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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 "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.

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