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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Golden Plover over

As I was travelling to work on Wednesday 28th December travelling north along the A12, just after the Hopton roundabout, I spied a group of around 20 Golden Plover flying west over the road and heading towards Lound area.

Beardies and SEO's

On Tuesday 27th December, a walk around Carlton Marshes revealed very little. However walk around Oulton Marshes were a lot more productive. especially when I walked along the reedy area behind the viewing platform near the river. I could hear "tpinging" Bearded Tits and eventually a family party of around 8 birds eventually gave very confiding views down to around 10 feet in the reeds bordering the path. By taking a careful approach, they were obvious to my presence as they feasted ravenously on the reed seeds. Around 120 Wigeon, Heron seen also Plus I heard a Water rail. By the long field just west of the railway line, first one the 2 Short- eared Owls were hunting here. Then suddenly a third bird without warning flew down the dyke towards me and then headed south and out of sight, but was too quick for any shots at all, which was a great shame as they could have been stunning. The remaining 2 Short- eared Owls hunted the field occasionally swooping down on prey on the ground where they would sit for anything between 30 seconds and up to 4 minutes.

Bean Geese at Bradwell

On Monday 26 December, Boxing Day, on the drive back home between Dewberry and Reading just west of the M4, a Red Kite was seen. having stopped at a lyby and checked my phone just after Ipswich, news of Bean geese being seen by Burton's Farm, Bradwell on the A143 just west of Bradwell, I diverted my journey back home via Beccles and Bradwell. As I drove along the A143 I could seen around 60 Pink- footed Geese in flight. Parking up along the A143 on the opposite side of the road to the field alongside Ricky's car. I looked across and confirmed they were Pink- foots, Ricky didn't have any Beans in sight, but as I was setting up, he had expertly picked out one recently landed bird along the left hand end of the flock. We also spotted another 5 further into the flock and directly in front of the blue road sign and a further 8 Bean geese directly in front of goal in the field. So 14 Rossicus Tundra Bean Geese seen in total, my first in 7 years. Plus a smaller bird (just in from the left hand end of the flock) with orange legs back on eventually proved to be a White- fronted Goose when it turned around sporting black scalloping on the belly and the white facial shield. More Geese were joining and we estimated around 340 Pink- footed Geese.

Cymisfael Stream walks over Christmas

On my first walk along Cymisfael stream this Christmas, I saw a Buzzard fly from the hedge in the field past the stream on the right. Between the bridges by the open fields, 2 squabbling Nuthatches flew to a bush on the east side of the road and showed briefly well before flying off again. Walking back along the stream, 2 Mistle Thrush flew up high into the tree rattling as they went. Whilst a Song Thrush sang from another tree nearby. by the Penybank farm bridge, a Dipper was seen on a horizontal branch to perched for 2 minutes before flying a little way down the stream, I even heard it singing at one stage, only the second time I have heard a Dipper in song (first time was at the Harlequin Duck near Aberdeen in 2015) Walking back again to the bridges, in the alder trees around 5 Siskin were seen wedding on the alders needs all males. There was also a fine male Bullfinch briefly in the bush by the side of the road before it inevitably flew. There were also 5 Redwing perched high up in a tree further along. Second visit on Christmas Day afternoon, there were a lot more Redwing, 30 seen by the stream and another 35 seen by the trees any the bridges. Looking south by the quarry area, a Red Kite was seen wheeling around. A female Grey wagtail was by the mature heap area, plus 2 Goldcrests seen here too. By the stream a Coal Tit seen in overhanging foliage overhead. Later on at Mum's up to 3 Red Kite seen flying and soaring over the horse field and even one directly over the garden and even seen from my bedroom window!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Masked Wagtail at Camrose and 7 Chough at Marloes

On Thursday 23rd December, having arrived in Wales to spend Christmas with my Mum, Thursday was easily the best day to go birding as the default weather for Wales is rain. The forecast was for the odd shower punctuated by sunny intervals. Travelling down to Haverfordwest, I encountered a couple of rain showers and took the B road, easily found amazingly enough on what I had considered the most confusing road layout of any British town I had encountered but the signing has improved and dramatically and within 20 minutes I was drawing up into the village taking the right hand bend by the church and seeing a dog walker, he helpfully told me where Croft's Villas were (just further along the road and I parked right outside no.5 where the bird had been first spotted. This bird is the first recorded sighting of this, a sub species of our Pied Wagtail, this race is normally found in Kazakhstan, Iran or and Afghanistan and is therefore way off course. Possibly brought over here by the recent cold weather over there and the prevailing easterly air stream over much of the previous autumn. Another birder was there and during the next 90 minutes the bird proved elusive, I heard and saw somewhat high pitched "Pied Wag" call and a bird fly left looping over some of the back gardens but appeared to settle in the out of view. I walked down the road checking other sites and as soon as I got back we were talking and I suddenly saw a wagtail fly down onto the road right where we were standing barely 10 metres away, I raised my bins and it was the beautiful Masked Wagtail! What an incredible bird and easily one of the highlights of the year! It then ran towards us and was within 3 feet of us, it was actually too close for the camera! The other chap put some bread down in the middle of the road and it kept returning to feed on this. It was an incredibly confiding bird being seen down to 3 feet. I took pictures of it on the road, the side of the road and when it fed on a few maggots it found on the grass verge. It then flew (giving a higher pitched call than your usual Wagtail and confirming my earlier suspicion that the bird seen earlier had indeed been this bird) up to a parked van where we saw it perch on its roof. It then returned to the road again feeding from the bread but a van driving down the road flushed it and it flew past the houses and away. We though that was it when another birder arrived, but within 10 minutes it was back feeding from the bread on the road again, having a little rest at the side of the road. Then it mean towards us and then ran further down the road, before it flew up to some cars, a garden wall. Then flew up to the roof guttering of the houses it worked along here, before flying back down onto the road again and I took more pics by the side of the road. Sunny intervals helped with the photography too. When I left I also saw a Pied Wagtail. I decided to drive all the way down to Marloes, parking in the NT car park at the end, I walked over the style and immediately heard the "Keeyah" call, a bit like a child's musical trumpet toy, and saw an excellent Chough flying right overhead. As the point, I saw a Chough, but before I could get any photos the 2nd birder from Camrose appeared and tried to get pictures himself by walking straight up to it (he had a 300mm lens). I met him and explained we'd need to use a bit of fieldcraft and approach low to the ground and slowly. I then spotted 2 Choughs to our right, one in particularly was intent on probing dung for insects and we managed to get quite close and it walked over to some rocks where we obtained some shots. he then left and the birds flew over the path and were probing in other dungs heaps and I managed to get reasonably close without disturbing them before a runner flushed them completely! As I walked back, I was pleased to see they had returned to the same area and looking over the western cove, a Grey Seal stuck its head out of the water and 5 adult Kittiwakes flew right to left.By the muddy area by the style I was pleased to see my 3rd wagtail of the day, a drab female Grey Wagtail was feeding by the steam. Walking back to the car, it was somewhat disconcerting to see 3 Oil Tankers travelling past Skomer and this wonderful environment to the Milford Oil Terminal. On a much better note, In the field behind the car park, I saw 4 Chough probing the ground, whilst another Chough flew past them, calling as it flew by. So, together with the pair at the point remaining faithful to the area, I had seen a total of 7 Chough, a great tally!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

No sign of Geese

On Wednesday 21 Dec, I spent the early afternoon looking for the Geese in the Browston & Bradwell area but there was no sign for me. Not entirely sure exactly where to go for them either. I have not seen Bean Geese for around 7 years.

Monday, 19 December 2016

More Pink- feet over

At around 8.50am, on Mon 19th December, it was great to see and hear a big flock of 140+ Pink- footed Geese in a large "V" formation, flying over the house in a south- westerly direction, as I was getting in the car ready to go to work.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Suffolk Birds 2015

Glad to get 3 pictures (although I'm only credited with two (!!) in the 2015 Suffolk Birds report, the Slavonian Grebe at Covehithe Broad in December, the Black Tern at Lowestoft in August (wrongly labelled as Sean N)- it's definitely my picture and I can prove it! This has been done before in a previous year with my picture of a Woodchat Shrike at the Oval published with someone else's name on it!) plus the escaped Black Kite at Wrentham.

PInk- feet over

On Friday 16th December, walking back to the Burrage Centre at James Paget Hospital, I heard and saw around 200 Pink- footed Geese flying overhead in a massive "V" at around 3.30pm. On Saturday 17th December, at 3pm, at least 2 Pink- footed Geese heard going west but I didn't see them.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hume's Warbler, Pheasant & Goosander

On Sunday 11th December, by Scratby Hall, I parked just west of the grounds and walked along the western then southern perimeter bumping into Pete M and other who said it had just shown. Walking further along a footpath, first beside the Hall Grounds and then bordering an arable field with an isolated copse of bushes and a couple of trees. Birders were peering in here, a movement was seen flitting diagonally up and then a small greyish looking warbler flew across to the trees by the edge of the path. The grey pallor, whitish supercilia and wing bars seen very briefly but enough to confirm it as the superb Hume's Warbler. After 10 minutes, it started calling, at one time constantly for a couple of minutes, and it was seen flitting about by some ivy, where it perched on the left hand edge showing well for a minutes or two before it flew back to the edge of the trees. It then disappeared but calls from the copse revealed the super Hume's Warbler seen along the left hand edge of the copse showing well giving good scope views at 12.30pm. As I drew up and parked right out in front of the house, as I got out an explosive "whirr" of wings revealed a cock Pheasant that just flew north it appeared from out passageway and low over the close and away north. A tweet from Jeremy G, the drake Goosander, a very "pink looking bird" seen at Lound Lakes from Fen Barn car park although on the far side. It dived regularly and initially seen over the far side. By the car park, a Grey Wagtail flew east and a calling Redpoll flew over west. 85+ Gadwall seen also.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Broads magic

On Sunday 4th December, at Oulton Marshes, Bearded Tits heard in the reeds by the river overflow but a surprising strong east wind kept them low in the reeds. A female Stonechat perched briefly on a bush and a Heron stood on the path ahead. At Martham Broad, initially didn't see there GN Diver but walking up and then back again. The bird swam back from the left arm of the broad, a fine Great Northern Diver swam right by the Mute Swans then swam further over only showing reasonably well when the light had dropped a little. 2 (1 a male) Marsh Harriers flew over at the back and a further 25 Mute Swans flew in. Walking back, 7 Red- legged Partridge seen in the field to the south. Half way up the Horsey straight, a group of around 40 Swans included 4 fine Bewick's Swans seen in the northern end of the flock. I was delighted to see 2 excellent Cranes on the seaward field right hand side of the road, the Cranes flew west and over the road they flew over the inland field then flew south towards East Somerton village. Nice to see Paul & Jane F at the Someron car park and catch up.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Sparrowhawk & Magpie

On Wednesday 30th November, a Sparrowhawk flew up and perched on the roof of the James Paget Hospital in the afternoon. sadly no Masked Wagtails seen amongst the 40 or so Pied Wagtails that scattered following the arrival of this apex predator. In the garden in the evening at 8pm, I heard at least 2 Magpies rattling call was heard almost constantly. One even flew into the Fallowfields hedge beyond the garden fence.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Shrike and Walberswick birds

Having missed a lift for the Shrike yesterday, on Sunday 27th November, I drove down to Sutton Heath, I eventually arrived at the southern most car park and initially unsure where to go, returning birders said I had to walk 800 yards down the road and on the right hand side of the road look into a field opening and scan the distant hedge. I joined a small throng of birders including Paul & Jane F, Jane had picked up the bird perched on a distant bush and having been kindly put onto it. I followed its progress as it spent a lot of time hunting flying down and then returning to a different push usually on top of a bush or an overhead wire. It looked like an ordinary Great Grey Shrike save for the obvious white outer tail feathers, white all the way down suggesting it may be of the "homyeri" race. Indeed the white outer tail feathers were very similar to the pattern of Steppe Grey Shrike. It showed a little more white on the wing too. It worked its way down the fence and then worked its way back before flying even further back where we were joined by Chris L. At one time I saw several passerines flying over including one with a white rump, a Brambling. I then drove to Needham market, but sadly there was no sign of the BB Dipper at Hawksbill or the Weir. I then drove to Walberswick, I reached the shore line and immediately 30 Snow Bunting flew north along the ridge and perched on the beach around 60 yards away. I met Alson A who walked north in search of Snow Bunting, but 5 minutes after I left her, another 3 Snow Buntings flew north along the ridge. By the shore pools, a Great White Egret flew and flew back into some reeds but later walked and fished along a dylke before flying a little way south when someone, a birder walked along the ridge. Meeting Gerald J, we walked south towards Dunwich and I estimate I saw around 440 Common Scoters the majority of these were female. I did spot a female Velvet Scoter with 2 white smudge spots on its head and a tell tale white wing clip. It was seen near a juvenile Herring Gull. A couple of Red- throated Divers flew north here. I also saw a female Eider swimming towards me. walking further along, I again spotted a male Velvet Scoter, this time a smart black plumaged male again with the white wing clip seen. Just before leaving Gerald, I walked back and was really pleased to see 40 Twite flying along the beach heading north. Over the reeds by the Mill, a few Bearded Tits heard but not seen, plus 6 Marsh Harriers and 3 Buzzards over Westwood marshes. walking back through the woods and insane number of Pheasant seen or heard, 1 along the path, 1 in the wood, 2 in the trees- I estimate I must have recorded around 200.

Shrike and Walberswick birds

Having missed a lift for the Shrike yesterday, on Sunday 27th November, I drove down to Sutton Heath, I eventually arrived at the southern most car park and initially unsure where to go, returning birders said I had to walk 800 yards down the road and on the right hand side of the road look into a field opening and scan the distant hedge. I joined a small throng of birders including Paul & Jane F, Jane had picked up the bird perched on a distant bush and having been kindly put onto it. I followed its progress as it spent a lot of time hunting flying down and then returning to a different push usually on top of a bush or an overhead wire. It looked like an ordinary Great Grey Shrike save for the obvious white outer tail feathers, white all the way down suggesting it may be of the "homeyei" race. Indeed the white outer tail feathers were very similar to the pattern of Steppe Grey Shrike. It showed a little more white on the wing too. It worked its way down the fence and then worked its way back before flying even further back where we were joined by Chris L. At one time I saw several passerines flying over including one with a white rump, a Brambling. I then drove to Needham market, but sadly there was no sign of the BB Dipper at Hawksbill or the Weir. I then drove to Walberswick, I reached the shore line and immediately 30 Snow Bunting flew north along the ridge and perched on the beach around 60 yards away. I met Alson A who walked north in search of Snow Bunting, but 5 minutes after I left her, another 3 Snow Buntings flew north along the ridge. By the shore pools, a Great White Egret flew and flew back into some reeds but later walked and fished along a dylke before flying a little way south when someone, a birder walked along the ridge. Meeting Gerald J, we walked south towards Dunwich and I estimate I saw around 440 Common Scoters the majority of these were female. I did spot a female Velvet Scoter with 2 white smudge spots on its head and a tell tale white wing clip. It was seen near a juvenile Herring Gull. Divers flew north here. I also saw a female Eider swimming towards me. walking further along, I again spotted a male Velvet Scoter, this time a smart black plumaged male again with the white wing clip seen. Just before leaving Gerald, I walked back and was really pleased to see 40 Twite flying along the beach heading north. Over the reeds by the Mill, a few Bearded Tits heard but not seen, plus 6 Marsh Harriers and 3 Buzzards over Westwood marshes. walking back through the woods and insane number of Pheasant seen or heard, 1 along the path, 1 in the wood, 2 in the trees- I estimate I must have recorded around 200.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

2 Cattle Egrets again at Gapton Hall Marshes

On Saturday 26th November, I took a walk down a sunny Harper's Lane and initially hearing gunshots I wasn't expecting to see the Egrets but seeing Jeremy staring eastwards was a hopeful sign. Sure enough, looking out in the field by a gate, 2 Cattle Egrets were seen around the gate. 1 Cattle Egret flew back and joined some cattle, the other bird stayed put. As the cattle wandered a little closer although they weeding on mare's tail, the Egret flew over to join them. The other side of the path, we saw a Little Egret stood erect bold upright whilst 2 immature Marsh Harriers flying further out. Back at the Egret field, a Buzzard flew across and settled by a gate before being briefly mobbed by a Kestrel.

Lowestoft and Haddiscoe Marshes

On Sunday November 20th, a pair of Stonechats were best on a morning's birdwatch round Ness Point and Hamilton Dock. At Haddiscoe Marshes in the afternoon from the mound an imm Rough- legged Buzzard was seen perched on a post it later flew to roost (showing white tail with dark terminal end) over Waveney Forest, 3 Buzzard, a female Hen Harrier following the line of a muddy bank, 3+ Short- eared Owls, Marsh Harriers 2 Barn Owls and a Kestrel & around 20 Pink- footed Geese.

Forsters Tern at Mistley

On Saturday 19th November, receiving a lift from Rob Wil, Ricky Rob and I arrived at Mistly Quay in Essex and the weather had been kind to us. The anticipated high winds and heavy rain hadn't occurred, instead we had had the odd light shower. We arrived and the bird hadn't been seen. We decided to look further down the road at Wrab Point we walked left along a fore shore and further along were wooden "beach style" huts and we saw a great deal of birds including 33 and 23 groups of Red- breasted Mergansers (female outnumbering males 4 to 1) There were Black- tailed Godwits c30 and groups of around 50 Dunlin and 3 Bar- tailed Godwits on shore close in. We counted around 17 GC Grebes out on the estuary but couldn't see any rarer Grebes or sea duck amongst them. We went back to the Quay and a chap had a call saying the bird had been seen further east, we drove down to an area by a railway line and walked north to the estuary and along the shore we could see the excellent Forster's Tern flying west slowly. It showed a black smudge around the eye area, a black bill and black wedge on the primaries. It was fishing around the buoy and we had good views of the bird, but it was always too far away to photograph. It eventually flew west. Walking back, we saw a visibly distressed regular Correspondent who cheered up when he spotted it himself later on. Back at the Quay, the bird was around the far western end but it suddenly flew past reasonably close but flew east at break neck speed again too quick for me to photo. At the Quay itself we saw it fly west again, on the far side of the bank, which was Suffolk proper and a very welcome addition to my Suffolk list.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Fairly Big Moon

Not having the chance to get any shots of the Big Moon until this evening, Thursday 17th November, because it was cloudy on the night itself of the full Moon (no sign tof it in very thick cloud) and I was at a meeting in Cambridge until late yesterday. So here is a picture of it taken at the entrance to Gunton woods.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Birthday bonus = Mealy Redpoll, Waxwing, 2 Cattle Egrets & Slav Grebe!

Taking annual leave from work today today, Tues 15th November, leaving the house I saw skeins of Cormorants flying east, groups of 9, 4 and 3 because it is my birthday, I started on the North Denes at around 8.30am, just north of the Bird's Eye factory, where 2 birders were looking west along the path running along the southern edge of the weedy patch. I veered around carefully to join them where they said they had seen the bird, but it had flown into the bushes. A minute or so later it flew down onto the edge of the weedy patch the South- western edge and I slowly edged towards it, I was about to get some pics when a dog walker appeared at exactly at the wrong time going past it just as I was focussing on it, so no pics. How annoying. I had to wait around 20 minutes, but I hadn't realised it was back among the weeds when a brown bird with whitish rump flew back into the bushes. It perched high up in a tree with a piece of plastic caught in the branches and I watched from a distance before it dropped to the grassy floor underneath a bush. Of course, another dog walker walked past and flushed it yet again. But this time it was only 5 minutes before the excellent Mealy Redpoll, flew to the south- western edge of the weeds again by the path and this time I slowly manoeuvred myself into position and managed to spend around 20 minutes photographing it. It was voraciously feeding on the seeds of the weeds, sometimes perched vertically across a stem and plucking the seed heads. Other times it perched upright on the stem and continued feeding. I watched it until a birdwatcher walking west along the path, obviously didn't see the bird and didn't understand my gestures to keep back, flushed it back into the trees. At Ness Point, theere was no sign of the Snow B behind the hut or anywhere at the Point. It was very high tide and I walked to the northern perimeter of the Point and saw a lone Purple sandpiper on the rocks, that was quickly joined by 2 more, making 3 Purple Sandpipers in total, 2 flew south a little way. There was no sign of any Waxwings around Spashett Road area. Whilst driving north along the A12 just past the Hopton roundabout a lone Waxwing flew low and west over the A12 clearly seen from the car, it appeared to land in th bushes just west of the carriageway. Looking from Meadow road at Burgh castle, I could see around 3 Little Egrets in the distant fields plus a quartering Marsh harrier. No sign of the Cattle Egrets until 2 excellent Cattle Egrets got up and flew south along the Breydon south wall fields sporting yellow bills and more rounded wings. At Filby, I walked to Ormesby Little Broad and saw several Tufted Duck c10 and 7 Great- crested Grebes all in a line in front of the lookout. I was really pleased to see the Slavonian Grebe swimming on the water mid way out swimming right and seen right from the lookout, it appeared to swim into the eastern arm of Ormsby Little Broad. Meanwhile calls overhead revealed at least 1 Siskin seen in flight. Walking back I saw a female Marsh Harrier flying overhead right to left. On Filby Broad, I counted 7 Goldeneye, 2 males and 5 females.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Snow Bunting, Velvet Scoter and Mealy Redpoll all around Ness Point

Back at Ness Point, on Sunday 13th November, no sign of the Snow B by Coastguards, I could see the reason why there was a photographer with a 300mm lens hassling the Snow Bunting by the seawall and he was getting far too close and the bird was hopping several metres away each time, until he finally forced it to fly. I guessed it would go back to the Coastguards and by the Sailors Hut. I went back and it was indeed there and flew back down to feed on the seeds from the grassy vegetation. As I was watching it at 1.30pm, a fine Velvet Scoter flew north very close in, I spent too long admiring it through the bins, as I was just a little too late trying to get the camera onto it. Back at Ness Point as it was low tide no Purple Sands, but 2 Turnstones posed on the rock bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun. Back home I read on Twitter of a Mealy Redpoll by weeds just north of Bird's Eye, I drove straight back and walking up to the weedy patch just east of the net posts and immediately spotted the bird, the excellent Mealy Redpoll, perched in some tall vegetation feeding voraciously on seeds. It later flew up to another stem, feeding more out in the open. Some dog walkers, decided to walk straight past me and enquire what it was, which wasn't what I needed when I was still trying to secure some pics. On Monday 14th, a Grey Wagtail was heard calling over the house, as I left for work

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Ness Point Goodies

On Sunday 12th November, on a wet and gloomy Ness Point afternoon, I walked down to the Coastguards, the fine Snow Bunting flew up to the Coastguards perimeter fence and by positioning myself behind the Sailors rest cabin, it eventually came down and fed on the seeds on the grassy vegetation growing out from the edges of the concrete. A dog walker walked down the steps and flushed the bird back onto the wall again as did 3 cyclist coming the other way up the steps, but again after another several minutes the bird flew down to the floor resumed its feeding regime. I was joined by Derek M and his wife and we watched it, a little while longer. Walking over to Hamilton Dock, I spotted the 1st winter Eider drake far away in the channel leading into Hamilton Dock, where it swam towards the rocks (eastern end). I pointed the bird out to Derek. Later on a 1st winter Shag swam from right to left, really close in the missel. Back at the Snow Bunting it fed even closer, using the Sailor's cabin as cover it fed down to 20 feet. A calling Rock Pipit flew right low over the rocks and then over the wall disappearing south. Whilst at Ness Point, on the ledge, 3 Purple Sandpipers seen too.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cliff Swallow at Minsmere

When news came through from BINS at 3.45pm that "a bird showing many characteristics of a Cliff Swallow" flying over the Visitors Centre at Minsmere, I almost fell off my seat at work! I was fervently hoping it would stay and go to roost in the reeds which it appeared to do when a message stated it was lost from view and later appeared to have gone to roost in reeds by Bittern Hide. Just before 7am, Robert Will, Ricky & myself turned into the car park at Minsmere which appeared strangely only half full. As it was already light (it appeared at about 6.40am) we decided to walk to west hide and look west at the reedbed. As we waited, a large Egret which could only have been a Great White Egret flew west. We saw Justin & Chris L, and Andrew E and Paul & Jane F here and we got news at around 7.20 that there were hirundine flying around the Sand Martin colony. People broke out into a run, but having pulled a muscle in my leg I could only hobble along. I got to the Sand Martin colony area, and could see the hirundine wheeling about Andrew E said its the one on the left and I first got my bins on a Swallow and then a dark bird, a small thickset Martin with an almost square shaped tail, it was the excellent American Cliff Swallow but it quickly flew left and out of sight. We dashed up to the car park and again saw the birds quickly wheeling around and then right and out of sight. They were then seen flying high over the east and then south scrape they then flew inland and over trees by the Bittern hide, where we lost them behind trees. After around half an hour, we heard they were flying around the north wall bushes by the Stonie field and rushing to the cliff top behind the old visitor centre area just right of the Sand Martin colony we saw the 8 hirundines, the Cliff Swallow was easily picked out looking superficially HM like but with dark drown plumage a pale buffy rump, and a pale rufous nape shawl, whitish on the forehead and chin with buffy rufous on the breast and top side flanks otherwise the underparts were whitish proving it was a 1st winter bird. It was flying around with the other hirundines and when the other alighted on a bush it joined them perching on the extreme left hand end! .

Friday, 4 November 2016

Woodcock & Little Auks

On Thursday 3rd November, a Woodcock was seen running around in the woods at Fallowfields at around 8.15am. 14 Little Auk were seen in total in 75mins this am off Ness Point, I started the watch at 9am, Richard S and Chris M were already there and Peter N and Derek B arrived later. Richard S spotted the first Little Auk flying north aroundd half way out. The Little Auks flew mostly north 2 which originally flew north were joined by 2 flying south and formed a flock of 4 then they all flew north! Little Auks were seen mainly singles or in pairs. Ones seen on the sea, was one then flew south and settled on the sea just by the rocks near the former lookout point. 7 Fieldfare, flew in off, including a flock of 5 that flew over Birds Eye and dropped down just beyond it. 1 tired Fieldfare flew in and settled in the Turbine yard. in off, Around 30 Gannets seen milling around way offshore, around 15 Brents and then 7 Brents flew north, around 35 Common Scoter flew north, & around 7 Red- throated Divers + 5 Auks flying north.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Carlton Marshes & Hoopoe at Hazelwood Marshes

Looking around Carlton Marshes first thing, a very confiding female Teal was by the dyke walking down to Whitecast marshes. By the overflow wooden wall, but the reeds I saw male Bearded Tit and with it were 2 immature Bearded Tits. The male flew off almost instantaneously before the partially obscured immature birds feed from the reed tops. A tweet stating the Hoopoe was still there had me walking back but not before I saw a female and 2 male Common Darters. Plus a very confiding young Viviparous Common Lizard, which posed beautifully for the camera on the wooden overflow wall and was sheltered by some foliage.I left it there and I saw Chris M and gavin D too. At hazel wood Marshes, walking down by a path to the hide, on an island around 5 Little Egrets seen plus a larger yellow- billed Great White Egret. The path had two groups of people looking, I was looking at the first group looking ahead into the light and the excellent Hoopoe seen briefly feeding before they edged closed and forced the Hoopoe to fly into the tree. It flew further on and I joined the second group and eventually the Hoopoe was seen back at the path. Now looking back with the light behind me the bird was seen in mid distance. All the birds on the estuary scattered and the suspected culprit was seen perched along a thick branch of a distant Pine tree, a fine Peregrine. Meanwhile, the Hoopoe disappeared left into the reeds for a while around 20 minutes, before it re-appeared and showed well albeit in more cloudy conditions. It came out of the grass and reeds to the left and fed on the path, tossing up the occasional grub and catching it in its fine bill.We edged slowly closer and after an hour and a half the bird eventually flew into the trees. We walked past and left the bird in peace.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Waxwings at Rectory Road & Dusky again

At 9.30am I eventually reached Rectory road and immediately saw 1 Waxwing perched by a Rowan/ Mountain Ash tree. I parked up opposite the junction and joined a lady who was waiting by the hedge. I spotted the bird, 2 Waxwings were perched high at the very top of a massive Oak tree one of the biggest I've ever seen, another bird flew confirming the 3rd Waxwing, so all 3 Waxwings were there. 1 bird suddenly flew down and fed on berries although it was partially obscured. After 2 minutes it flew back to the Oak tree. As we were watching the 3 perched on top, I first heard trilling, the spotted another warm brown buff Waxwing flying past and north. I looked at the tree and all 3 Waxwings were still there, so this was a 4th bird, a singleton flypast. While the birds were at the top, 1 bird was surrounded by flying wasps and this bird often kept its mouth open maybe to entice a wasp to flying! However all 3 birds flew high up several metres in vertical flight and caught wasps and fed on them when back on their perch at the top of the Oak. I include a picture of one hungrily eying up a mass of wasps! A male Blackbird flew onto the tree and fed. Then later all 3 birds flew across, 1 was out in the open but sadly its lower body was covered in shadow. Around 20 minutes later all 3 birds again flew down this time one bird was perched high up on a twig. Another fed on berries right in front of us, giving outstanding views and bathed in warm sunshine too, perfect for a bird barely 30 feet away! A Kestrel flew past calling and the birds quickly hid within the Oak. Whilst further away 2 soaring Common Buzzards seen. Finally at around 12.15pm, just as some cloud covered the sun, all 3 birds flew down again. This time 2 of their number feeding on berries right in front of us. It was really good to see Charles G from Lowestoft RSPB and Roy & Ruth H who popped off following my tweet to Rob Wil. I was famished at 12.30pm, so I reluctantly pulled myself away from the Waxwings and after a hearty much I made my way to Warren Lane Hopton, where I joined Murray & Dick (and later Cliff W). The Dusky Warbler was again was seen very high up in the tree foliage of the trees bordering the western edge of the path. It "talked" regularly and showed well with bins, but was impossible to photograph with my lens mounted to a tripod, it was far too unwieldy! It flew to the east side before eventually flying back to the west side in the tops of the trees again.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dusky Warbler saves the day

After a poor week for birding missing the Pallas' on Tuesday 25th October (leaving too early 7.50am at Corton ORT when I had to be at work to open up at 8am) not seeing anything after work either. On Wednesday 26th October, after leaving work at 12 noon, I had a look around the Links road area, seeing 3 adult winter Mediterranean Gulls on the car park ( including 1 ringed with E861 black lettering on a white ring) and a large group of LT Tits around the Links road area contained 1 Chiff- Chaff northing around Gunton Warren and checking the beach too revealed little. 1 adult winter Mediterreanean Gull with its right leg dangling seen fly over to Link's Road car park. After 3pm, hearing Ricky F had found a Dusky. I drove over to Hopton and walked up Warren Lane, around 30 metres past the cottages I saw OFB and Chris & Alison A, "takking" was heard and the bird, the excellent Dusky Warbler was around the other side of the hedge in bracken. It then flew into a bush in front of me and it then moved and flew right into another bush directly in front of me at the side of the track and the whole bird was seen well for around a minute, its face, dark eye stripe and cream supercilia as it moved through a bush. It then flew right again and we all moved over to the east golf course side and followed the bird as it flew down the hedge then flew a long way east by the hedgerow extending eastwards to the cliff where we lost it and didn't see again, despite some searching. This is the 5th Dusky Warbler I have seen this autumn, (1 at Corton, 2 at Spurn, 1 at Walsey Hills and now this one- quite unprecedented!) Further down the track, a group of 6 LT Tits included a Goldcrest. By the cottages were 3 Goldfinch and also 3 Goldfinch with their their "tinkering" calls perched on top a tree by the Holiday camp.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Lowestoft patchwork hard work!

On Sunday 23rd October, in the morning a Siskin was heard calling several times from a bush within the western edge of the garden. It flew out to Fallowfields. A Pied Wagtail flew north west calling over the garden. In the parks, a young Wood Pigeon seen along the top loop track. On the North Denes by the first shelter belt north of the Oval, 10 LT Tits included Goldcrest and Chiff- Chaff. A Redwing calling at the top loop track in Sparrows Nest. By the steps on from the Oval, another group of LT Tits included a Chiff- Chaff and Goldcrest. Nothing at Ness Point or the North Denes. Nothing at Gunton save a by the sunlight hedgerow by the field, LT Tits, Goldcrest and Chiff- Chaff. In the woods, Wren, 2 Great Tit, 2 Chaffinch and a Blue Tit by the Sallows, 2 Redwing calling by the fenced area by Gunton estate plus a male Muntjac deer first on the path on the circular reserve at Gunton Meadow.

Isabelline Wheatear at Burnham Overy Dunes

At 9.03 I saw a tweet stating there was an Issy wheatear at BOD, 5 minutes later John rang to see if I wanted a lift. Forty minutes later, I joined John & Bob B and we picked up Tim H and set on our way. We didn't get to Burnham Overy Dunes until 12.30pm. sadly we saw 2 dead Roe Deer on the road. We walked out towards Gun Hill and the long walk revealed skein of Pink- footed Geese flying across. After 20 minutes walk we reached the board walk and 10 minutes later reached the site. The bird wasn't on view but when it hopped out into view on the top ridge partially obscured by grass. The general sandy plumage, upright stance, thick black bill, thick black legs, general sandy appearance and isolated alula feather clearly showed this was the excellent Isabelline Wheatear. Over the next hour, the bird seen around the grassy area occasionally flying and perching on top of bushes. Unfortunately two over zealous photographers, I know them both- one from Suffolk and one from Essex went over the ridge and got too close to the bird pushing it some distance away and it disappeared for half an hour, when it flew and disappeared. Meanwhile, we looked in the nearby bushes for Pallas' warblers couldn't see any. I was walking back when the Isabelline Wheatear seen again, it preached on bushes and then seen on a grassy ridge in full sunlight. A small olive- green sprite bird called, sounding suspiciously like a Pallas' Warbler and ex- BBRC man Peter Col, a top class birder, called it instantly as a Pallas' and we saw it fly (complete with yellow rump) in to the group of bushes to the left into a berry laden bush. sadly, it didn't reappear. Walking back, we looked on the dune ride over right and could see the poor unfortunate carcass of the dead Fin Whale on the beach, cordoned off with a load of people around 15 looking at it. We tried for the Shore Lark, but couldn't see it. Walking back along the path, we saw a group of around 60 Brents and John spotted a hybrid Black Brant, with full white neck collar joining at the front and large white flash on the flanks but crucially dark bands in the white a mid grey (not black) back. also on the other side of the path, were around 90 Pink- footed Geese plus 2 Barnacle Geese at the back. We stopped off at Walsey Hills, walking along a ditch, we went in a little way and heard the "takking" of the excellent Dusky Warbler, a shape was seen high in a bush moving about and "takking"that was all I was to see of the bird.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Gunton woods and catch-up

Sun afternoon, a stroll up to the Sallows area of Gunton Woods, 5 Fieldfare flew west overhead whilst 2 Chiff- Chaff seen flitting around the bushes plus a Robin, A stroll up the path revealed a female Brambling perched high up in a bush but passers by meant the bird soon flew right unfortunately. 4 Long- tailed Tits & a single Yellow- browed Warbler heard calling several times and seen once high up in the canopy of the trees and cream super cilia and silky white underparts seen. walking back to the car a group of around 12 Long- tailed Tits included 2 briefly confiding Coal Tit. Mon 17th October, a Yellow- browed Warbler was heard calling 3Xh along the western hedgerow running north from the back of Corton OSW. at 8.10am. On Tues 18th a Grey Wagtail was heard calling flying over HEE HQ at Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire at 10.40am. On Friday 21st October, lunchtime, 4 calling Siskins flew over north- west, the Education & Training Centre, at the JPUH Hospital.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Siberian Accentor and a great fall at Spurn

Spurn yesterday prob best fall I have witnessed. Birds were showy too. having left at 4am picking up Rob Will, Rob Win and Andrew E, we arrived at Easington. The fluorescent jacketed volunteers directed us admirably to a car park in the field we walked back into the village and walked up, the now fabled Vicar's Lane. As we walked up the road, a magnificent Short- eared Owl, flew way above our heads, it was apparent there was a big fall of Thrushes as around 140 Redwing seen in the field to the right bordering the Lane. By the Easington Gas terminal, we only had to queue for 15 minutes. We were then ushered forward by one of the volunteers and walked to a small line of trees to a fence looking over what looked like a back garden, the area we looked over appeared to well mossed over tarmac, the absolutely magnificent Siberian Accentor was quickly seen, feeding, it had an obvious yellow- black markings on its head. A thick black stripe area running through the eye bordered above by a cream super cilia and below by yellow lower ear coverts. The yellow on the breast extended onto the underparts. with the rest of the plumage like a Dunnock's. It flew over to a Leylandii tree, then flew up and perched within it. Just minutes later, it flew over to the moss carpeted tarmac and was frequently feeding, Dunnock like not stopping at all. Until it stopped once looked around and then hopped so close tot he fence being barely 2 metres away. later it flew back and perched on a yellow skip. Before flying down and feeding by the left hand hedge line. having to the leave, we queued again for 5 minutes before led back. The situation was repeated 10 minutes later (when we met the newly arrived Paul & Jane F) and at the end of that session we were told we could remain as no one was waiting. On the walk back, a fine brown-backed Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat seen on the edge of a tree. A Firecrest showed well briefly in some other trees., 140 Redwings & a lone Fieldfare again could be seen in the fields. We then drove over to the field near the Pub and walked back hearing a Pallas' Warbler calling in the process, only problem was we couldn't get anywhere near it! At the Pub carpark, a showy Goldcrest seen plus a male Siskin feeding on alder seeds on a tree behind us. We then went to the churchyard and overlooking to gravestones to the right in some trees we initially saw a tailless Pallas' Warbler. This was joined by first 1 then another Pallas' Warbler flitting glimpses seen as they flitted about. First the tailless one flew past and into the left stand of trees. The other 2 Pallas' warbler seen flitting around. One Pallas' kept returning to a moss covered branch. The broad yellow super cilia and yellow rump seen clearly in flight. Walking down a ride bordering the shoreline, where we saw a somewhat bedraggled but confiding Redstart on the rocks. First a Dusky Warbler showed well, "takking" as it was seen in really close bushes and the edge of reeds and we followed it down as it moved down. Back at the pub, for a drink, I heard and saw 5 Tree Sparrows flying over. We walked down the ridge again and first a Jack Snipe flew left and then a Woodcock flew right. Nearing Spurn Point a Black Redstart seen in an enclosed area, near a Heligoland trap (complete with 4 Robins trapped within) , whilst amazingly a flock of 14 Yellowhammers flying down to Spurn Point itself. Robins were literally everywhere we must have seen over 100 during the day. A ringer was processing a Robin recently plucked from a mist netwalking around we saw some Meadow Pipits, a tame Goldcrest in a tiny bush plus a mystery Acro warbler which flew into a narrow strand of reeds bordering a field. It turned out to be a Reed Warbler, We could see a vast throng of birders assembled in a long line appeared to be staring into a hedge, we later found out from Dave W it was a Radde's! We walked along the cliff overlooking the beach and near another pub car park a small grassy area bordering the beach sported a very confiding Shore Lark, initially before it disappeared into the longer grass. Walking around to the group of people, they were looking into the base of the bush west of the road, a Warbler sitting at the base showed a cream super cilia and was the Radde's Warbler, unfortunately my birding companions had split up. But as I waled around the ridge by some reeds, the excellent Radde's Warbler flew out of an area of bushed calling "quip Quip quip" and it dived into a small bush at the end. Unfortunately it was disturbed from here as birders were standing right by it and hadn't even noticed the bird fly in! Some "takking" by the reeds just left of us revealed the same Dusky Warbler showing rally well it even flew into bushes and a stem of grass just 2 metres away! It flew right while incredibly another Dusky Warbler was seen by the reed edge to the left.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Lunchtime Dusky

On Friday 14th October, at 1.30pm I arrived for a quick visit to Corton OSW, parking at the Church, I met Andrew E and we walked to the dyke where it had been seen, taking the southern entrance and standing on the pallets in the ditch. The hard "takking" revealed the bird, an excellent Dusky Warbler, seen flitting around a bush low down before showing off and on for around 5 occasions and all the salient features noted. It was often seen darting around the vegetation and its face and head seen clearly.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Elusive Yellow- browed warbler at Gunton

On Wednesday 12th October, after work I went straight to Gunton woods, the Yellow- browed Warbler was heard several times in the Sallows, but frustratingly eluded save for 1 shape moving in the canopy. A Robin obliged the camera and 3 Goldcrests seen too, but despite calling sometimes up to 15X constantly the YBW eluded both the Bins and the camera. A small flock of 6 LT Tits also flew through.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The migrantfest continues around Lowestoft today!

Starting at the North Denes, after yet more rain, it was nice to see Neville S briefly who went for the Ybw behind the Oval, I followed Craig & Danny P the digiscoping boys, we saw the fine Great Grey Shrike hunting for food from the top of dry Alexander stems, sadly it soon disappeared after a dog walker went past. I decided to check Gunton, and hoping i would see 1 or both of James's Mealy Redpolls. No sign of the one by the footballers carpark. On the ORT, I saw 3 Redwings, a fine male Blackcap in a bush and heard 2 Bramblings and their rasping call flying over the track and west. Further down the track, a male Ring Ouzel seen briefly gorging on Mountain Ash berries its cream crescent before it flew off. Down at the far northern end, in the tree shrouded part of the track, amongst 15 Goldcrests a very vocal Yellow- browed Warbler first heard (at times called about 24 X!) and seen at 11.40am as always hyperactive seen at the crown of the tree and also lower down behind some tree trunks. I saw it well briefly, on at least 7 occasions, noting with the cream super cilia wing bars and silky white underparts all clearly noted. After a spot of lunch at home I travelled to Oulton Broad and was pleased to see the Slavonian Grebe was really close but as I was setting up my camera 2 boats came in and moored at the jetty forcing the bird to swim strongly right to the southern end of the basin. However as I walked south along the wall, the bird was seen reasonably close down to around 35 feet at 1.15pm, it was reasonably still in this area, preening and I managed to get some pics but in differing light. As I walked back, a Common Sandpiper flew up and left. Following a text mid afternoon by Rob Win, I travelled back to the North denies and walking from the Oval where I saw a Wheatear, the Great Grey Shrike was showing well on north section of North Denes, flying and perching on an Alexander plant not far from the western most main path by the slope where I got some shots. With OFB coming over we walked back and managed to get some more shots as it perched up in another Alexander, catching some beetles. Later we were joined by Andrew and more shots followed, before it started to cloud over. I left it 4.10pm. No sign of the Ouzel at rembrandt Close for me at least. Drawing up at the drive 3 calling Redwings flew west over the garden. Following a tweet from Andrew E, I joined regular correspondent, Paul W and Nick B, hearing regular calling Ybw's led to us eventually seeing 2 fine individuals together in a Sallow bush plus a Chiff- Chaff and 5 LT Tits and a Great Tit, with one calling from further away at the same time I saw these 2 I can say I definite recorded at least 3+ Yellow- browed Warblers in Gunton wood, Lowestoft at 6pm. It was now starting to rain heavily.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Dripping migrants in Lowestoft

On Saturday October 8th, with light easterly winds and rain of caring intensity for most of the day, dawn was overcast and damp outside. First thing, I looked in the garden before we let the our cats out and was amazed to find a recently dead Yellow- browed Warbler on the edge of the lawn/ flowerbed. The corpse was still warm and the eyes were still black so recently died either from neighbours' cats (which are left out overnight) or maybe from a Sprawk? I then looked out and amazingly head a "pssst" of a Redwing flew west and then the chackle of a Ring Ouzel flying west too. The white gorget on the beast clearly seen as it flew. I looked around Fallowfields and got absolutely soaked as the rain came lashing down, I saw a flock of LT Tits with a Chiff- Chaff. and a lone Redwing seen too. Next stop was Links road car park where 1 adult winter Mediterranean Gull was seen in Warren House Wood, saw several Goldcrests, 4 at the east end of the wood and 6 in the garden. Met James W, we heard a Grey Wagtail calling overhead but couldn't see it. Back at Links road, the adult winter Mediterranean Gull flock had increased to 4. Walking along the dense several Meadow Pipits seen and behind the Oval, I saw Richard S sheltering under a tree in the increasing precipitation of the rain. I joined him and he told me he had found a Ybw by the sycamores by the wall just minutes earlier. When the rain had stopped, we walked along and I refound the excellent Yellow- browed Warbler because it called about 14X from the White Poplar tree that the late Jimmy R always used to say was like a magnet for this species. I was delighted to find it flitting around at the very top canopy of the tree showing silky white underparts, cream super cilia and 2 yellow wing bars. I pointed it out to Richard and we literally had back and neck breaking views. Whilst on the Oval, an incredible total of at times, really close 55 Meadow Pipits. 2 Robins seen flying down from the Oval wall. A male Blackcap was seen at the back of the southern end of the Oval. Not much in Belle Vue Park, save for a flock of 15 Goldcrests. As soon as we entered Sparrows Nest, from the steps from Yarmouth road, from the second steps down, I spotted an excellent Firecrest flitting around near the top of a tree, it was even chased by a Goldcrest. By the top part, 15 Goldcrests seen plus a Song Thrush and Redwing. walking back to the car at links road car park, more birds seen along the east side of the Oval including yet more Goldcrests, 2 Great Tits, the 55 Meadow Pipits were joined by 2 Wheatears, 1 adults and 1 immature bird. On the Denes itself by the weedy part, a Stonechat seen, 2 Meadow Pipits and 2 Reed Buntings seen. At Ness point, 5 Goldcrests seen in 1 low bush, 5 Meadow Pipits around the area south of the Orbis centre. With news of a Rosefinch seen in a seaside arable field off Lane, Reydon (opposite St. Felix school), I picked up Maurice B by Heathlands and we parked at the Drive and walked up Keens Lane seeing the Norfolk Visitor, and our men on the spot Chris M & Peter N plus Ali R. At Reydon, the sun had belatedly appeared, but still no sign of the Rosefinch but 3 fine Bramblings flew in and 2 perched on the top of a tall fir tree in someone's garden. They were fine males in summer-winter transitional plumage, they sadly flew off before the camera could be fully utilised. With Andrew finding a GG Shrike on the North Denes, which I had already checked 3X today (albeit in light rain), I raced back but was delayed horribly through Oulton Broad looking over to the basin as I drove past, from Mutford Lock bridge, it looked as if the Slavonian Grebe was still there, but it can only be marked down as a probable, as it was seen briefly from the car. Finally, after an interminable wait through Oulton Broad, I pulled up at the Oval seeing Rob Wil and Andrew E watching and photo'ing the excellent Great Grey Shrike perched in he second pine from the eastern end of the northern wall of the Oval, it perched here for 5 minutes before a well known Norfolk photographer and his wife appeared, the Shrike immediately dropped down, then seen flying low and east over the Denes towards the slope.