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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Ness Point on yet another windy day

On Wednesday 30th December on yet another very windy day, 3 Purple Sandpipers were seen feeding on the ledge by the compass.

Memories of Lemmy from Motorhead at West Runton Pavilion & UEA LCR

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.

Lake Lothing birds

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

Med Gull at Gorleston

On Boxing day, 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull seen with a fellow ring and black lettering on Gorleston Cliff by the car park, this afternoon, the first 2 numbers were "23" I couldn't read the rest.

Christmas Day birding

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

Covehithe & Minsmere to pick up SBR 2014

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

Cattle Egret at Sea Palling

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.

Siskin over the Paget

On Friday 18th December early morning, 12 Siskin flew east over the Education & Training centre at the Paget with a Redwing also flying over too.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Covehithe Crackers

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

GND again and Cattle Egret

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!

Great Northern

On Thursday 10th December, a look around Lake Lothing finally revealed the fine Great Northern Diver swim out of the islet to the south of the manin river, it spent time swimming and fishing around the orange buoy.

Another windy weekend

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.