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.
Sunday, 12 April 2015
Drving to the usual area by Wrentham Church this morning Sunday 12th April, I was delighted to see the escaped Black Kite flying around and often it was flying up and perching in a favoured tall tree. This action was repeated several times, often carrying large sticks. As it flew around it gave close views and was an ideal photographic subject at such close range my 100-400mm Canon L lens was an ideal choice at this range. The resultant pictures are posted here on this post and on the headers for this blog. The main concern was getting pictures at the right angle to show off the subtle plumage colouration and stop such a dark bird becoming a silhouette. Once it flew in to the tree and settled immediately to the right, and a fraction of a second later another Kite, with red rufous coloration and long red tail flew right and past the Black Kite, it had a missing primary and was, of course, a fine Red Kite. The Black Kite flew round several times sometimes barely 10 feet above my head. Later Chris D arrived and we both watched the bird flying around a field and once it perched in another tall tree. Meanwhile a Chiff-Chaff flew into a hedge and started singing right above our heads, always nice to see (and hear!) this early spring migrant. A second additional Chiff-Chaff was seen and heard calling just up the lane. As I drove back along the A12 at 11.35am, I saw another fine elegant Red Kite gliding and flying south with swept back wings and forked tail it was seen gliding flying south over first the levels and then gliding A12, always impressive birds to see. I managed to stop and have a quick look, typically elegant shape, with swept back wings and reddish swivelled forked tail. Next stop was Kessingland Sewage works, where I bumped into Paul & Jane F, I could hear and see a Willow Warbler calling. A Chiff-Chaff was calling here too. Plus slightly further along, a singing male Blackcap, revealed itself as it sang atop a bare branched stick tree. In the reeds behind I could hear a Sedge Warber singing. Willow, Sedge Warblers and Blackcap were all new for the year for me. A walk around Corton old sewage works revealed few migrants save for 10 Sand Martins flying around the cliffs by radar lodge.
Friday, 10 April 2015
Over the last few weeks since 29th March I have heard the calling Chiff- Chaff over at Fallowfields everyday since. I had missed the RN Duck X 2 (not counting the abortive trip to Hardley Flood) having finally located the Pits at Hardley Staithe they weren't seen. Ducks were seen included 8 Pochard & c20 Tufted Ducks with a male Reed Bunting and 2 Barn Owls seen on 2 visits. A trip to Cochester on Monday 30th March to pick up my newly repaired lens, I stopped off at Covehithe Church and finally saw the escaped Black Kite flying around in a copse east of the Church. later I went back and it flew right over my head by the Church. Investigating a lane nearby, I had superb views as it flew over my head barely 10 feet above me. Along this lane, I saw it perched on a telegraph post and in a tree. It was good to see Ali R. One particular field was a favourite and it spent a lot of time flying around here. It did have a ring on one of its legs. On Saturday 4th April, following tweet from James B, I saw an Avocet on the Scrape, my first for Lowestoft. Still later, Monday 6th April, I visited Minsmere in the hope of catching up with the Tundra Beans, no such luck and I missed the Jack Snipes at North Hide even the Ferguson lucky charm failed to reveal either the Tundra Beans or Stone Curlew nearby, however a slight upturn in fortunes late afternoon did reveal a Swallow flying over the Island Mere and it was later joined by 2 Sand Martins. A Bittern walked out from the reeds briefly over the further patch of reeds along the near marsh on the right. Wednesday 8th April evening the sunshine turned to thick Fog/ smog so I changed my visit from Carlton Marshes to Leathes Ham and was rewarded in seeing 4 pairs of Pintail and 3 pairs of Wigeon but no sign of any spring migrants.