Wednesday, 30 December 2015
I was very saddened to hear of the sudden death of Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, singer and bass player from Motorhead (and prior to that Hawkwind & ex-Jimi Hendrix roadie). Lemmy was a true one off in rock 'n' roll and though I don't espouse his former lifestyle, habits or some of his opinions or hobbies, he was really good with & always had time for his fans. I saw the band 3X in the early 1980's, seeing the classic "Kilmister/ Clark/ Taylor" line-up on both the "Bomber" (15th March 1980) & "Ace of Spades" Tours (27th March 1981) both times at West Runton Pavilion- a really excellent venue (bands used to like playing there because of the excellent acoustics) now sadly no longer with us either as it was demolished in 1986; and at the UEA LCR (1st June 1983) on the "Another Perfect Tour". The 1980 show was my first ever concert in seeing a fully professional band. The band were excellent, creating a real impression, which I still remember vividly to this day. It was a sheer visceral thrill, a real spectacle with their fast playing, their sheer presence, with both Lemmy and his guitarist standing 6 foot tall, dressed in black and Lemmy singing up to the microphone set up above & suspended above his head on a mic stand pointing downwards, giving him a unique and distinctive pose. I was right at the front and was barely a few feet away from them. The trio were completed by "Fast" Eddie Clark on guitar, I stood right in front of Eddie and he even handed me his plastic beer cup which I kept for several months afterwards!! Being only 15, it was a real thrill to meet Lemmy and Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor (the drummer) at the bar beforehand (Phil Taylor also sadly recently deceased- November 2015), indeed they both duly signed autographs for me and when I was bought a Hamburger, either by my brother or his friend Mark, I didn't want it and so I gave it to Lemmy (who was propped up at the bar next to me!) who said "Thanks Mate!" and promptly ate and slapped me on the back as a thank you! He didn't know his own strength and I careered half way across the floor, Lemmy quickly apologised "Sorry mate" and all was forgiven! The gig was excellent and packed out but ear-splittingly loud, so the space was clear immediately in front of the speakers and where the sound of these speakers met in the middle of the "dance floor". It was so loud that I couldn't hear for 2 days afterwards and my ears continued ringing for a week afterwards. Definitely, the loudest band I have ever heard. The stage was also dominated by a lighting rig suspended over it in the form of a 40 foot long WW2 bomber which suddenly moved into life flashing with lights and the drone of a WW2 bomber when they played the "Bomber" title track. The low ceiling meant this "rig" dominated the area just above the stage. Motorhead, the band, returned the following year for the "Ace of Spades" tour and we were back to see them again this time well prepared complete with toilet tissue rolled up on our ears giving some protection! It was another equally excellent gig playing their classic "Ace of Spades" song. I finally saw them at the UEA on the "Another Perfect Day" tour where "Fast" Eddie Clarke had been replaced by ex- Thin Lizzy guitarist, Brian Robertson, giving them an un-Motorhead-like more melodic feel (which I liked), another really excellent gig. But I shall always treasure memories of that first gig at West Runton. I had recently seen this year's Glastonbury gig by the band and noted that Lemmy didn't look at all well. My condolences to his family, friends and associates.
On the 27th December, a wet day revealed some really close Long- tailed Tits and a Goldcrest which I had fun in photographing despite the really poor light. Yesterday, Tuesday 29th December afternoon, from Lake Lothing Bridge, a Guillemot was seen fairly close to the Bridge but a family with children at the water's edge kept the bird the far side of the water. The Great Northern Diver was again seen mid distance albeit in really nice light but still to distant to photograph.
Saturday, 26 December 2015
On friday, Christmas Day, just out of the front door and 2 calling Redwings flew south over the garden. First stop at 8am was Lake Lothing, I walked to the posts and saw a Kingfisher hovering and perched on the fence. Around 6 Little Grebes seen. from the brick bridge, a Guillemot seen and the Great Northern Diver swimming around the orange buoy. It then swam closer to the west side of Lake Lothing as it was now at mid distance not quite "Ferguson close" but the closest I have seen it to date. At Covehithe, by the bushes a Chiff- Chaff was seen. By the distant ridge I counted 82 Barnacles but many were out of sight. On Covehithe Broad, there were 7 Goldeneye, a male and 6 females and the Slavonian Grebe appeared near the back of the broad then swam left. A group of people with binoculars appeared and I was asked "Had I seen the Slavic Grebe!?" Finally, a Grey Seal stuck its head out of the sea and looked at me. No luck with the Peregrine at the Grain silo but 2 Purple Sandpipers seen at Ness Point.
Wednesday, 23 December 2015
On Sunday 20th December, a return trip to Covehithe Broad after such an enjoyable trip the previous week, started off well with a Buzzard perched on top of a tall tree in the wood directed by the Benacre strait A12 road. I was pleased to bump into Dick W again by the entrance path. sadly the flock of birds by the bushes were no longer present, so no Redpolls this time. However at the Broad, 520 Barnacles included a same size Canada type Goose the hybrid bird appearing the same size as Barnacles but stockier bodied with a short thick neck was seen and another hybrid bird a Snow Goose type with black on the very top of the back i.e.. mantle looked 90% Snow Goose and possibly 10% Brent? A single Brent Goose was also amongst their number. Initially we couldn't see the Slavs but there was 1 adult Mediterranean Gull amongst all the Gulls and 6 Goldeneye included a very smart male and 5 females. Then Dick spotted the Slav, the excellent Slavonian Grebe spent most of its time at the back of the Broad constantly diving. The Drive at Reydon failed to produce any Waxwings, but 2 Blackbirds feasted on berries instead. At Minsmere I picked up Suffolk Birds 2014 the Suffolk Bird report I am pleased to say included my pics of 2 Glossy Ibis, Sanderling, Mediterranean Gull, Desert Wheatear and Dusky Warbler.
Saturday, 19 December 2015
On Saturday the 19th December at lunchtime, I drove over to the Hickling Road, which dissected west from Sea Palling and directly opposite the Lound Cottages the Cattle Egret, all white with orange- buff on the head, a thick yellow bill and white feathery bill jowl, likening these to a white whiskered Scrooge. was in its field striding across the middle of the field it walked over and settled between 2 large cream Longhorn Cattle. It spent most of its time between standing between these Cattle before it strode back across the field to the middle feeding section where it fed under the feet of the cattle and picking insects up from the ground. Some "honking" calls revealed a fine group of 12 Bewick's Swans flying directly overhead and west, there were 11 adults and 1 immature bird. At the Horsey strait, a load of Swans in the field there were mostly Mutes but secreted amongst them was 1 Bewick's Swan.
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Sunday 13th December, another dull day but a very pleasant walk to Covehithe Broad where initially I saw a lot of Gulls by the first pig field including 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull. By the straight "bushy track" bordering an arable field I saw several Goldfinches 5 and 3 Chaffinches and then I bumped into Dick W who said he'd seen a small flock of Lesser Redpolls. Dog walkers then went by and they flushed 3 Lesser Redpoll that perched on the edge of the bushes for a short time. Also 1 Chiff- Chaff was seen moving south low in the bushes too. A great start. Down at the Broad, again a lot of Gulls were seen. There were 3 close Mute Swans but 4 smaller Swans over the south side of the Broad proved to be a quartet of regular feeding Bewick's Swans continually upending in search of food. Along the far bank were around 400 Barnacle Geese, 2 Red- breasted Geese of escaped origin. We saw Rob M and he said the Slav was over the southern side of the Broad close to the beach and a the fine black and white Slavonian Grebe was seen, it was regularly diving too for food. Rob M told us he'd just seen a LEO fly in off the sea and settle exhausted on the beach but he had unavoidably flushed it further south beyond the breach and it was heading for Easton Broad. A look up there seeing a dog walker we decided to leave it. We were then joined by Gerald J suddenly 3 Bewick's Swan circled around and then continued flying south. and we then enjoyed views of the Slavonian Grebe now along the back of the Broad and the 4 Bewick's Swans feeding on the Broad. Also on the Braod were 5 Goldenye, 1 cracking male and 4 females. I then spotted 3 Brent Geese feeding at the back over to the left.
Saturday, 12 December 2015
On Saturday 12th November, a look first thing from the railway bridge at Lake Lothing again revealed the fine Great Northern Diver swimming around the orange buoy again (often disappearing for a few minutes at a time in the southern islet. It even caught a crab and typically crouched low over the water after eating it. A Kingfisher also seen flying across the river east of where I was looking. I then drove up to sea Palling in the pouring rain and taking the road west- Hickling Lane, I eventually went past the Lound farm and then past the corner and parked by the Lound cottages and seeing Rene & Matthew, they pointed out the bird literally sheltering under legs of a cream Highland Cattle, it was asleep, a fine Cattle Egret. It was a like white oval blob on legs initially with a small white bobble for the head. After a while it woke and walked around feeding and moved from the far corner to the middle of the field by the feeding cattle trough. It showed its heavy yellow bill and white feathered cheek jowl extending onto the mid-section of the lower mandible. It would have made a good picture but with the persistant rain, a "consistant pitter- patter", it was too much of a risk so the photography gear was kept under wraps in the boot of the car. The rain was getting heavier and heavier and after the bird flew I headed for the drier climate of the car and home!
On Sunday 6th December, a look at Lake Lothing from the railway bridge revealed the Guillemot, a Kingfisher seen fly off a post and then catch a fish plus 6 Little Grebe. A Peregrine Falcon was perched on the south side of the Grain silo and 9 Purple Sandpipers seen on the ledge at Ness Point.
Sunday, 29 November 2015
A sole Waxwing was immediately seen feeding from the top berries of a tree just in The Drive at Reydon this afternoon, seen from 2-2.15pm. There are a lot of berries on these trees so hopefully more will join it. Seeing these birds just before Christmas always gets me in the festive mood but unfortunately a Sparrowhawk flew through and flushed it, it flew to another tree further along the Drive and the Sparrowhawk flew past again and this time to Waxwing flew east. 5 Goldfinch also flew over.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
On Saturday 28th November, a lone Purple Sandpiper was feeding along the narrow ledge just north of the groyne at the most easterly point. It would occasionally jump onto the flat ground just west of there when the sea whooshed in over the rocks. 14 Turnstone seen on the ledge just south of the eastern most point. A Rock Pipit heard but not seen. At the Link's road car park a nice selection of Gulls seen including a Common Gull, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull and one poor first winter bird which had fishing line protruding from its bill. why oh why don't fishermen collect up all their fishing line and dispose of it securely not leave it discarded on the beach/ sea. At 2ish a group of Black- headed Gulls were mobbing a Grey Heron that circled over the rear of the garden and the waste ground but it flew west.
Saturday, 21 November 2015
At around 10am I arrived at Ness Point and it was immediately evident with the very strong gale force NW winds, they were rocking the car from time to time and if the winds were any stronger I would have left, but there was a strong sea passage taking place with groups of Starlings groups of around 30, 40, 30, 100, 100, 120, 130 & 140 were seen either flying north or coming in off, All the other birds were flying north unless otherwise stated. Groups of 5, 5, 3, 10, 15, 5 and 3 Brent Geese flew by mostly close in, with the yellow buoy seen in the distance behind them. Groups of Dunlin were prevalent too including 20, 30, 12, 20, 15, 3, 10 (with 10 Sanderling), 30 and 3 all flying north, 1 Curlew flew north. Ducks included 3 female Goldeneye, 2 Goldeneye and 1 male, 3 male Goldeneye, Teal 1 with 5 Dunlin, Wigeon groups of 20, 30, 5, 3, 10 and 15, Pintail groups of 5, 10, 15, 8, 5, and 3. A group of 50 Common Scoter flying south. 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls flew by going south, Gannets seen all the time around 100 seen majority being adults 85 and 15 immatures or sub adults. All nice to see, but then finally in a brief sunny spell, the bird I really wanted to see, it appeared at 10.47am just ahead of a rain front when the heavens literally opened, it was a wonderful small and dumpy black and white close Little Auk which flew south close in, seen flying by on its distinctive 'whirring' wings, as always a real joy to see.
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
On Tuesday 17th November on the drive to work, a Buzzard was perched on the small "Barn Owl posts" north side on the drive 1/2 way along the A12 Lowestoft to Gorleston. On Wednesday 18th December, 4 Siskin flew south calling over Southside at the James Paget Hospital.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
On Wednesday 11th November, a Buzzard seen perched on a small post on the field just west of the new bypass at Parkhill. A 2 hour spell out of work this afternoon revealed a couple of birds the Buzzard in its usual tree just east of the A12 just north of Hopton and just 2 Turnstone at Ness Point plus Alex from Look East filming a bit about a white LandRover 4x4 car with several Alsation type dogs not sure what the local news item was about as I was working tip 7pm this evening and missed the Look east bulletin! just north of Hopton plus at the King's Centre Great Yarmouth on the grass just east of there a paddling Herring Gull and 7 Moorhen on the lawn.
Saturday, 7 November 2015
On saturday 7th November, I saw 1 Purple Sandpiper with Turnstones flying with and they settled on the rock just north of Ness Point my 1st returning bird this autumn, several times it popped up onto the rock, it was a lovely adult bird and great to see it back. 3 Greenfinch flew up from the near the sea wall just north of Bird's Eye factory. A rather confiding Rock Pipit was on the floe rocks just beyond the fence along Hamilton Dock before the rain
On Wednesday 4 November, 200 Starlings were on the large Crane towering over the JPUH Hospital which has been used to build the fantastic new day theatres complex it was a pre- roost gathering they had flown off by 3pm, on Thursday 5 November there were 40 there and Friday 6 November 30.
Wednesday, 4 November 2015
On Wednesday 4th November at 4.40pm, in the fading light I saw a Short- eared Owl fly over the road along the Hopton coast road. It was just by the "Radar Lodge" entrance track as it flew east over the road over the track and disappeared eventually out of sight.
Tuesday, 3 November 2015
Sunday, 1 November 2015
On Friday 30th October most of the day it was raining, once the rain had finally stopped mid-afternoon, I looked around the Parks, I heard a Firecrest behind the Oval, but try as I might I couldn't see it. I looked around Fallowfields and saw a Muntjac Deer run away from me. On Saturday 31st October, the Lesser 'Legs had been seen again but had already flown by the time I got there. The usual large numbers of Redshank, Golden Plover, Black- tailed Godwit, Dunlin plus 15 Avocet, 2 Spotted Redshanks, 30 odd Grey Plover, 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull swimming on the water. Nothing at Ness Point on either 31/10 (save for bumping into Rob Win) and a very foggy 1/11.
Thursday, 29 October 2015
A tweet from Keith d at around 8am this morning led to me walking up past Breydon Hide and joining Peter A plus Tony S, The bird had flown to the edge of the estuary and I spotted the bird, a fine Lesser Yellowlegs, amongst Redshank, there were also at least 2 Spotted Redshank here too. It was sat between the 500+ Redshank and had a greyer more nondiscrept appearance with dark thin bill and smaller appearance and slimmer neck. Phil H turned up and thought this was a Spotted Redshank (which it wasn't, unless he was on a different bird!) but my original ID was confirmed when it suddenly flew sporting a squarish white rump and grey- brown wings (definitely showing no white wing stripe) Phil H then called it. It then settled amongst Redshank further back until it flew back to the edge of the estuary nearer the bridge. I then went to the hide joining Ricky F & Carl B and we had it fly fairly close in on the lumps showing its yellow legs i enjoyed watching it for a minute before it flew further back. Also sent around 12 Avocets, 100+ Black- tailed Godwit, 500+ Golden Plover, 10 Grey Plover.
On Wednesday 28th October it was sadly raining all morning, I did however spot 67 Starlings all perched on the roof top on Fallowfields house. Very little seen around Corton churchyard, old SW but that changed when I walked down the Corton old rail track. There were 5+ (including 3 smart males) Brambling all in one Sycamore on the east side of Corton ORT on the south side of the copse by entrance to an arable field. A calling Redpoll flew over here, whilst 17 Redwings flew west 4 Chiff- Chaffs were seen amongst all the Goldcrests (+1 Corton old SW) many Goldcrest. At the North Denes and Oval again not a lot seen. There were at least 7 Brambling (including at least 4 smart males) all in 1 Sycamore just E of Arlington garden top of Ravine opp Belle Vue Park, Lowestoft then suddenly 9 Bramblings flew to Belle Vue Park 4.20pm + 1 Redpoll flew south over the ravine steps.
Monday, 26 October 2015
Walking back from the Courts following my jury service today Monday 26th October, I first heard the screaming and the amazingly 2 a pair of low flying Peregrines flew (one in close pursuit of the other) and they looped low over the road and jetted past and up towards the Cathedral close area, where 1 was seen circling around, a fine spectacle and welcome diversion from the serious business taking place today. Monday evening many Redwings heard calling overhead in Tesco's Gunton supermarket carpal one heard calling every 10 seconds or so. Tuesday 27th October again walking out from NCC on Tuesday 27th October a Grey Wagtail was heard calling overhead but sadly not seen.
On Thursday 22nd October we were let out slightly early from our Jury service at Norwich and at 5pm I rolled up at the end of Beach road, Caister. I saw 2 birders watching the Siberian Stonechat & it was really good to see Ricky & OFB. As I hadn't been able to bring anything optically other than my old bins, I was grateful to Ricky for the use of his scope. The Siberian Stonechat was a real cracker and a really smart bird, being a male bird complete with blackish head and pale peachy breast. It spent its entire time working up and down the fence line occasionally flying vertically upwards to catch an insect. Late on I saw Rob & Erin. On Saturday the Siberian Stonechat was seen again. Jeremy, David W & Lee W 2 Brambling flew over south calling their distinctive (to me) raspy call. At Horsey with Paul & Jane F we walked the fields around Horsey Corner no sign of anything save for overflying Pink- footed Geese groups of 28, 35 & 58 going west and 1 flying Lapwing, certainly no RFB. Driving back along Horsey straight 2 Marsh Harriers Breydon amogst a flock of 300 Golden Plover I eventually located the greyer American Golden Plover (another great find for Breydon stalwart Peter A- who must surely have the record for most found rare birds in Norfolk? Its a great credit to him) complete with pale white supercilia, it showed its longer leg length when it stretched and showed the length of its longer upper leg. It was originally in the cluster of Golden Plovers and was initially very hard to pick out. I did eventually locate it and made it even easier for us by walking to the front of the flock and then separating from them and joining some Lapwings in front. 3 Brent Geese swam past in the channel in front of the mud, including at least 1 immature with white lines on its back. On Sunday back at Caister, the Siberian Stonechat was initially showing quite well by the fence line, I watched from the burnt gorse area and obtained my best shot (see sub header) and it was reasonably faithful to the fence either side of a bush in front. The sheer number of birders were very well behaved but most annoyingly some idiot marched straight toward the bird when it flew even closer and spoilt any chance of me getting any better pics as he disturbed it and it flew back onto its favoured perched of the bramble within the golf course. Lots of viz mig was taking place overhead with 2 Sky Larks calling, a "peuu" call of an overflying Siskin had most observers amazingly puzzled as to its ID, obviously not field birders!!! The rattling call of a Redpoll flew over going west calling which amazingly fooled a lot of present as to its identity! A trilling Snow Bunting eventually revealed 1 bird flying north across the beach.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
At lunchtime in Norwich taking a break from Jury service, on Monday 19th October, I saw a distant Peregrine perched on the right hand side of the spire of the Cathedral half way up. Goldcrests had even reached the trees within Norwich and in the Cathedral Close when at least one was heard calling and 1 was in the bushes just west of the Cathedral. A Grey Wagtail heard and sen lying overhead. Aound 30 Greylag Geese flew over high flying east. On Tuesday 20th, a Grey Wagtail again heard over Cathedral close and this time 2 Goldcrests were heard here also too.
Sunday, 18 October 2015
Saturday 17th October, at 8am an incredibly total of c1,0000 Pink- footed Geese flew in a very loose "v" formation as they called and flw right over the house flying due north incredible to witness from the bedroom window! hadn't seen much when Rene's tweet came through and went down to the North Denes, I saw rene on the sea wall and the bird had been seen by the western fence of Ting Dene caravan park but had been lost. I decided to check the Oval where 2 distant Fieldfares were seen. I walked back and saw Rene & Andrew E looking at the bushes bordering the northern edge of the Bird's Eye factory, I still couldnt see the bird but when joined by Chris M the bird suddenly popped up and perched by a bush where we watched the fine Great Grey Shrike. It then flew over to the net posts before perching on a post before Danny P walked right up to it, amazingly not seeing it and the bird flew back to Ting dene fence first perching in the silver sallow bush before eventually flying down the ground in front of the buoy near the sea wall it spent sometime feeding here. It was later seen by the western fence in bushes. Last thing on Gunton beach together with Nick B, we saw 6 Reed Buntings on the beach feeding amongst the marram grass or flying to the brambles near warren House wood. Another Bunting slightly larger longer bodied flew north silently was this the Lap Bunting? Walking up I saw another 2 Reed Buntings but suddenly the heavens opened and I was drenched! Sunday 18th October, very little seen save for Goldcrests seemingly in every bush and tree. A Brambling called and flew over unseen. Nothing along the old rail track, dip farm or putting green area (save for more Goldcrests). A look on the North Demes perched on the post by the railings of the North Caravan park, a fine male Redstart seen. By the north wall of the Oval by the bramble bush just north of there, first a male Stonechat perched on top the bush and the it 'chacked' and the pair of Stonechats seen flying up into the air together. walking with Rob we saw the excellent Great Grey Shrike perched on top of he trees including the one with a lot of brown foliage. back at the North Caravan park we saw the male Redstart flitting underneath the caravans and the wooden staging area but a walker flushed it south. Sometime later I walked back and the Great Grey Shrike flew past me and perched in the middle Pine where it reasonably confiding although the light was abysmal! A dog walker flushed it flying north.
On Thursday 15th October, I was able to take the rest of the day off work from 10.15am, so after checking the Isabelline was still at Beeston I drove straight there. Unfortunately, it started to rain as I reached Crome but undeterred I continued to the Beeston Common road on the east side of the road assuming the Common was there, it wasn't it was opposite and there was a very conveniently situated large lay-by opposite where I parked with all the other birders cars and was fortunately to bump into Taxidermy John B, who told me exactly where the bird and saying it was still showing well despite the rain. From the lay-by the Common was accessed just a few steps further along and walking west along a path to a group of birders including Eddie M & John R. The bird the superb Isabelline Shrike, was distant perched on the top of 3 bushes. It was a pale bird with usual dark band on the rear of the ear coverts. It then flew much closer to a bare stick bush close to the path and appeared totally oblivious to the advancing birders it spent a lot of time here flying down to the ground and catching insects most of these were wasps. it then flew back to the far bushes where it again used these for lookouts to fly down to catch more insectivorous prey again mostly wasps. Next stop was Muckleborough Hills parking in Ventnor Gardenrs directly opposite the track. This area is just past the Muckleborough Tank museum entrance. I walked down the track where it slowly turned to the left and then up a hill overlooking a grassy heathy area surrounded by trees. The Pipit had just been seen but it had flown into the wood. 1 chap walked around the clear area and the Pipoit flew up and into the wood. It was later seen in the middle of the clear area on the deck and I was one of the lucky few to spot it here where it hopped out of some bracken I could see an olive- backed bird with split creamy super cilia and wing bar for all of 20 seconds before it moved out of view obscured by the thickest coup of bracken. We then incredibly lost it. It was later flushed from this area by a third person carefully walking around and I saw it fy back into the tree of the wood where it perched very, very briefly before disappearing behind the tree and into a hollow. No sign of the GG Shrike at Salthouse but I did see a Short- eared Owl hunting over the marsh.
Thursday, 15 October 2015
On Monday 12 October, a calling Redwing seen flying south over the garden at 9am. On Wednesday 14 October at lunchtime a calling group of 5 and then 2 Redwing flew over the Library flying west. 2 Goldcrests were calling around the bushes by the Sandra Chapman centre, one seen briefly flitting in the bushes.
On Sunday 11th October Brent Geese flew north groups of 8, 12, 16 8, 24, 7, 15 flew north. Around 8 Red- throated Divers flew north as singletons and a fine summer plumaged Red- throated Diver was seen swimming on the sea a third of the way out in front of a bout. I picked up a Short- eared Owl flying south and in off the sea. Also saw a Song Thrush and 3 singleton Sky Larks fly in off the sea. Sun very little seen on patch save for Goldcrests, a Grey Wagtail heard flying over the Warren House wood. On North Denes with James W we saw the pair of Stonechats on the rough ground.
Friday, 9 October 2015
Late afternoon on Wednesday 7th June, a very gloomy day following a cloudburst, following a work trip to Fulbourn, I nipped in at 5pm to Horsey in the hope of seeing the GGShrike, no sign for me it was obviously hiding up, although I did see a pair of "chacking" Stonechats. a wonderful total of 142 Grey Seals on the beck very close just south of the end of the Nelson Head. They were in 3 distinct equal groups with around 25 Seals swimming in the water. On Thursday 8th June, at 9am, a Grey Wagtail flew south calling over the front garden.
Sunday, 4 October 2015
On Sunday 4th October, a look around Corton old sewage works pool, after the fog had cleared, revealed a feeding LesserRedpolland when I was joined by Neville S and after a Sparrowhawk dashed through, it spooked 4 Lesser Redpolls that flew off. A male and female Blackcap again visited the pool as did a Chiff- Chaff. A message that Andrew had relocated the Lapland Bunting had me walking along Gunton Warren half way along by the fenced off area protecting plants on the beach, I saw a Wheatear perched on the wooden slats, another Wheatear was seen in company with it later. Paul W was around the far northern end of the beach past Tramps Alley but James W joined me and after Rob Wil had replied to a text stating the bird was mobile along the marram grass dunes/ beach margin, we walked along the beach edge and the excellent Lapland Bunting flew up calling a distinctive tattling call with a Meadow pipit by the fenced off area half way along. We saw it settle and then it promptly disappeared. Unfortunately some dogs flushed it and it flew a long way south to the edge of Warren House wood, we were joined here by Ali R and Paul & Jane F. Yet another dog flushed it to the beach edge a third of the way along. Here it seemed settled and we eventually saw it feeding between marram grass where it initially obscured by marram grass stems, it then came out in the full sun where Jane F spotted it and we joined her and managed some good mid distance shots of the bird in full sunlight. It then retreated to the north edge of this marram grass clump where we watched it feed for the next hour during the end of the period of observation it came out almost fully into the open before dog walkers by the tideline spooked it and it flew 5 metres north to the next marram grass clumps where we were joined by a group of birders and Craig, we saw it again partially obscured where I finally left it at 4.15pm. Following a tweet from Rob Win, I parked near the bridge by the ravine and following the sunlit areas I walked along overlooking the White House at the top of the ravine named Arlington and in the garden saw several Long- tailed Tits and Goldcrests but with them was the fine Firecrest that flew over to the Oak tree the other side of the garden, I watched it. I walked over to the ravine and by the top end of Belle Vue Park, I looked across into the garden of Arlington, and the Firecrest again showed really well this time in the Holly tree catching the last vestiges of sunlight as it moved around feeding on insects, it was joined at the top of the tree by a Chiff- Chaff and another called nearby.
On Saturday October 3, I had looked around Corton ORT only seeing 2 Chiff- Chaff and lots of Goldcrests. I saw Maurice B here and we looked around the Corton churchyard not seeing a lot. I decided to look around the old sewage works site on the cliff. Again not a lot seen. I was walking back along the entrance track and paused to look over at the marshy pool on the right and was delighted to see a Lesser Redpoll sitting on top of a tall weed with big white fluffy seeds that it was feeding on. It quickly hopped down but later 1 then 2 Lesser Redpolls were seen in the bush. I could constantly here the sound of birds bathing with wings flapping in the water and over the course of the next hour a range of birds visited including male and female Blackcap, a total of 4 Chiff- Chaffs, a Coal Tit that looked very wet when it flew up from the pool. great Tits, Blue Tits, 2 Dunnocks and memorably at 11.30, a Yellow- browed Warbler suddenly appeared flitting around low down in the bare branches of the bushes showing well for all of 2 minutes bushes before it flew across the track to the hedgerow opposite. later on following a tweet I looked in Sparrow's Nest around the top loop track, a Chiff- Chaff was seen. however by the side path by the lighthouse a calling Tellow- browed revealed a brief view of the silky white underparts of this Yellow- browed warbler whilst another called back from the top loop path, indicating there were 2 Yellow- browed Warblers here. I then went with Rob Wil and we saw a fine briefly showy Pied Flycatcher from the top of Maltsters score.
Friday, 2 October 2015
Last few days I have checked Corton old sewage works the rail track and churchyard and seen very little (admittedly this before and after work which might be anything from 30 min to 1 hour). In Gunton wood yesterday Thursday 1st October after work the Yellow- browed Warbler was heard calling briefly and a Firecrest heard but frustratingly neither bird seen. A look at a large Tit flock mostly Long-tails but also Blue & great Tits one very brown Chiff- Chaff flew in. The started calling their alrm calls as a Sparrowhawk shot through.
Wednesday, 30 September 2015
After 2 days of looking around Corton ORT, Churchyard and Old SW before and after work & seeing nothing. It sounded as if this would quickly change this morning Wednesday 30th September, when I drew up to the approach rd to Corton old SW when I heard a lot of bird song including a calling Yellow- browed, but it was not to be as the ringers were in Town. I decided to try Broadland sands and heard a Yellow- browed seeing Derek I asked him was it another tape? Yes! Going back to the Churchyard, I heard the more rasping call of a genuine Firecrest moving through the hedge on the eastern side but it remained mostly well hidden. a look after work typically revealed nothing again.
Monday, 28 September 2015
This morning, Monday 28th September I got up at 2.45pm and witnessed the not so Big Moon (I've seen bigger Harvest moons) slowly be eclipsed by the earth's shadow with a bigger bite taken out of the moon by the earth's shadow. At totality, it took on this dark salmon pink colour from around 3.10- 4am. We had occasional cloud which came along and covered it from time to time. When we first looked out, we had a magnificent shooting star streaking past it at about 2.50am. At totality at 3.10am, as it got darker, the local pair of Tawny Owls suddenly became active hooting and "kewicking." However, I failed miserably to get any pictures of the salmon pink moon at totality I even tried whacking up the ISO to no avail. Moon photography isn't really my field of expertise! Any hints or tips for future occurrences gratefully received. Here's a picture at around 2.50am when there was enough light to get a pic!
Sunday, 27 September 2015
On Sunday 27th September at around 4.30pm I walked around the North Denes, I was keen to see the elusive Snow Bunting. I heard and saw 2 Rock Pipits one showed well on groynes and the rocks of the old sea wall. An initial sweep of the sea wall and the Ting Dene caravan site on the North Denes revealed no Snow Bunting although 10 Pied Wagtails seen. But walking back I saw the excellent Snow Bunting feeding between the caravans, walking down it fed right up to the base of the sea wall before it flew up unprompted onto th seawall. Where it perched before a cyclist pushed and it flew calling its excellent "jingling" call over the seawall the beach and then back over the seawall and it flew towards the south- east end of the Ting Dene mobile caravan site. It later flew back along the seawall south from here perched on the western wall before a walker pushed it north and it perched on the western wall just north from here. The same walker flushed it and it flew south back to the seawall where it fed along the western edge by the wall. A cyclist pushed it over into the caravan site again. I walked down very care fully and it was feeding in the far SE corner along the concrete path and past the railings before yet more walkers pushed it over to the sloping area where it started to feed from some vegetation and I was able to approach with 20 feet and I took a series of pictures as it fed for some 10 minutes before it hopped down to the railing barely 5 feet from me (the bird had shown really well- this is normally the refrain of the Fergusons but I was getting in on the act too, and about time!) and as the sun was covered by cloud, I left it in the extreme south-east corner of the site by the yellow-black buoy.
On Sunday 27th September a tweet from Jake G had me driving over to Great Yarmouth cemetery I walked across to the southern section and just a few metres down the main path a crowd of birders including Jake & Justin L really was "x" marks the spot! They were looking up into the very canopy of a large sycamore and an Oak tree and I quickly latched onto the excellent Yellow- browed Warbler, a fast moving small warbler with silky white underparts an then the head showed with the cream white obvious supercilium and then later the 2 cram olive wing bars on green wings. It flitted about giving tantalising glimpses. We were later joined by Paul W, John H and an Ali R lookalike who picked the bird up again in the Oak and gave excellent directions 7 o'clock from the sky opening and I again glimpsed the bird. I also heard a Coal Tit calling but sadly not seen on what is an unusual visitor to Great Yarmouth cemetery, rarer than Yellow- brows! A walk around revealed little save for a male Migrant Hawker. I next called in at Corton old rail track and met the Fergusons, who for once, hadn't seen a bird well; the Ybw had been really elusive. I met Rob Wil who had found them. At the copse around the Sallows area, I heard the "tsuipp" call of a Yellow- browed Warbler right above my head but didn't see it. Chiff- Chaff also heard. I was joined by Paul W. Next stop look in Gunton Woods around the Sallows to look for my own YBWs. All I heard was a very vocal Chiff- Chaff by the hedge before the wood and then calling in the Sallows, but nothing else. Of course later on James W found one here and I drove down met James W and we went back to the Sallows and the main wood path by the sign and we both clearly heard the Yellow- browed Warbler call twice unfortunately we didn't see it.
Saturday, 26 September 2015
On Saturday 26th September I walked over to the Corton New Sewage works sewage outflow pool, in the hope of seeing Willow Emeralds, seeing Rob M and his wife there we couldn't see any but a fine male Southern Hawker patrolling the pond and several Common Darters both male and female. Whilst we were there 2 fine Grey wagtails flew in and settled on the hand rail just a few metres away. Whilst overhead in the brilliant sunshine up to 4+ Mediterranean Gulls (3 adults and 1 2nd year bird flew over) their wings a translucent white in the fine sunshine. As soon as Rob M and his wife had left. I immediately saw a Willow Emerald flying around the bushes bordering the boardwalk. I then saw up 8+ Willow Emeralds, a mating psi showed well the male lower down was frequently implanting the female on top. Another Willow Emerald briefly settled on the handrail. A walk along Gunton Waarren revealed no Small Coppers as hoped but a vocal and briefly showing Chiff- Chaff seen by some bramble and the Stonechat seen on tall vegetation in the middle of the North Denes and another second Stonechat briefly popped up into view too but I could not see the Snow B on either the sea wall or the net posts.
Welsh trip: On Friday 18th September, I saw a Nuthatch which came to food put out in the morning, it perched in the bush just west of the conservatory. A walk that afternoon revealed a Dipper on the Cymisfael stream and 2 further along, so 3 Dippers in total. A showy Speckeld Wood showed well in on the bramble bushes by the new Whitehall bridge. On Saturday 19th September , the Nuthatch was again seen in the garden feeding on scraps put out. At Mum's new potential property Pied Wagtail and Robin seen plus a croaking Raven flew north directly overhead. On Sunday 20th September 3 Ravens flew over calling croaking, 2 seen in tall Pines and 1 flew over towards them. 3 Buzzard flew out of the copse north of Mum's house. on a non birding trip. Finally On Sunday, first thing the Nuthatch was seen feeding on scraps but only after I had vacated the car overlooking the area! after lunch, I drove back and a magnificent Red Kite flew low over the M4 from left to right right in front of the car just before the Swansea City sign.
Thursday, 17 September 2015
Wednesday 16th Sept still 4 House Martins over Bosquet Close, Thursday 17th Sept 2 House Martins Bosquet Close. Nothing at Corton save for calling Bullfinch & Chiff- Chaff by the Oak Lane calling Siskins heard, Corton old Sw calling Siskin heard plus a female Green Woodpecker on fence & Swallow post flew to telegraph pole! Male Migrant Hawker flew past car park hedge Corton Churchyard. Gunton Warren calling Siskin,, 3 Chiff- Chaffs calling and 1 singing by Holm Oak parch just north of Warren House Wood. female Migrant Hawker and 2 smart Small Coppers at the eastern end of the Japanese Knotweed remains. 6 Swallows by North Denes. Arnolds Walk calling Coat Tit seen in fir tree plus alarm calls from Goldcrests as a Cat moved through. Netposts- 1 Kestrel on post, Meadow Pipits 4 & 4 Pied Wagtails. Nothing in the Parks.
Sunday, 13 September 2015
A tweet from Matthew D stating a Death's-Head Hawk Moth had been trapped overnight at westleton and it would be on show at Minsmere Visitor centre and an hour later I was driving down in the run to Minsmere. seeing Paul & Jane F there at 2.30pm, John walked in with a small container and in it was a large dark 8 inch moth the excellent Death's-Head Hawk Moth. A real beast of a moth and only my 2nd ever (first on Scilly in 2003), a real rarity in Suffolk with only 1 trapped per year usually. It was put on a bit of Silver Birch trunk but was still quite active walking along John's hand and when it stated to flutter its wings it was time to carefully put it back into the fridge. This done it was let out again after half an hour with more photographers sticking their lenses in than a gathering of press paparazzi at a celebrity! It was put near to the window to maximise the light and I managed a obtain few shots, albeit without my preferred macro 60mm lens which had given up the ghost last week.
A look around the old sewage works revealed little save for 23 Siskins flying south. A look at Radar Lodge entrance track revealed a constantly calling Pied Flycatcher that would have been reasonably confiding had not the shooter on the field adjacent to the Lodge being fired every 2 minutes. The Pied Flycatcher perch on low down branches but would fly once the gunshot had gone off. A walk to the Corton new sewage works overflow sewage pool revealed a constantly patrolling smart male Southern Hawker constantly patrolling the ware plus a make Common darter perched on the handrail. 3 young Goldfinches perched on the sewage works perimeter fence, I couldn't see any Willow Emeralds although cloud was rollin in. walking to the fenced area near the Anglian water entrance gate. A Wheatear suddenly flew to a post and then out flew a male Redstart and perched briefly for all of 30 seconds in the vertical wire. I waited and saw it flitting around and later on hearing its constant calls I tracked it further along west and it flew across into an Oak tree perched and showing reasonably well it flew back to the fenced area again and where it flew back to the fence showing quite well again.
Saturday, 12 September 2015
On Saturday 12th September having already missed 2 Bluethroat already this year and wanting to break my recent run of dips at Winterton- no having seen any birds there in he past 18 months, I waited until confirmation following report of a Bluethroat in the South Dunes. This duly came through from Tommy C with the encouraging news that it was showing well. I walked down the valley and not seeing any other birders I carried on to where there was a group of them by a sign with a large bush just north of it. Some birders said they had it, and I assuming it was the Bluethroat and I was looking on the ground at the base of the tree just left of the main trunk. Eventually, they explained it was a foot off the ground and a fine Wryneck came into view. An excellent brief sighting but I assumed this was where the Bluethroat was and had to retrace my steps back to the bushes along the main "inland" path of the Dunes just south of Hermaness. A group of birders were looking on the eastern side of this bush and the excellent Bluethroat was seen briefly in silhouette, it ran behind a small bush directly in front of me, where it frustratingly disappeared. I met Craig & Tinm H and Tim explained it was very faithful to this specific bush wandering no further than 15 metres away. It show roughly every ten minutes so not to worry. But when Barry J crouched down the other/ "inland side" of the bush, it was clear he was on it. I moved around to the other side of the bush, where it surrounded a bowl shaped area of grass. The bird would then would regularly hop out and run across the grass being around 3-4 metres away at times it was showing to around a metre! It perched once on a small branch of gorse. Then a well known Norfolk bird photographer turned up and he went the other side and he and his wife were as usual waiting far to close to the bush pushing the bird the opposite side and for once he did me a favour (but not the bird!) as it showed really well in front of me in the grassy bowl. It even ran to a bush beside me, when the photographer walked around he flushed it (no surprise there, no fieldcraft whatsoever!) and it flew to the right side of the bush by a gap through to the eastern side showing its fine chestnut basal tail panels as the tail flared when it landed at the eastern end. Later on it came out in this grassy bowl and showed down to a metre ridiculously close! Only problem photographically was the light was so awful and when the sun did briefly eventually came out the bird wasn't showing, sadly. 5 House Martin feeding over Parkhill/ Fallowfields this evening. Although I believe my pair has left within the past week lets hope they have a south journey south and I look forward to seeing them next year.
Friday 11th September a lone Siskin flew north over the house as I was walking to the car 8.30am seen and heard. Birding aftr work again. This time I parked again at the Dip Farm pitch and putt and walked along the northern fence line. The Pied Flycatcher was seen briefly perched on the low hanging branch. Otherwise 4 Robins seen, 1 immature and several in transition plumage. walking past the bush along the path running parallel with the road and walking south, a Redstart flew out of a tree and circled and darted round and back behind the tree. Around 30 yards further along, a Redstart flew from bush in front of m and flew left and settled behind another bush out of sight. meeting both Craig & James B at Corton churchyard I heard the Firecrest calling but didn't see it. Looking around the ploughed field just north of the old sewage works 3 Wheatears were seen on the north west section of the field.
On Thursday 10th September after work, I went to Corton Old Sw saw james B, we saw 2 Wheatears by the newly ploughed fields but little else. He advised me to go to Gunton ORT and Dip farm where he'd seen Pied Fly & redstart. With the sun a now golden hue, I walked along the northern fence line and there was a brownish Wheatear which sat on the field near the fence. It flew up to the fence showing well. I walked along further to the berry bush at the end. I initially saw 2 Robins then a fine Pied Flycatcher flew low and perched on a low branch, I crept nearer and nearer and managed to obtain som great shots of this splendid bird. It would occasionally fly out to the grass catch an insect low to the ground and then return to its perch. I then met David F, a newish birder/ butterfly photographer who lived nearby I showed him the Pied Fly and he walked back where he had seen James' fine male summer plum Redstart, suddenly a Redstart flew out of a bush and then fly further back. Its reddish tail seen well.
On Monday 7th September at Lowestoft Netposts, first 1 then 2 Wheatear seen the second was more obliging and several pics obtained. Plus 3 Meadow Pipit. Corton 28 ad Med Gulls in mixed Gull flock comprising Common Gulls, BH Gulls and Herring Gull too. At Lound, a Redstart flew out of the hedgerow at Blue Door Loke plus a female Blackcap seen at the hedge at the end and a Coat Tit near the start.
On Sunday 6 September, a tweet from Tony S stating there was a WWBT at Ormesby Broad had me driving over there and from the bridge by the busy road looking over to the far end we saw 2 Common Terns perched on posts and eventually the excellent juvenile White- winged Black Tern constantly flying over the water it sported a grey black back or saddle with darkish around the mid rear of the cap and a black edge to the primaries, it had typically dipping marsh tern flight and flew over tp the reeds on the left in the mid distance.
Saturday, 5 September 2015
On Wednesday 2nd September, a sunlit garden revealed a posing Red Admiral on the Wisteria leaves above the garden pagoda. A walk at Corton old SW revealed little but in the field south of there were 14 Mediterranean Gulls (12 adults, 1 2nd calendar year and a juvenile bird.) A walk down Corton old rail track just past the copse revealed a wet looking Pied Flycatcher that flew up into the a large Oak tree just left of the path. In the field just south west of the new SW 40+ Common Gulls seen with fewer BH Gulls and the odd Herring Gull.
A look around Corton revealed nowt save for a Holly Blue by Corton old SW. On the North Denes, 2 Whinchat seen and 2 Wheatear seen on the Oval from the cliff, nothing at Ness Point a rain storm curtailed my check of the slopes. At 1.45pm tweet from Rob and by 2pm I was back on the Denes looking at the slope Barred Warbler popped up in the top bush then flew half way down the slope. Looking from the side across it favoured a sunlit bush just above a small Holly tree and spent some time resting. Also with it was a female Blackcap and a Reed Warbler. Rob rang and said there were better views from the top of the cliff. 3 Mediterranean Gulls were in the Links road car park Gull 2 adults and 1 2nd calendar year bird . Im the evening 1 Spotted Flycatcher was seen initially perched on the fence of the in the SW corner of Corton old SW. it then flew to the hedgerow west of here and back to the hedge of the west ice of the old sewage works before flying back.
Saturday, 29 August 2015
On Saturday 29th August, at 8am and Corton old SW, a charming family of Blackcaps the male and female and 3 immatures were around the bare branch area just west of the Sw corner of the old Corton SW this morning at 8am, there would be no repeat (for me at least) of Craig's witnessing 2 Wrynecks calling to each other, I didn't see either. Meanwhile, Links road car park was deserted save for 1 wood Pigeon and there were just 5 Common Terns on the groynes along North beach. Belle Vue Park, Sparrows Nest, Arnold's Walk and the Netposts appeared devoid of all migrants.
Friday, 28 August 2015
I arrived at Corton Old sewage works this morning at 10.20am, brilliant sunshine but no sign of the 2 Wryecks Craig had seen at 8am that morning. Also the Whinchat had gone. I met Richard S, Neville S & Rob Wil. Just after their greetings, I noticed a Stoat (the black tip to the tail seen) running left along the edge in a westerly direction carrying a prey item either a mouse or a vole. they hadn't seen the Wrynecks either. A female Sparrowhawk dashed along the western hedgerow flying north. walking around to the northern side I saw a juvenile Blackbird and a Whitethroat flew up to the fence and then into the compound. Chris M arrived and at 11.30am Chris alerted me to a bird with undulating flight slim with longish body and tail flying over top the south west corner of the compound, it was a brief glimpse in flight of the Wryneck. Chris walked to the corner, I was hoping it would come out along the edge, but instead Chris saw it fly up and appear to fly in the middle of the compound. @ other birders arrived no further sign so we went to Gunton Warren cliff where Andrew E had briefly seen another. Opposite Hubbards Loke we saw a Swift fly over and west.
At 7.50am, on Friday 28th August, I noticed a Hummingbird Hawk Moth feeding on the high Buddlea flowers it then flew over to the variegated Holly and perched here and here it sat for the next 2 hours and 20 minutes. It perched at around 15 feet up, so I had to retrieve the step ladder from the garage and standing on the top rung, have carefully wedged wood underneath the 4 feet to provide a safe and secure platform, it would be embarrassing attending JPH Hospital A&E/ Orthopaedic department with broken bones! It then flew at 10.10 and briefly hovered over the Red Valerian flowers before flying off. A Painted Lady butterfly was also seen feeding on the flowers of the Buddlia this morning. Update: in the evening, a female Common Hawker flew in and settled on a Lavender flower stem.
Arriving again at Corton old sewage works, on the evening of Thursday 27th August, buoyed with the news that the Wryneck had been seen again several times during the day, we (Craig, Rob Wil & others) didn't mainly because it chucked it down with rain. The literal golden lining was the gorgeous golden setting sun which belatedly came out and illuminated the showy Whinchat that was again perched on the posts running adjacent to the path leading to the cliff. The bird showed well and I managed to get within 5 metres, without disturbing it and watched it perched on posts and a thistle before it eventually flew back to Old sewage works eastern fence where it perched here before going to roost.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015
The showy Whinchat was still at Corton old sewage works this evening, Wednesday 26th August at 6.30pm I walked along the southern perimeter fence and it was perched on the fence and then flew to the track in front of me before flying back to the eastern perimeter fence. Leaving and coming back armed with my camera, I had catch up with Robert Wil in the Church carpark and bumped into Craig & his 2 border Collies back at the old sewage works. This time the Whinchat was perched on the fence posts just east of the compound (as Robert had described its last location) and again proved reasonably obliging particularly in rare shafts of sunlights poking out of the sodden sky and bathing the bird in a golden evening glow, before eventually flying back to the southern perimeter fence line and then onto the fenced off area itself.
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
On Sunday 23rd August, a walk around Corton ORT revealed a calling Chiff- Chaff just south of the road and not the hoped for Flycatchers at either Corton ORT and Hopton Radar Lodge. A Wheatear flew onto the eastern fence of the old sewage works compound. On Tuesday 26th August, a walk around Corton ORT again, 2 Chiff- Chaffs were heard and 1 was seen. At Corton old sewage works a walk around initially revealed little but a Whinchat flew onto the east side of the fence and the flew over into the compound perching on a weed stem just a couple of yards from the fence. I often find birds feel quite secure even if you are the other side of the fence so slowly walking up I pressed the camera lens up against the fence and took a few close shots of this obliging bird that stayed here for several minutes. Walking back to the lane, a fine Pied Flycatcher flew across at 9am and perched briefly on the bare low branches before darting deeper into the foliage, nice to see earliest in the autumn rather than having to desperately around to see one in October. A look at Radar Lodge approach road failed to reveal anything save for 2 overflying Kestrels. POSTSCRIPT I was staggered to see a Wryneck was discovered at Corton ORT at 2pm that day, I had specifically looked for Wryneck scrutinising bramble bushes, the leafy lanes, the grassy area and the compound itself in the hope of finding one.
Saturday, 22 August 2015
Minsmere a trip to West scrape revealed the fine Pectoral Sandpiper plus 1 wp Black- tailed Godit, 2 Ruff were seen at the back 'hugging' the edge of the east scrape. 2 Snipe on dead vegetation and 4 Common Sandpiper. At South scrape I saw 2 Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank and a flock of small waders included 20 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plovers and a larger grey Knot. several 4 Lapwing also seen. A call from Jane and I was driving back to Kessingland Sluice, seeing Jane, Paul & Andrew at the Common, I went to the bramble bush with 2 elder bushes just poking out, 40 minutes no sign of the hoped for Wryneck, then suddenly it hopped up onto the elder bush and sat here for 4 mi nuts, Craig turned up and was photographing it too before it flew off its own volition across the river and by the 2 big bushes just west of the telegraph pole on Benace sluice dunes. Meanwhile we admired several 6 Linnets including 1 posey male and 2 Stonechat plus a distant Whinchat on the bramble. back home, tweets about Black Terns flying around the groynes at the end of Links road had me down there and again I saw Andrew & Pail & Jane and there was initially one immature Black Tern on the groyne before an adult winter plumage Black Tern flew in and settled onto the post behind it.
Thursday, 20 August 2015
On Thursday 20th August at 10pm, I noticed an interesting insect on the back door. It is a Speckled Bush Cricket (?) Here is the pic of it for any entomologists to confirm or decry this identification. It was green with a thin brown line along the arch of the back and fine red speckling on it. It had a small rounded red area behind the head on the upper abdomen. It was about 2 inches long (body only). Please see accompanying pic. It moved around the door and finally dropped off at about 10.30pm. Earlier in the day at 8.30am, 4 charming Long- tailed Tits calling frequented the bushes just underneath the lounge window and just 1 double- glazed pane of glass separated me from these delightful birds. On Wednesday 19th August, no definitive sighting of the Purple Heron at Carlton Marshes seen, the Barn Owl as usual was hunting the far dykes and a Curlew flew north over the reserve.
Tuesday, 18 August 2015
I visited Blythburgh estuary on Saturday 15th August morning, I followed Pete M & friend out of the car park. They were viewing from the bridge, but it was a lot nicer to view further along the footpath where traffic noise was much diminished. 15 Curlew flew east. Pete M & his friend left. Within 10 minutes, between 10.40 & 10.50am, I saw the silhouette of a large raptor, the fine Osprey that hovered and then flew left and then right before disappearing behind trees it appeared to be heading towards the Hen reedbeds area. I also saw a small baby Common Vivaparous Lizard cross the path scuttling away just west of the path. At the Hen reed beds, I looked for the jetty all I saw was an open air hide overlooking a marsh area. retracing my steps I saw a Wood Mouse that sat nicely for a minute or so and another this time adult Vivaparous Lizard by the corrugated iron sheets. Early evening I visited Carlton marshes and after waiting a while overlooking Whitecast marsh, I was delighted at 6.40pm to see the immature Purple Heron flying high over fields nicely lit by the sun it flew back and into Whitecast marsh. Sadly too quick to get a picture though.
Thursday, 13 August 2015
A tweet from Jane F at 5.45pm on Thursday 13th August, stating the Purple Heron had just flown onto the Scrape by carlton Maeshes car park had me driving westwards but gridlock at Oulton Broad meant a diversion via Prospect road, inevitably by the time I got there at 6.05pm the bird had flown but jane did direct us to where it had landed behind a domed bush on Whitecast marshes. I joined Ali R and another birder and looking along the northern most path, I suddenly saw the excellent very brown looking immature Purple Heron as it flew over the reed bed flying right/ east low over the reeds it appeared to drop into reeds behind a large bush right in with the tapering towers of the Oulton Broad Maltings (in the background). Ali and I walked east along the path and we eventually saw the immature Purple Heron fly up from a dyke in Ivy Farm Marsh and fly north over to Whitecast Marsh where it landed in a bush. Five minutes later it flew towards us and past us and then it flew down into the domed bush where it originally had disappeared too after it flew up from the scrape.
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
A look over the Carlton Marshes Scrape initially revealed a fine Wood Sandpiper, 5 Ruff, a Dunlin and when joined by Ian he did well to spot a superb Little Stint next to the Dunlin that suddenly appeared from nowhere. Even better he found my lost Zeiss eyepiece nearby saving me a lot of trouble and expense in sending the bins back to the Zeiss factory- you don't expect things to fall off top of the range binoculars! No sign at all of the Purple Heron, although 5 Snipe flew south over the scrape. Also later 2 Barn Owls were hunting by the dykes. I walked back to the car park and scanning Whitecast marshes for 1/2 I saw a lady and gent peering intently onto the scrape with bins. The cycled back and the lady said the Purple Heron (& she was adamant it was definitely the Purple Heron & I believe her) had just flown back onto the Scrape 8.30pm. She said it was walking around in the water with 2 Grey Herons, I ran back and got there 5 minutes later at 8.50pm, I could only make out 2 definite Grey Herons, (I couldn't see any other Herons) I also saw 5 Egyptian Geese and ducks and waders in the gathering gloom but it was too dark to see anything else, this was extremely frustrating, when I had been there looking cover the Scrape until 8pm!
Sunday 9th August I met Danny on the north beach and we photographed several fishing terns not far off shore. An adult Common Tern fed an immature Common Tern perched on the end of the groyne. several 3 Cormorant and 5 Kittiwakes flew past too.
Getting a timely tweet from John H on Saturday 8th August I went up to Breydon and walking out from Asda car park, I quickly located the 2 Spoonbills asleep on the northern shore of Breydon. They woke up several times indicating they were immature birds with black wing tips and pinky bills. On the lumps were at least 15 Mediterranean Gulls (mostly adult) and c450 Avocet roosting an incredible total.
Thursday, 6 August 2015
Monday, 3 August 2015
A very pleasant walk on Sunday 2nd August around the gardens of the Vicarage Garden just shy of Happisburgh revealed a fine female Emperor Dragonfly regularly oviposting from what appeared to be the underside of the 4th segment up. She even oviposted on a leaf very close to the path where I was able to obtain several shots. Around 5 Migrant Hawkers were seen and 1 posed nicely for the camera although a Painted Lady butterfly appeared briefly on a bush before flying off.
Friday, 31 July 2015
On Friday 31st July At 8.07- 8.09am a Hummingbird Hawk Moth (16th visit to the garden) was feeding on the flowers of the Buddlea bush this morning. at 8.37am, a party of 10 Cormorants flew over heading due south. There were also a Peacock, Red Admiral and 5 Large Whites.
Thurs 30th July I had to look at the entrance to Gunton Wood, where 7 Broad- leaved Helleborine plants were flowering, none in the usual area but a further Broad- leaved Helleborine plant right of the path half way into the wood. I went back to the ones near the entrance and tried to get some pictures but it was sunny after a recent downpour and the midge were biting me.
Tuesday 21 July Newmarket after a work meeting I decided to walk down Devil's Dyke opposite the July race course. It was a long trek being around 2 1/2 miles. There were lots of Blue butterflies, particularly at the start of the walk, a lot of them were Chalkhill Blue butterflies, scrambling down the bank I managed to obtain some shots of one perched on a plant stem but the best shots were of one perched on the path, which even opened up its wings. Near the start I also saw 3 Pyramidal Orchids well past their best. I counted around 100 Lizard >Orchids again well past their best in the usual spot 3/4 of the way down past the break in the dyke. A little further along by the bank, just past the Lizard Orchids, I spotted up to 2 Marbled White butterflies flying in more grassy banks typically alighting on Thistle flowers. They were very flighty and didn't allow any kind of approach until I discovered if I kept my head down underneath the grass line I could crawl down to them and I eventually managed some reasonable shots.
Sunday 5th July Bee-eaters aplenty! Driving to Leiston an initially unsure of where to go I met Dave H by the Sewage work/ Water works and he said there were seen by the just off the road leading into Leiston. I parked at a building works and spent quite a bit of time trying to work out where to go until I bumped into some birders and went off up a track past some fields. There was a huddle of birders in the left hand field and looking to the far hedgerow on a bare bush, perched first 1 Bee- eater, the 2, then 3, then 4. Looking around up to 7 Bee- eaters were eventually were seen perched in a large tree to the left. Eventually all 10 Bee- eaters were up in the air flying around and they gradually flew south. An incredible sight especially for the UK! Driving back to the Sewage work, all the spaces were taken so I had to park 100 yards further back and walk down th road to a large field on the right where several birders gathered and all 10 Bee- Eaters were seen perched on wires in the company of Starlings. 6th July Male Lesser Emperor Dragonfly seen 6X in flight 1.50 - 2.30pm viewed from viewing platform overlooking Ormesby Little Broad, great to see
Tuesday 21 July Newmarket Saturday 18 July Garden 2day Hummingbird HawkMoth 9.33am (15th visit!), Painted Lady, 2 Small Skipper, 2 Bullfinch (h), 2 Brown Hawkers, Comma, Peacock, 4 LS Whites, MBrown & Blue-tailed Damselfly male. the Peregrines. Wednesday 8th July 6.35-6.45pm Hummingbird Hawk Moth seen again feeding on three Valerian in the back garden. Monday 6th July Male Lesser Emperor Dragonfly seen 6X in flight 1.50 - 2.30pm viewed from viewing platform overlooking Ormesby Little Broad, great to see Sunday 5th July Bee-eaters aplenty! On Saturday 4th July at 10.57am and 11.37am the Hummingbird Hawk Moth was back again on the Red Valerian. Jul 2 Also Silver Y Moth last night (1st of year) and this eve & 3 Southern Marsh Orchids flowering naturally in back garden Jul 2 Hummingbird Hawk Moth record 10th visit to Red Valerian in back garden 8.10-8.18pm Jul 1 4 White Chlorantha Bee Orchids 'beyond the fence' Corton NSW + 100's Bee Orchids going to seed, good to see grass hasn't been cut (so far) Jun 25 Record no of sightings of Hummingbird Hawk Moth this summer, again in the garden 7.40am on Red Valerian again this morning briefly Jun 24 Southern Marsh Orchids in flower, an early Marsh Helleborine, 3 Southern Marsh Orchids floweri in garden too, icing on Orchid cake this eve! On the evening of June 24,
Monday, 6 July 2015
Tuesday 21 July Newmarket Saturday 18 July Garden 2day Hummingbird HawkMoth 9.33am (15th visit!), Painted Lady, 2 Small Skipper, 2 Bullfinch (h), 2 Brown Hawkers, Comma, Peacock, 4 LS Whites, MBrown & Blue-tailed Damselfly male. the Peregrines. Wednesday 8th July 6.35-6.45pm Hummingbird Hawk Moth seen again feeding on three Valerian in the back garden. Monday 6th July Male Lesser Emperor Dragonfly seen 6X in flight 1.50 - 2.30pm viewed from viewing platform overlooking Ormesby Little Broad, great to see Sunday 5th July Bee-eaters aplenty! On Saturday 4th July at 10.57am and 11.37am the Hummingbird Hawk Moth was back again on the Red Valerian. Jul 2 Also Silver Y Moth last night (1st of year) and this eve & 3 Southern Marsh Orchids flowering naturally in back garden Jul 2 Hummingbird Hawk Moth record 10th visit to Red Valerian in back garden 8.10-8.18pm Jul 1 4 White Chlorantha Bee Orchids 'beyond the fence' Corton NSW + 100's Bee Orchids going to seed, good to see grass hasn't been cut (so far) Jun 25 Record no of sightings of Hummingbird Hawk Moth this summer, again in the garden 7.40am on Red Valerian again this morning briefly Jun 24 Southern Marsh Orchids in flower, an early Marsh Helleborine, 3 Southern Marsh Orchids floweri in garden too, icing on Orchid cake this eve! On the evening of June 24, 3 marked Fen Orchids at local fen this eve, rounded off nicely with Hummingbird Hawk Moth on Red Valerian again in garden 8.08- 8.12pm
Friday, 19 June 2015
On Saturday 13th June at 7.25am and 2.20pm I briefly saw a wonderful Hummingbird Hawl Moth in feeding flight feeding off the Red Valerian plants which can be seen just outside our kitchen windoww, rgrtably the visits were short 2 mins and 1 min respectively, retrieving the camera first time without batteries as the Lithium batteries have to be carried in the hold when travelling by plane these days and I was still dazed from travelling back from Sicily the previous day. On Tuesday 16th June my first Hummingbird Hawk Moth at work seen back of Hospital by Sandra Chapman Centre seen from Library feeding on Red Valerian 10.37- 10.41 in the morning. Thursday 18th June a Hummingbird Hawk Moth again feeding on Red Valerian in our back garden for all of 1 minute 7.25pm this evening also this evening, the Tawny Owls from Parkhill Hotel grounds very vocal tonight hooting and "kewick" calling constantly from 10pm onwards Friday 19th June after just arriving home from work at 5.25- 5.28pm and 5.30pm briefly a Hummingbird Hawk Moth was feeding again on the Red Valerian plants, a great welcome back home! Saturday 20th June, Hummingbird Hawk Moth again on Red Valerian in back garden 3.10- 3.11pm today and also 3.50-3.58 feeding on the Red Valerian in the front garden. One was again seen briefly at 5.59pm feeding on the Red Valerian plants in the back garden, and again 8,30 to 8.44pm again feeding on the Valerian plants in the back garden. On Saturday 27th June one was seen very briefly at 3pm and then it was back 8.04-8.10pm showing well. 9 visits in the garden to date!
A trip to Day 1: At the airport, several, 5 Italian Sparrows seen under the eaves of the airport building. On the Coach trip transfer from Catania airport just outside Catania industrial works on the edge of town was a big marshy area on one of the pylons was a massive nest complete with 2 White Storks standing atop. At the Eureka Palace hotel from walking from the coach to an ornate rectangular marbled pool of water, a Red- veined Darter perched on the marble surface. A coach stop at a service station revealed 2 Painted Ladies posing well on some ornate bushes. Walking out later outside the entrance gates was a portico, perched on the sunny leafy area was a male Italian Wall Lizard. Walking around the grounds a Marbled White seen briefly on a bush plus a Painted Lady butterfly. In the evening overlooking a horse race track we saw many c30 Spotless Starling fly into the stands roof plus several Swallows and a Red- rumped Swallow fly past too. Several, 8 Serins seen and especially heard around the pines of the hotel perimeter fence and 1 or 2 singing from bushes in the large car park beyond. Day 2: Before breakfast, a Fox seen on the racetrack. At Syracuse ancient Greco site by the theatre, a lighting rig revealed a male Italian Sparrow. In the historic baroque town of Noto, many screaming Swifts flew overhead. In the evening at the Hotel, the Italian Wall Lizard was seen again plus 2 other seen too. After dark 4 Moorish Geckos were seen by the entrance gate on the walls and the lighted tops, one posed briefly for the camera before scuttling off. A White Wagtail seen on the roof of the hotel Day 3: before breakfast, 2 Fox seen on the racetrack. A visit to the former fishing village of Marzamemi, on the outskirts, a marsh revealed 8 Black- winged Stilts, a fishing Common Tern and flying in over the harbour was a fine Caspian Tern that with big red bill flew right overhead and inland. Finally in the harbour a fine Auduouin's Gull flew around and dived and retrieved discarded fish from fishermen throwing away discarded fish scraps from their morning's catch. The "barn" in the village was a scene filmed for the "Inspector Montalbano" series.
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
On Sunday 31st May, walking down to the flashes from the water tower at Southwold, I saw Paul & Jane F, always a good sign if you want to see the bird and where we were joined by Dave H, we soon saw the Red- backed Shrike, a striking male in full spring plumage seen distantly from a bush.
Seeing Pete M, advising me to go to North Hide I saw a distant Red- necked Phalarope, a male, on the far side of the East scrape Bittern hide, packed saw a Bittern at the left side of the marsh but in a packed hide I couldn't get anywhere near it photographically.
Fri 23rd May Walking down to Tinkers Marsh triangular pool about a 3/4 mile walk, first people I saw said don't worry it's still there last people, its just flown off! Unbelievable. On the Marsh pool around 12 Dunlin and 3 Curlew Sandpipers, seen my fist for 4 years.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
On Wednesday 13th May, 2 Stock Dove flew past the garden NE at 7.35pm also I saw the Orchids in the orchid meadow. On Friday 15th May returning home after work, 12 House Martins were flying over the Pastures, we are still awaiting the long overdue return of our resident nesting birds. In the local Orchid meadow, 105 Green winged Orchids seen plus 2 Common Twayblades. On Saturday a Cuckoo was calling west from the garden from the direction of Parkhill Hotel Grounds., 4.30-4.55pm and at 5.55pm Also I noticed not 2 but 3 plants of Southern Marsh Orchids in the middle flower bed of the garden. On Sunday 17th May, a visit to to Oulton Marshes I finally saw Garganey at Oulton Marshes, a male Garganey bird sat and was initially awake and then went to sleep on the island in front of the platform. At least 2 Cuckoos heard, 1 heard from Platform marsh and 1 Cuckoo was seen briefly flying low over the fields by the north river too.
Sunday, 10 May 2015
Early morning on Sunday 10th May, the message from BINS of a Citril Finch in Norfolk on Burnham Overy Dunes just west of Holkham woods had me on the phone and I was grateful to be offered a lift with Paul & Jane F. Around half an hour later, I was picked up together with Andrew E and an hour and a half later we were parked up in a crowded lady Anne's Drive. The long mile and a half walk taking the path bordering the Pines on the inland side saw us eventually reach the hilly slacks just west of the Pines. At around 1.10pm, we had met Justin L on the walk down who had seen the bird and Tony S, Keith D, Paul N at the slacks where they too had seen the bird indeed it had just flown back into the direction of the Pines. We also saw Rob Hol who assured us, that like Arnold Sch- it would be back! (and how right he was) While we were waiting we saw a Green Hairstreak on the gorse well picked out by Paul. Over the Pines to our right, a superb Hobby was seen hanging over the wood, with dark upper parts and scythe like wings. Within an hour at 2pm, a greenish bird with a strange call flew from the Pines and then round and west and out of sight, ws that the bird? A little later, a movement of birders to the top of a ridge were the first indication of a possible "pinning" down of the bird and when I walked across it certainly looked as if it had been seen. We were looking down into a scrubby area with a single spindly small tree just right of there and in front of it, a whole series of fallen pine cones on the ground. Just left of the tree, feeding by the cones was the absolutely stunning male Citril Finch. A really beautiful bright bird with green plumage offset by a bluey- grey nape shawl extending onto the shoulders but with green on the front face. There were a few streaks on the mantle a thick green wing bar and black on the wing tips. A really stunning bird that spent its entire time feeding on seeds by the pines and then it moved to the base of the spindly tree and then gradually it hopped around the sandy bank before finally after watching the bird for a glorious 40 minutes, it flew into the bushes. It then flew over us and seawards before appearing to perch in a tree. I then lost it before 20 minutes alter after the arrival of Rob Wil, we saw the bird fly around into a semi circle overhead before appearing to fly down into the first slack by the Pines. I have attached 2 record shots the bird was really too far away and the pictures taken into the light and heat haze there are also heavily cropped and adjusted so record shots only! Only the second record for the UK, and first definite mainland record following the first in 2008 on Fair Isle, a previous historic record of a bird shot at Great Yarmouth having removed from the records. In Norwich over the Fat Cat pub and the obligatory celebratory half pint, cheers Paul, Jane & Andrew, we saw around 3 Swifts overhead (that was before we had consumed our drinks!) Finally at around 7.30pm I decided to have a quick look at the Corton Old Sewage works, not taking my camera; which was a mistake, as first a male Whinchat perched on the barbed wire in the north east corner north side, with the bird being quite confiding and allowing a reasonably close approach. Just behind it on the eastern wire fence a male Wheatear perched too. Satisfied and with the light fading I left the birds still there.
Monday 4th May, at Oulton Marshes no sign of the male Garganey, but an obliging Sedge Warbler in the reeds and 3 Common Sandpipers flying west down the river probably spooked by 3 canoeists powering down the river behind the fleeing waders. On Saturday 9 May, a Kestrel seen hovering just north west of the garden and Close, observed from lounge window at 7pm.
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Tuesday 5th May, little seen in Sparrow's Nest, 2 singing Blackcaps revealed 1 male bird singing from high up in one of the tall trees bordering the steps by the lighthouse. On the North Denes, a lone male Wheatear perched on the mid path.
Monday, 4 May 2015
In the garden today at around 2pm a Holly Blue flew along the right hand hedgerow of the garden and a fine male Orange Tip butterfly flew diagonally across the garden south west to north east at 2.25pm but sadly it didn't settle. A look around the net posts in the early evening revealed very little save for a flying calling Pied wagtail and I heard familiar screaming ahead and I looked up and 3 Swifts, my first of the year, were flying over the Nest/ Arnold's Walk area. Nothing on the Oval, save for 60 odd Wood Pigeon and Magpies. The dismantled wall in the north east section and a section of wall now fallen down on the south east section would inevitably flush the birds if anybody walked by. Along the diagonal path dissecting the middle of the North Denes, 4 Wheatear were seen including 3 males and a female. I often find Wheatears can be quite confiding especially if the=y perch on a wall & by judicious stalking (crawling on one's knees and using tall weeds as cover), I managed to get close to one of the males on the path and even closer to 2 perched on the stone water tap wall and got within 20 feet of one there to take a few pictures before I left him there in the fading light.
Sunday, 3 May 2015
On Sunday 4th May, a really enjoyable evening, the yellow flowers of the gorse were in full flower and the heady aroma pervaded the Common, another wonderful sound heard regularly was the wonderful "purring" call of Turtle Doves, with Turtle Dove heard seen on a distant electricity pylon, 2 birds flew 1 flew to far trees one flew back to the cage by the pylon, and its started its evocative purring call again. As I watched the bird, the sides of its throat bulged and puffed out like a bulbous ball. Further along, I heard 3 Whitethroats and another close purring Turtle Dove but I couldn't see it and I didn't want to disturb said bird. Meanwhile, a distant but showy Garden Warbler was seen in the top of a tree. The evening sunlight picked out the yellow flowers on the gorse to great effect. At Lound very little was initially seen. As I drove away however, along the the top of inland lane opposite a field, I saw a Hobby fly low and right low over a field, with dark scythe like wings, clearly seen. Driving past, the usual Little Owl tree the Little Owl sat right out on an exposed branch but alas, the light was going and there was not enough for any photography using the car as a hide.
My bank holiday birding has been severely affected because the suspension went on the car when negotiating the sleeping policeman hump and a loud bang underneath me meant I was restricted to local Lowestoft birding, no real hardship. On Saturday 2nd May, it was really sunny weather when I walked down Fisher Row, 2 Chiff- Chaffs seen singing and Willow warbler heard. Down the side path, a Sedge Warbler showed well. Barn Owl flying over the marsh. Walking back 3 Whitethroats seen and heard.
Sat 25 April no sign of Garganey at Oulton Marshes but a couple of male Blackcaps heard and saw a Lesser Whitethroat heard and seen by the middle bush by the fence bu the path of the sloping field, Gadwall on the marsh plus 5 Teal & 2 Egyptian Geese, Reed Warbler heard here too behind platform on river overflow pool Carlton Marshes much better with pair of Mandarin seen walking distantly on grass far right end. Redshank and several Lapwing seen walking back sev male Reed Buntings. A Short-eared Owl flying by the path and bushes and then seen south and then fling westwest of here. Meanwhile, a Cuckoo flew past calling and it or another flew atop a telegraph pole before flying off west. Several Sedge Warblers & Grasshopper Warblers heard too.
Sunday, 26 April 2015
Sat 18 April walking up to Kessingland Sluice, as usual I saw Paul & Jane F returning, the good news was the Ouzel was still there and Chris D was there too. I walked up to Chris D along the Benacre side of the sluice just by the bend in the road looking down into the grassy area just in front of the scrub area, it was her that a male Ring Ouzel showed really well until frustratingly a dog arrived and spooked it to fly over to the Kessingland side by the scrub on the western edge. This repeated a pattern over the next hour when the Ouzel would either fly back or by seen by the far road area only to be spooked by further dogs/ walkers always its default bolt hole the bushes just west and north of the sluice. Why does this always seem to happen these days just as you are focusing on the bird ready to get some great shots and in any case the dog should have been on a lead during the nesting seson on a nature reserve. I walked of in disgust and when I saw Chris move purposely along the road I knew he had something interesting, as I joined him I saw a close Cuckoo sitting in abash which sadly almost instantly flew off eastwards. 3 Wheatear male & 2 females seen in total on the stony area by the Pit. Swallows were also seen, 2 in number, 1 on wires and 1 overhead also 4 Sand Martin flying overhead behind/ west of the Pit. A male Wheatear & female Wheatear seen by the grassy area just north of the sluice. A hybrid hoodie seen on the north side of sluice flew onto a bush and showed well.
Thursday, 23 April 2015
On Thursday 16th April early evening, walking around Spratt's Water, Carlton Marshes it was immediately apparent that the fires set off by the cowardly and despicable vandal arsonists had completely devasted the reedbed with only the reeds bordering the dykes and a section of the reed bed over the far southern end were still intact. This will, in the short and medium term, have a devastating impact on the wildlife that chooses this area as home, specifically migrant Reed & Sedge Warblers, the threatened Water Vole and a whole host of invertebrates as well as Southern Marsh Orchids that usually gloriously line the paths in June/ July. I was relieved to see the Orchid section over the far end was largely untouched. The thick smell of acrid burnt reed, still permeated the air and there was a depressingly large area of black burnt reed seemingly devoid of all wildlife stretching as far as the eye could see. Despite that and defiantly, I was encouraged by hearing the songs of returning migrants, Willow Warbler, Chiff-Chaff, Whitethroat (my first of the year) and resident Reed Bunting that punctuated the air from surrounding areas and a Swallow defiantly flew over the burnt area. Lets hope the perpetuaters are caught and justice is carried out.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Tuesday 14th April this evening was really sunny travelling back from work, I saw a Buzzard fly up from some trees by the farm building just west of the A12 by the Hopton roundabout. I had also seen a male Sparrowhawk fly west over the solar farm at the back of the JPUH Hospital at 8.55am this morning. Immediately after work, I was keen to twitch the Wryneck which had been seen in the donkey paddock (which had been seen by all who'd been down, would my unlucky streak end this evening??), so I went straight there. It was a hard slog down the long road to Benacre Beach farm and sadly there was no sign of the Wryneck, so my Spring dipping sequence continues. The only birds in the paddock were Pied Wagtail, male Chaffinch & Robin. However, I decided to check the Pit to see if the Wryneck was there and hopefully also bump into Rouzels or Wheatear. On the stoney ground just north of the Pit a fine male Wheatear perched on the bank by the path face on, and its creamy white belly really stood out like a pale beacon in the evening sunshine. As I was walking up to it, the Wheatear stayed quite content to stay there, until the camera came out and inevitably it then flew over the path.I also saw a female White Wagtail just in front of that it showed quite well in front of me. It walked across from right to left feeding and was a hive of activity. Abuptly, as I turned around to walk back and facing west, I saw a small falcon, dashing low over the ground, like a mini Peregrine with grey back short grey tail with black basal tip, Mistle Thrush sized, with a dumpy belly and pointed grey wings appearing darker at the tip, I watched for around 30 seconds it was a fine male Merlin, it flew right around the Common and then eventually disappeared behind some bushes behind the Pits. Only my third Merlin ever seen in Suffolk (the others were one seen flying in off the sea at Lowestoft harbour and one dashing over the reed bed just west of the west hide at Minsmere), but I have seen many Merlins on Scilly and several in Norfolk too.