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Saturday, 31 January 2015

More Bullfinch visits

Having to wait in this am Saturday 31st January, for the electrician (who arrived duly on time), I saw 3 Bullfinches in the garden (2 males and a female) at 9.53 and then at 10.57 the 2 males again visited the Cherry tree in the garden feeding on the buds at the front. A search of Fallowfields, I heard Bullfinches again but no sightings of a hoped for Woodcock. From Morton Peto Way retail park I looked across at the west end of the grain silo and the Peregrine was again perched on the top of the extractor fan hood near the top of the building.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Bewick's Swans at Blythburgh

On Thursday 28th January, on a day off work on a trip down to Colchester. I stopped at the lay-by just south of Blythburgh and viewable through the hedge, I was delighted to see the 19 Bewick's Swans, albeit they were quite distant over the far north east end of the field, feeding in a line. Having seen Trumpeter Swans late last year, now I just need Black Swan (or a Black- necked!) for 5 Swan species this winter 2014/15. OK, I know only 3 of the species are tickable!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Quintet of Bullfinches in the garden

This morning, Tuesday 27th January, I noted that there were 5 excellent Bullfinches all feeding off buds in the Cherry tree at the back of the garden (backing onto fallow fields rough ground.) They spend time mainly at the back of the tree and were noted from 8.50- 8.55am.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

1 Turtle Dove, 14 Twite, 2 Med Gulls and a Tawny Owl in an Ivy clad tree

To totally misquote the "on the first day of Christmas" Christmas Carol I had a really good day today with first port of call the Turtle Dove along the N end of the bushes bordering hub bard's Loke, viewable from Dip Farm playing field standing by the southern most goal. The excellent Turtle Dove was perched in a short spindly tree just by some ivy clad trees. It stayed here for some 40 minutes before it flew back and south into gardens and out of sight. Next stop was Corton wood, we met James B who had heard Firecrest in the northern section, we didn't hear or see anything on this visit though. Next port of call was Breydon water, no sign of the Twite when I got there but joined by Paul & Jane F, the Ferguson luck rubbed off on me and we saw 8/9 small birds fly east past the bridge either Twite or Linnet. It was very disappointing to see that the area just west of Asda (not owned by Asda- so we can't blame Asda/Walmart) the site been completely tarmacked over and heavy machinery lies on what was a very vibrant Bee Orchid colony with over 300 plant strong (always a highlight in June and I visited the site every year to look at the plants, now sadly wiped out by the total ignorance and greed of the landowners, disgraceful. When joined by Keith D and Ginge, just west of the bridge we saw 14 excellent Twite, my first for over a year, fly into a dyke dip along the salt marsh and then jane spotted them first as they flew up and we watched them as they flew all the way over the estuary and onto the South wall/ Suffolk side, hurrah! Next stop, back at Links road and initial check of the Gulls failed to find any Meds, Paul & Jane arrived and we went into Warrenhouse wood by the south east path and up the concrete steps, just 30 feet in, looking out over the clearing to the west (before the Holm oak trees), the superb Tawny Owl was sitting right out in the open, in an ivy clad tree. It fell asleep but woke up when there was anybody going free and you would see the head effortlessly swivel round to look back at the cause of the disturbance. We were joined by Jon E just as some people got too close it hopped close into the canopy and wasn't fully out in the open. Back at Links road and joined by Andrew, I spotted first one adult Mediterranean Gull (with a silver ring) first seen around Andrew's car when he threw bread out and the Hungarian red-ringed bird adult Mediterranean Gull, a second bird, with the white letter/ numbers H1N1 on it!) was spotted by Andrew, It frequented the puddle area by the eastern end (no pun intended!), but didn't stay long enough to get its picture taken by me, sadly!

Scaup at Beccles Quay

On Saturday 24th January, Jenny & I travelled to Beccles Quay parking at the car park at the end of Fen Lane. I walked along the "canal" to the Quay where 4 birders were present. The 2 Scaup were on the far side of the river. More distant than I was expecting, both appeared to be female birds, one bird with a thick white band near the bill and the other bird an immature bird. But after feeding for sometime, they eventually swam much closer and promptly went to sleep, their head tugged under the wing. Eventually first one then the other bird woke up swam back a little way then a boat forced them to swim very quickly south along the river where they hung around the boats before another boat heading directly foxed the birds to fly up high in a complete circle then they landed on the far northern section of the river. A Kingfisher was also heard but not seen.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Peregrine at the Silo

I was really pleased to spot a Peregrine perched on the air duct near the top of the western face of the grain silo on Thursday 22nd Jan mid afternoon, a female Sparrowhawk also flew through the garden late afternoon too.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Halvergate Rough Leg

On Sunday 18th January, at 11.08am I was delighted to see a fine male Bullfinch feeding on the buds of our Cherry tree as this species always does every January, we've had a longer wait in seeing them this year! Arriving along Halvergate road at 11.50am, I was relieved to see sunny conditions, it was quite foggy at Lowestoft & Great Yarmouth. I was imagining having to tweet "Defeated again by weather conditions dipped RLB 2nd by 1st snow blizzard and now fog!" But along the road on the right, Roy R was scoping over the marsh. He had the fine Rough- legged Buzzard perched on the left side of a gate. It was long bodied but virtually a silhouette save for a cream nape shawl at the back. As it preened I noticed a whiter area on the upper breast and being darker on the mid breast. Being joined by Tony B & Neville L, we noted the bird had a white tail and dark terminal band when it flew off and disappeared into a dip. I later saw it perched in a field just left a bush (with a Kestrel perched on top) and along the right hand end of a line of 200 Pink- footed Geese. It then flew a long way right, stopping a few times to hover in mid flight, a super sight. Further down the road it flew closer and started hovering albeit against the light. Along the Acle straight, 30 Lapwings and 3 Curlew seen from a lay-by.

Carlton Marshes Glaucous Gulls

On Saturday 17th January, a tweet from Robert Wil, led me to divert to Carlton Marshes I went to the Mound and overlooking an unusually flooded Peto's Marsh, Rob was still there and kindly showed me one of the Glaucous Gull's the darker bird at the very back of the field partially obscured by the GBB Gull. Scanning along at the back just in front of a Leylandii tree at the back, by a group of Gulls the nearest ones I saw the fine other, second 1st winter Glaucous Gull, with distinctive long pink and black bill. It moved around and then eventually disappeared behind other Gulls. Just right of there a leucistic, very white looking Herring Gull was seen in front of another pool of water.

Blizzards puts paid to Norfolk birding

On Saturday 17th January, my plan was to target Tundra Bean, Cranes & wild swans, Cranes and wild Swans again and RLB in East Norfolk. Driving just past Hemsby, the field where the Geese had been seen all week was deserted. At Horsey a flock of around 800 Pink- footed Geese were flushed by shooters and I had only been able to check half their number. Best bird of the morning was a fine Water Rail that scampered across the road from east to west by Horsey Mill. By now it was snowing heavily and the now was starting to lay making the road very treacherous so I just managed to get to Brograve Farm to check for Cranes, none there. I then drove to Acle, no sign of Cranes by the usual barn. I then drove to the Halvergate road, as I parked up a Snow blizzard started and viewing conditions and visibility were dramatically reduced causing me to miss both the RLB and the Bewick's.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Breydon & Covehithe

I walked along the Breydon South wall 12th January, I had just missed rare showing by the Richard's Pipit by the kink in the wall around 3/4 mile south of the farm. Richard & Ian, the Dereham boys were there so it was worth hanging around as they rarely miss things. Richard spotted a lone Stonechat by the field edge. After 2 and a half hours it looked as if I would continue my new year dipping tally, but mercifully a shout went up and we walked down another 1/2 mile to where there was a lone bush and after some difficulty getting onto it I finally spied the excellent Richard's Pipit walking around tussocks of grass and dead thistles at the back of the near field in front of a thin line of reeds. Also present was a lone Barn Owl hunting over the distant Burgh Castle marshes. From there I went onto Covehithe late afternoon and met Dave & Pauline, former work colleagues and we looked over the back fields of Covehithe looking for Bramblings we didn't see any in half an hour. Walking down to Covehithe Broad, I met Tony B he said the Smew was still there along the northern end of the Broad. sadly some dog walkers let a dog swim in the Broad and all I could see were 30 Mallards. The dogs had also flushed the Larks. 8 Goldeneye were seen in total including 3 smart males. I finally saw the redhead Smew in the distant south- west corner of the Broad.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Good start turns sour

On Sunday 4th January I ventured down to Covehithe Broad and there was no need to look for the Shore Larks as there was already a battalion of the long lens brigade in attendance. I joined them and was pleasantly surprised that they all behaved themselves really well not hassling the birds or moving into close. The 3 fine Shore Larks were therefore constantly on view and very relaxed as they fed along the southern hotline of the broad, they flew a little way along the mid section of the beach side of the Broad and even went to sleep/ resting for half an hour. We wet all able to obtain reasonable shots what a difference good field craft makes. 3 trilling Snow Buntings flew round us briefly on the beach. A trip then to North Warren missing out Benacre Broad, which was a bad error as I didn't get to the see the Smew there and I dipped the LWF Geese again (I later learned they were in Holland on that day) and as usual dipped the near mythical Tundra Beans that I have never ever seen there. I counted 98 Black- tailed Godwit and around 122 White- fronted Geese and a further 40 White- fronted geese flew in. What was good to see was first one and then 2 Water Rails in the watery dyke bordering the west side of the path/ old rail way line. The second Water Rail was partially obscured you could see the ripples in the water where it was and as it moved first its bill, head, body and striped flanks were seen well on what is usually a very elusive bird to see.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Oulton Broad Glaucous Gull roost star attraction failed to put in an appearance

The poor start to 2015 continued as there was no sign of the Glaucous Gull, but I saw 2 LT Tits in trees as I walked to the Yacht club area of St Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad. A Kingfisher flew over by the reeds and flew around before flying off again. A female Marsh Harrier and male Sparrowhawk seen courtesy of Jeremy G our ace raptor spotter. 20 Redshank flew east down the river.

2015 New Year's Day more Dipping than Birding

Started at North Warren where I failed to see either the LWF Geese or the Tundra Beans. Lowestoft was little better initially where despite checking all 4 side of the Grain silo I failed to see any Peregrines. I went to Ness Point seeing it was low tide, I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 Purple Sandpipers on the shelf by the northern section of Ness Point. In the town at the back of Palmer's I saw and heard a calling Grey Wagtail fly over the rooftop and road, continuing my run of records for this species on my trips to the town. At Oulton Broad, no sign of the Glauc, but managed to see the Common Sandpiper wandering around the muddy southern section of the basin. A tweet from James B stating that the Glauc had flown in but not saying where, I went down to the Harbour didn't see it because I later found it was t OB!