Sunday, 31 July 2016
Honey Buzzard at Westwood Lodge & Purple Emperor nearby
On Sunday 31st July I was eager to get out after a day of very localised heavy downpours which just seemed to affect Bosquet Close on Saturday 30th!!! I was at Westwood Lodge bright and early at 8am, it was really good to meet the Dereham Boys, Ian Paul & Richard & David W. Always kind and friendly (unlike some I can mention!) and top drawer birders, if its about they'll spot it first. As if on cue, one of the Dereham birders shouted there it is and 8.55am the superb Honey Buzzard with mousey brown upper parts, small protruding head and longish tail flew up quite close but behind a Pine tree where I lost it for around 90 seconds before it wheeled up showing slightly darkr wings tips and darker underparts than usual (but not as dark as some I've seen) it wheeled up further. It's wings were always held flat in profile, never turned up at the primaries and had a slightly more elongated shape than a Common Buzzard that wheeld up with it, eventually. Initially a Marsh Harrier had flown up with it too. First a Carrion Crow, started chasing and it flew strongly left/ east before flying back, this time being mobbed by a fine Hobby, a belated first for me for this year. It was flying ever higher joined by the Harrier and the Common Buzzard and this gave me valuable revision in profile raptor ID. Finally by 9.15am it had disappeared flying higher and to the west. A later trip to Westleton Heath failed to turn up Honey Buzzard. I saw a Common Buzzard here instead. But on the walk down I heard brief snatches on song from a male Dartford Warbler half way down and by the "cliff" by the "quarry" the brief "churr" of another Dartford Warbler but not seen. Several c30 Graylings were seen including 2 showy individuals on the path. (to be posted later!) c40 Gatekeepers also seen. At a nearby wood, by the road parking a few yards away, a resplendent male Southern Hawker flew up and down the road. shout went up and a fine female Purple Emperor settled on some cloth and fed for several minutes before a couple turned up and flushed her up into a tree where she was seen perched for a further few minuutes. Around 15 Migrant Hawkers also sen flying around here at the Dell. Plus 20 yards down the path, a Brimstone perched on a dandelion briefly and turning left at the end, a Painted Lady showed well as did 4 Southern Hawkers, 3 female and a fine male. 1 of the female perched long enough for me to obtain 1 or 2 pics.