog spawled out over the carpet, it was OK but appearing slightly sluggish and I released it as it perked up and leapt into the Goldfish pond! Early this evening Jenny was about to start the cooking when one another adult Frog leapt out from either under the oven (No, very fresh cuisses de grenouille were not on the menu!!) or the fridge and Jenny again realised it into the pond. We are certain the cats didn't bring them in as we had kept then in since 8pm and can only assume the Frogs leapt in when the back door was open! In the evening I went to Gunton Meadow and saw the 10 Green- winged Orchids again taking pics the Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat and Song Thrush were again singing out of sight and also briefly saw an obliging Small Tortoiseshell. This evening at around 10.20 a very early Cockchafer was flying up to the conservatory windows when we had the light on.
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
On Wednesday 14th I counted 10 Green- winged Orchids flowering in Gunton Meadow, 2 were slightly past the best but 8 were in flower although stunted growth with one nice plant in the middle. I also heard 2 Lesser Whitethroats "scolding" and a Whitethroat singing in addition to a Song Thrush singing too.
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Early morning, very early morning 5am on the North Denes and it was raining solidly, all I saw was 1 very bedraggled female Wheatear on the Denes and sea wall back near the car park. Driving home just before the garden centre by Stirrups Lane, a female Marsh Harrier flew low and east over the A12 at 5.40pm. In the evening 6pm isn I saw Rob Wil and we saw 2 fine Whinchats perched on the weeds on the Denes, looked like a male and female. There were also 2 female Wheatears on the Denes. Walking along Marine Parade, a juvenile Starling turned into 5 birds at least 3 were juveniles.
Monday, 12 May 2014
On Monday 12th May, I had to leave relatively early as I had an afternoon training course at Peterborough Hospital but I was delighted to see at least 2 House Martins back utilising 2 of the 3 nests under the eaves of the house. Sadly next doors single nest had fallen down in the winter. Fortunately this very wet spell we are experiencing should provide plenty of muddy areas for the birds to build a new nest. Driving back from Peterborough, I would estimate that I received the first message about the male Blue- headed Wagtail as I was driving past North Walsham. After I had stopped to check the message I drove straight for the North Denes and parked on Links Road car park. Reaching the spot roughly half way along I saw Paul & Jane who said they had it seconds previously but it had disappeared until Paul & I picked it out the wonderful male Blue- headed Wagtail at around 8.20pm, slightly further south along the path running parallel with the seawall walk. A stunning bird with deep blue head white chin, yellow underparts and browner back. It was constantly on the move walking in the long grass jumping up around both the plantain and the Dandelion heads, before finally revealing itself and showing really well (a pity I didn't have the camera but no time to retrieve it and I couldn't leave it in the car on a visit) the fading light along the worn track before disappearing again. In the gloom just south of here we saw a bedraggled and wet female Wheatear standing along the same trampled path. My thanks to Rob for the initial find and Paul & Jane sticking it out in order to show me where it was.
On Sunday 11th May, it was case of unsuccessfully dodging the sharp showers, at Lound along the causeway or Blue Doors Loke I heard the Nightingale again singing its beautiful rich throaty song from near the edge of the path just south of the water. Visiting Belton Common for the first time in ages, I couldn't find it a golf course was where I used to visit. Significantly there are two remnants left, east and west of the goldf course. Walking around here just past the horse paddocks and the scout hut, regular correspondent Paul W & I walked around and heard the wonderful purring of a Turtle Dove. Walking onto the Common just under the telegraph lines, I saw a wonderful Turtle Dove fly across from left to right and disappear in the southern most hedge row. Probably a different bird to the singing one heard a few moments ago. It's staccato flight, chestnut brown speckled back and white outer tail feathers clearly seen. Also seen were 2 singing male Yellowhammers, a singing Whitethroat and what appeared to be a very early Common Blue butterfly resting on a grass blade. Not seen however was a singing Garden Warbler heard only from within a dense bush. A trip in the afternoon to Easton Bavents and walking north along the beach I reached a gently sloping cliff edge field and saw the 3 fine Dotterels, on male and 2 females seen hunting for food in the ploughed field at mid distance, reasonably close. The male bird was seen closest of all while the 2 females were seen on the edge of the field or just over the ridge. The heavens then opened and we sheltered under the cliff face.
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
After work on Wednesday 7th May, having received a tweet that there was an LRP at Carlton Marshes, I tweeted for the exact location and following an instant reply from James B, I replied "that barring any gridlock, I would be there in 20 minutes" Prophetic words indeed, as I spent 20 minutes alone queuing along Somerleyton road, apparently the queuing was a result of a traffic accident at Oulton Broad! Despite taking the Camps Heath/ Prospect road diversion it had taken me double the time normally taken to get to Carlton Marshes. Taking the southerly route, I met Rob Wil and then James B on the journey round. From the south side of the scrape, I immediately picked out the fine Little Ringed Plover, with more elongated structure and yellow eye- ring obvious. It was in the same area as the Stint had been a day perviously although we first saw it left of that on grass, always a nice bird to see. Unfortunately the rain clouds open and I was drenched! A male Yellow Wagtail calling flew in and was joined on the ground by another female Yellow Wagtail, they were unseparable as the female was constantly following the male around. Giving a romantic flavour to the evening. As always the Yellow Wags lovely birds to see, especially fine plumage; the butter yellow coloration of the male. Another male Yellow wagtail was seen slightly further back too. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard distantly reeling too. Walking back around 5 Sedge Warblers seen singing, 2 of these were showing reasonably well in the reeds together and a Reed Warbler was heard singing as I passed Spratts Water. This is the 5th day on the trot that I have visited Carlton Marshes, will there be another trip again there tomorrow?
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
I went down this morning Tuesday 6 May, to the Carlton Marshes Scrape again, 4th time in as many days! I met Peter N & Chris M who jokingly said it had gone. They relented after a minute and said it was still there. I saw Andrew E & Jane & Wilton's Watchpoint and I could see the bird, a fine immature Spoonbill was on the middle of the Scrape asleep. My first Lowestoft Spoonbill! Occasionally it would wake up have a preen with its great spatular shaped bill (with pale cream scalloped tip at the end) and then fall asleep again, it showed a yellowish flush on the breast. Cuckoo was heard too. However it eventually woke up and promptly flew first east then north, as it flew we noted the black wing tips and black markings confirming it was an immature bird, we lost it behind trees where it was flying over Fisher Row's southerly marsh and then suddenly we had it again flying in from the north and practically over our heads it landed again on the Scrape and promptly started vigorously feeding with its spatular shaped bill moving it from side to side then sifting out the food by shaking its bill slightly, it kept feeding in this way for sometime. Meanwhile 3 then 5 and later around 14 Swifts seen from the Vistors centre car park. Back at the watchpoint, a Sedge Warbler was singing nearly often flying up into the air and returning to the same set of 3 bushes I managed to get a few pics of this before I walked back. Almost back to the Vistors centre and I heard a commotion Blackbirds alarm calls and 2 Magpies in one of the big Oaks and I saw big brown bird fly past the nest box. My suspicions were confirmed around 2 minutes later when a fine Tawny Owl flew out and south around 30 yards disappearing in the tangle of trees behind the marsh. A later look at Leathes Ham, revealed the Greenshank feeding on the edge of the island again and this time it was joined on the island by a Common Sandpiper.
Monday 5th May, first thing in the garden the Green Hairstreak was again seen on the Hebe then flew and stayed on the Lilac bush. Back to Carlton Marshes, I eventually walked round to the south side of the scrape, and saw the fine Little Stint, in the middle of the Scrape from the southern side. 3 Waders then flew in and eventually we id'd them as 3 Green Sandpipers that landed on the grassy island, one of their number was in the water for a while. A Whimbrel was also seen with them. Around 3 Sedge Warblers were also seen, still no Swift. A male Wheatear was seen perched on farm machinery in the field behind (south) of us. Walking back with Tony B we saw a Glow Worm larvae crossing the main path just past Spratt's Water on the way back. Early afternoon, the Green Hairstreak was still on the Lilac. Tried in the evening at Leathes Ham for Swift, still no birds but a Greenshank fed on the near eastern edge of the island and was nice compensation.
Sunday, 4 May 2014
In the evening I went down Fisher Row to lift my spirits after the bad dip of this morning of my big bogey bird in Suffolk Black Kite; and to see if the GW Egret may have relocated to Oulton Marshes. As I walked down the entrance hill, the first bird I saw singing which hopped into a close bush opposite the track was a fine Garden Warbler, my first of the year and a great start! I then heard several 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps and 1 Chiff- Chaff. As I walked around the reserve and had views of hunting Barn Owl always nice to see. Plus a Chinese Water Deer on the marsh. When I was half way down the tea gardens path at 8.10pm I looked up and saw an excellent Great White Egret flying right overhead and north. It showed all white plumage on the head upper parts, wings, and underparts the wings were long, a long yellow bill (indicating it was an immature non- breeding bird) and head tucked in showing a distinct white breast bulge and dark black legs extending beyond the white tail with a clump at the end showing the feet. I had the presence of mind to get a few record shots, (see below). It continued to fly north and out of sight. A great find and a fine way to bounce back from the bitter disappointment of this morning. As I walked back, I saw a male and female Muntjac Deer in the sloping fuel and another female Muntjac Deer in the field by the northerly wire fence, just before the entrance path. I also heard a Cuckoo calling from the back of the sloping field by the railway line.
Driving over Oulton Broad Mutford Lock an immature Shag was on the very end of the jetty (this time on the northern end) and was busy preening itself. A trip to Carlton Marshes and the Great White Egret was still on the Scrape I walked up and joined James B, Neville S & Chris M. We heard Cuckoo. After a little while I left to have a close look at the GW Egret from the other side. I fervently wish I hadn't, as it wasn't as close as yesterday and twenty minutes after leaving James, I missed my big bogey bird in Suffolk a Black Kite. I didn't know about until I got James' tweet which was too late and as I frantically scanned the area by Burgh St. Peter but couldn't see it (it would have been in Norfolk anyway), as if to rub salt into the wound as I was scanning for this Kite, a Red Kite apparently went low over the reserve and I missed that too, bah humbug! Scanning the skies revealed just 1 Buzzard and 3 Marsh Harriers for me. Up to 5 Sedge Warblers seen around the rest of the walk.
Saturday, 3 May 2014
An early morning tweet and up with the Lark, or rather the Yellow Wagtail, as no sooner had I set foot outside at 7.10am, when the familiar "sheeep" call of a Yellow wagtail and I saw a Yellow Wagtail flying low over the drive and north. At Carlton Marshes, Cuckoo was heard on the walk up and the fine Great White Egret was seen near the back of the scrape. I joined Carl B, a rarely seen James B actually staying around, Paul & Jane. We are very grateful to Jane for the free breakfast bars. We saw a Cuckoo flying left and then later a Hobby flew left and over Peto's Marsh. The GW Egret was wandering around the margins of the water and hunting with its long yellow bill. A view from the Ridge then led to a walk around to the other side revealed the bird a little closer. It would occasionally fly a short distance barely 10 yards then again walk along the edge of the water course hunting for food. Occasionally the GW Egret was stabbing the water feeding on various prey items. On the walk back, several c5 singing Sedge Warblers were seen. On the drive over Mutford Lock Bridge at Oulton Broad, I could see the regular immature Shag standing on the end of the jetty. Next stop Breydon Water and looking from the south wall, Paul Jane & I saw up to 5 Whimbrel amongst the Curlews and Avocet. A walk to Burgh Castle revealed from the view point up to 16 Whimbrels with around 8 Curlew resting on the stones plus 3 Spotted Redshank, 1 in fsp and the other 2 in partial summer plumage, up to 3 Greenshank were seen too. Suddenly Paul said what this? flying over Burgh Castle it was a fine Spoonbill flying north it then dropped and eluded us until I saw it flying over the trees in the distance and appeared to drop down by the RSPB Strumpshaw Fen/ Buckenham Marshes area. Meanwhile I checked in the garden and was delighted to see the tell tale shots, leaves of 2 Southern Marsh Orchids had broken the surface and hopefully ready for flower in June.