Sub- header

Sub- header

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Hard work on local patch

A look around Corton on Sunday 24th septenber was very disappointing despite the east wind blowing with the only species seen 4 Large White butterflies, a Grey Wagtail was heard calling as I did the loop path back to the car bordering Stirrups lane. A Green Woodpecker flew up and flew left as I was entering the Corton church car park. Nothing at Radar Lodge. A look around the Denes revealed 6 Pied Wagtails on the Oval and I was relieved to finally see a Wheatear this autumn perched on the fence of the northern perimeter of Ting dene permanently sited caravan park. The bird perched there for a while before flying down back into the fenced off area. A young and Adult Herring Gull perched on the west and east wall of the seawall near Ness Point.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Little Stints & Phalarope again

On Saturday 23rd September, walking down to Covehithe Broad which is fast becoming my favourite birding spot with a combination of field hedges, trees, beach and broad some nice varied habitat. No sign sadly of yesterdays RN Phal, but 3 fine Little Stints seen at the back of the Broad initially. Looking out to sea, initially a Red- throated Diver flew south and also amongst some Gulls I could see a Bonxie or Great Skua sat amongst some Gulls its thick body broad neck and distinct face and bill betrayed its ID, after a fe minutes it flew up showing the white underwing flashes on the primaries and it flew south. When I looked back on the Broad, the Stints had disappeared, then they were seen back at the back they suddenly flew the trio flying north and round again and then 2 flew over us and settled in the seawater inlet to the Broad. I and John R who was also there carefully approached them and got some reasonably close pics along the far side of the inlet albeit in poor light but they then flew to the Broad edge, we saw them here too. A Hobby then flew from north to south over the back of the broad. A calling Grey Plover with black "armpits" flew over the beach and right above me before flying south. Later, the 2 Little Stints had ran to the extreme northern edge of the broad by the beach and approaching very carefully (I had the advantage as I was dressed all in beach biege) we got eventually within 5 metres of these birds without disturbing them as they were both asleep and now bathed in sunlight. Eventually one work up started feeding and then the other woke fed and then they flew of the own accord back to the broad edge further south. Walking back a fine male Stonechat perched on scrub seaward then landward side of the path. A fine calling Goldcrest seen by the trees by the track. A hovering Kestrel seen by the farm then perched on overhead wires. Later seeing Carl B when driving back to Wrentham, he directed me to 25 Egyptian Geese and 1 Barnacle Goose in the middle of the flock in the field to the south of the road by the first house. At Minsmere east scrape, a distant juvenile Red Necked Phalarope still spinning like a top clockwise along the left hand end of the east scrape to disturn invertebrates to peck at from the water's surface seen late am. Later it moved to the very back of the east scrape. There were also 3+ Little Stint much closer to the hide, 1 bird flew to the island with the big stick running along the far edge, it returned several times. 3+ Ruff seen including the white male with orange legs, a winter- plumaged Knot was amongst some c300 Black- tailed Godwit, c20 Dunlin, one Snipe seen on an island and whilst scoping the Phalarope, 2 Bearded Tits seen in reeds behind they were a male bird and a juvenile. Finally back at Minsmere car park, a fine adult male Migrant Hawker seen flying about.

Pied Flycatcher on the North Denes

On Sunday Sept 17th after a tweet from Rob Win, I drove down to the Links road car park and looked in the sycamore copse just 100 yards south of there where I saw Carl B peering intently in, we saw the fine Pied Flycatcher flitting around low down almost at ground level, several Magpies higher up maybe making it a little nervous! It occasionally showed perched briefly on bare branches and posed briefly for the camera. Amazingly this was Suffolk's first autumn bird this year! An adult winter Mediterranean Gull seen in the car park later but no sign of the Redstart. On Tuesday 19th Sept, the usual Buzzard was perched on the tree just south of Hopton roundabout seen after work. On Wednesday 20th returning from Frettenham via Acle straight it was almost dusk and a Buzzard flew from left to right low over the road.

Curlew Sand & Red- necked Phalarope

On Saturday Sept 16th a walk down to the scrape at Carlton Marshes revealed the fine Curlew Sandpiper still early morning Carlton Marshes scrape right in the middle of a group of with 6 Dunlin, (Lowestoft & Lizard land tick, the Curlew Sand not the Dunlin!) right in the middle of the scrape, when they flew the white rump was seen clearly they flew around then returned just west of the middle of the scrape and at the old building an immature Little Owl showing v.well at barn perched on the metal sheet before flying up to the eaves. The fine juvenile Red- necked Phalarope still at Minsmere East Scrape this evening, spinning around clockwise like a top, seen from the left side of the hide it was mid way back, 3 Hobbies flew around at the back above the trees around Bittern hide, one Hobby flew right over the scrape from the beach over the hide and low over the scrape, 2 male Mandarin one sat by the ducks at the back of the bund, one left of the west hide and 4 Bar- tailed Godwit nearby, 3 Ruff including the white male individual with orange legs, no sign at all of Citrine Wag between 4- 7pm.

Return visit to Corton OSW

At Corton Old sewage works this evening, on 13 September, a Whinchat still, 10 Sand Martin, 3 House Martins (seen mainly from the churchyard car park), 2 Chiff- Chaffs Corton Churchyard hedge and tree but absolutely no sea passage off Bakers Score, Corton earlier.

Whinchat back at Corton OSW

On Tuesday September 12 after work, a male Whitethroat flew up to the fence and disappeared into scrub in the south- east corner at Corton OSW, plus a Whinchat perched on the northern fence, plus 14 Sand Martins overhead this eve, lovely to see these fine birds, but wasn't there was a seabird passage going on missed again!

Citrine Wagtail at Minsmere

On Sunday the 7th September, after hearing the Citrine was still there I headed straight to Minsmere following Paul & Jane F in via the entrance road, we walked/ ran to the East Scrape and joining the throng along the right hand side of the hide there was anxious wait of half an hour when the bird had just walked behind an island. I heard a calling Yellow- Wag type call a high pitched "tslie" call and I saw a Wagtail which flew back to the island and Dave H said the Citrine was there. The superb distinctive immature Citrine Wagtail was actively feeding to the right of the island in front of some bare sticks. It had all dark bill and legs, greyish aoppearance with pale cream- white super cilia, whitish throat, 2 striking broad white wing bars below the grey mantle and darker wings and white on the rear underparts and vent. It then disappeared behind the island again before walking out again and feeding by the stick area again.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Osprey & Wryneck

Hearing the Osprey was back on Saturday 9th September I drove down to Blythburgh estuary seeing lots of Black- tailed Godwits plus a pale summer plumaged Knot and 2 Ringed Plover, the Osprey was seen perched on a far post of the Osprey just south of the Southward water Tower from the angle I was viewing. Walking back a calling Yellow Wagtail flew up from the field and flew south. Having been delayed coming back, I went mid afternoon for the Wryneck as I walking down Kessingland Dunes I could see Steve P talking to a few people and he indicated it was still on show and showing well. I joined a small crowd of people watching it looking east where the fine Wryneck was seen perched on a bush, it dropped down and moving around, we saw it feeding on the path by the bushes. We watched it here for sometime before some birders with dogs who walked around the bush not to flush it then flushed it. It flew into a elderberry bush in the gorse before once again flying back to the path. Where this time I looked south as it fed again.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Birds & wildlife of Rhodes part 2

On 2nd September, at breakfast a Sub- Alpine warbler seen in the bushes and a Spotted Flycatcher seen in Pines on the hill opposite. At Rhodes town, walking up to the Grand Palace a slightly tatty Scarce Swallowtail was seen feeding on flowers enclosed by a rectangular wooden box. It was quite confiding. A Pallid Swift flew over the Knights Grand Palace of the Grandmasters, and going through the entrance a fine close view of a Crag Martin that flew and perched above the entrance arch. 2 Yellow- legged Herring Gulls seen perched on the rocks by the harbour. On 3rd September on Sunday in the Hotel grounds a Sub- Alpine Warbler was seen in the pines area. At Garoudas bridge, a repeat visit revealed an Egyptian Grasshopper seen jumping out of the vegetation near the bridge. A respondent Scarce Swallowtail flew across the dry riverbed fling west. Driving over to the east side, driving down the stoney track, a magnificent Short- toed Eagle flew up from the ground and flew away. Back at the Atrium Palace Hotel at Kalathos. By the bushes to the west side of the hotel, settled a Long- tailed Blue butterfly. On the lawn, 16 Black- headed Wagtails fed on the lawn, whilst close still was 1 White Wagtail seen. Also by the pool was a confiding Little Stint and 5 Crested Larks. On 4th September the other side of Lindos, a female Sparrowhawk flew past the road and under the ridge. A drive south down to genadi beach initially only revealed 3 Crested Larks and House Sparrows. By the side bushes on the south side of the dry river bed, a Sub- Alpine Warbler and a Sardinian warbler plus a Darter Dragonfly. At a pond at the end, 3 European Pond Turtles seen that plopped into the water as soon as they saw me, plus a Black- headed Wagtail that flew down to drink and then perched in the bush. Whilst overhead a Swallow flew by. A Scarlet Darter settled on vegetation close to the water whilst up to 3 male Lesser Emperors flew around and settled tantalisingly on reeds the far side. Scrambling back up the bank, a confiding Egyptian Grasshopper initially showed well. Whilst walking back I heard some unusual 'takking' near a bush I looked into a large Tamarisk with thick central branches and amazingly, an Olive- tree Warbler, there was no doubting what it was, a large (Great Reed warbler sized bird) grey Hippolais warbler with long dagger like bill and yellow on the lower mandible, came out and looked at me barely 10 feet away then hopped back and I had the presence of mind to change to my 150mm macro camera and take 2 pics of it. A fantastic new species for me. Also skulking right of that was a smaller Sub- Alpine warbler. On Tuesday 5th September, at Keraki Gorge, I dove down to a magnolia coloured bridge, a female Kestrel flew by. A 'chortling' Bee- eater was heard but not seen. I parked the car by some bushes, where a faded male Red- backed Shrike was seen. walking north along the dry river bed, Goats were seen, just past a Solar farm, where another male red- backed Shrike seen perched on a fence, a Blue Rock Thrush heard singing but not seen. In evergreen trees a Blue Tit seen, plus 3 Crested Larks seen around the dry river bed plus another male Red- backed Shrike by shrubs at the side of the dry river bed and assorted darters. Driving back near Lindos, a female Sparrowhawk flew across the road.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Birds & wildlife of Rhodes part 1

On the first day Wednesday 31st August, after our eventual arrival on the Greek island of Rhodes, the journey comprised seeing 4 Hooded Crows and 1 Raven. After arriving at Pefkos, which took an hour to find the hotel, pity there isn't an app to pinpoint your hotel as we always struggle to find our hotel, having always booked the hire car from the airport. From the hotel room, the next day Thursday 31st August, looking right past a fence into scrubby area I saw House Sparrows and a Sub- Alpine Warbler which hopped up from a distant bush, Collared Doves and a croaking Raven flying over. A female Red- backed Shrike hunted from the fence once dropping down and successfully catching an insect. 2 Hooded Crows also flew overhead. We then drove to the Valley of the Butterflies, on the journey a magnificent Scarce Swallowtail flew past. a real misnomer as it is actually the Valley of the Moths, specifically Jersey Tiger Moths. Paying our 5 euros entrance fee at the very tacky entrance, with sadly a stall selling actual pinned butterflies in cases which I find absolutely abhorrent and disgusting in this day and age. We made out way up a gently sloping path following a stream, first odd Jersey Tiger Moths were seen on the bark of the trees, but as we made our way further up more and more were seen until they completely covered the tree trunk of a tree and the lee of a wall, literally 10's of 1000's of Jersey Tiger Moths seen. An incredible sight, I half expected to bump into David Attenborough with a filming crew. At the end, one alighted on me briefly before 1 alighted on a German tourists jeans and he kindly allowed me a couple of pics. I also took some in relatively well lit bark of a tree. I made my way back and we saw people photographing something, it wasn't a moth but a fine Freshwater Crab, another Freshwater Crab was seen further down the stream. In the meantime by the bridge area, I saw a fine Jersey Tiger Moth underneath the bridge with its wings spread out showing the red colouration on the lower wings. A Wren was seen in the valley by the stream. Walking outside the entrance, 2 Wood Grayling butterflies were seen fluttering around the tree trunks. Jenny & I then went onto the Kalimaras Archaeological site, a wonderful female Black- eared Wheatear seen perched on one of the site walls, she then flew into a tree. There was a lot of white in the tail, typically extending and extending in dagger like white fronds, a distinct characteristic of this species. Also perched on the wall was one Starry Agama, one of 5 Starry Agamas seen in total. A Sardinian Warbler was seen in the heathy scrub, a Red- rumped Swallow flew past. One showy Starry Agama crossed the path and rested by the side of the path briefly. On the second morning on 1st September, of our visit to Rhodes, at Pefkos, it was wonderful to see a swirl of 12 Honey Buzzards appearing over the cliff edge swirling around and then they wheeled right over the hotel and then out to sea towards Turkey. Typically long winged birds with longish pointy heads and banded tails, compared to Common Buzzards. At breakfast a male House Sparrow came to beg for food, both a Swallowtail and Scarce Swallowtail flew past and left by the pool area. Moving onto the resort by the Atrium Palace Hotel, Jenny & I parked the car we first saw 1 Red- rumped Swallow flying about and then we saw 4 Red- rumped Swallows perched on the wires. On the well watered grassy lawn, 5+ Black- headed Wagtail walked around feeding. I also saw up to 3 large Hawker/ Emperor dragonflies in flight only. The notes of my observations at the time stated they had a yellow comma clip around brown eyes and a brown head, a light blue segment at the top of the abdomen and brown rest of the abdomen. On checking back home, there was no doubting they were 3 superb Vagrant Emperors, the only problem they didn't settle for any pictures. I left Jenny on the beach and drove to Genadi Bridge, over a dry river valley hoping to see Rufus Bush Chats, I didn't seen any. Some Skimmers seen either Keeled or more likely Southern seen on a couple of bushes they were also very shy and didn't settle for photos. A couple of Red- veined Darters seen. I also saw a Violet Dropwing, with violet abdomen and then tend to point down when perched rather than being vertical. On the east side of the bridge over the far side, a mysterious grey bird flew to another bush and then flew back towards the bridge, ID uncertain. Further down the valley, a female Red- backed Shrike perched in a bush was easier to identify. Up to 5 Crested Larks were seen too. Walking down the side of the hotel to get some much needed refreshment at a cafe, a tatty Lang's short- tailed Blue was seen on the flowers and 2 Lizards only heard scuttling away.

Wedding visit and unexpected array of woodland birds

On August 27th I visited Coleslaw Hall, Upper Peover, near Knutsford, Manchester for my cousins daughter's wedding. There was a very showy Heron in the grounds that allowed a very close approach even with my 150mm macro lens. One time it was by the bridge by the pond another time it stood near some reeds and posed beautifully for the camera. The following day and early morning walk revealed 3 Nuthatches in one Oak tree followed by 3 Chiff- Chaffs, Treecreeper, a GSW, Blue & Great Tits it was nice to see this one tree alive with woodland birds. 2 Nuthatches were also seen by trees closet to the Hall too. Looking over a nearby field, 3 Buzzards soared in the air including a very pale bird. An unexpected wildlife oasis!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Dotterel at Covehithe cliff field

Receiving a BINS message that Carl B had found an imm Dotterel at Covehithe cliff field just N of the metalled road. On a really close muggy afternoon, an hour or so later I walked down to the site. Tt was in the cliff field (formerly a pig field) now a potato field. Initially I couldn't see it but seeing a group of birders in the north-east corner path I knew where to go and sure enough the fine immature Dotterel was only 7 ploughed furrows in. Good to see Ali R, Carl B & Neville L here. Thanks to Ali for putting me in the best spot to see the bird. This fine bird spent most of it's time sitting down, it initially stood up but then sat down and spent the entire duration watching it sitting down. I then visited the Broad with Neville L it was immediately apparent there had been a massive amount of erosion, trees from the 'cliff' just south of there had fallen into the sea and the hide was only approx 30 metres from the beach and we saw around 60 Dunlin, a single Greenshank in front of the hide, Kingfisher fishing from the posts in front of the hide. Steve P popped in briefly to retrieve his notebook. We saw around 30 Black- tailed Godwits and a smart summer plumage Bar- tailed Godwit at the back. An Avocet flew into and settled in low water at the back. 4 Knot seen, 1 in wp, 1 in full sp and 2 in transitional plumage. Strangely enough no Sandpipers seen. Back at the Dotterel, Chris M & Peter N were in attendance an finally when the sun came out I managed to manoeuvre around without disturbing the bird and get some reasonable pics, the bird stood up once when some dogs on leads were passing on the path, once they had gone it soon settled down again where I left it. Several 5 Speckled Wood butterflies seen around the vegetation of the metalled road as I walked back.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth outside work!

On leaving work a tad late yesterday, Friday 25th Augus at 5.15pm, I was glad I did so as I instantly saw a Hummingbird Hawk Moth taking an interest buzzing the guttering bordering the R&D offices, it flew gradually south, I shut the western doors to stop it flying in and it then flew strongly south, about 6 miles away it would receive a very warm welcome!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

"Why does it always cloud over me?"

Sung to the tune of Travis' "Why does it always rain on me?", one of Jenny's favourite songs, I could well ask the question each time I walk the 2 miles to the top of Carlton Marshes it always clouds over! On Sunday 20th August, mid morning, again I was pleasantly distracted along the dykes, where I met an elderly couple who had spotted one Fen Raft Spider this time from the main boarded area where one was sat on a Lily pad, just right of a particularly thick Water Soldier plant sticking out of the water, by the three fronds cut off half way up. The lady also found a second further along past the big bush, in a bowl shaped indentation, along the far side of the dyke, another Fen Raft Spider was facing down onto the water. Walking around past Spratts water, a couple rather annoyingly trailed just behind me, so I was unable to get a shot of a Kestrel on a gate post and a Black- tailed Skimmer on the path ahead of me. I also saw Peacock & Small Tortoiseshell butterfly briefly here too. No birds seen on the Scrape apart from a Mallard! At the top, a female Great Diving Beetle (with finely lined back) was on the path and scurrying to get into cover, she safely negotiated the path into a side area. A slightly tatty Wall Brown butterfly was perched on the bare part of the path and later perched on the wall, it flew and is a very unobtrusive butterfly, but when it perched on the wall it was doing exactly what it says on the tin! Also on the wall, were up to 3 skittish tiny Common Lizards (boding well for the future) and slightly further along was the most obliging Common Lizard I have ever come across. It spent well over an hour on the wall just past a thistle and was an absolute joy to photograph, pity the sun had gone in. A very fine male Migrant Hawker flew in and perched underneath a weed. Nothing along the north die of Scrape. IN the dyke I saw an adult and 2 young Moorhens that just eluded the camera, It was really good to catch up with Alan & Edwina B in the car park afterwards and I hope they got to see some of the Fen Raft Spiders.

Trio of Goodies at Breydon

On Friday 18th August, following a tweet from Tommy C, I headed over to Breydon and was rewarded in seeing a trio of goodies (no, not Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke Taylor and Bill Oddie) but the first bird seen feeding vigorously with its long neck exercising its long spatular shaped bill from side to side was a Spoonbill in front of the Tern platforms. There were lots of Med Gulls, Avocets, Godwits and amongst the Gulls, I saw the magnificent Caspian Tern facing left. I couldn't see any smaller waders. It's black crown was starting to moult a little into whiter winter plumage. Its big bill looking more reddish than orange it was facing and left and slowly walked left. Suddenly, I spotted an immature Arctic Tern with very bouncy flight flying left and over the Tern platforms it even perched on one of them. It stood out from the more elongated Common Terns.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Surprise Hummingbird Hawk Moth in garden

Whilst on the phone to Mum on Monday evening at 7.53pm, I noticed what looked like a Hummingbird Hawk Moth feeding from the top flowers of the Buddlea Davidii bush in the garden. Rushing outside this was confirmed and I watched for a minute before it suddenly disappeared at 7.55pm. My first of the year.

North Beach Terns

On Monday 14th August, I drove down to the Link's road at the North Denes, I was fortunately to watch a flock of 19 Common Terns a mixture of 10 adults and 9 immatures. That was the highlight of the evenings birdwatch. 2 fine summer- plumaged Turnstones were seen in the near corner at Hamilton Dock.

Sunday afternoon at Carlton Marshes

On Sunday afternoon, 13th August, I looked around the dyke area, meeting up with Rob H, and I was pleased to find a Great Raft Spider and show this to Rob, looking at the dyke just 5 metres east of the bridge, viewing from the field and looking over the far side. A good start but the time spent looking at this meant I was walking later than expected past and taking the west path, a Chinese Water Deer was walking down the path towards me, I froze the Deer kept walking until it saw me, turned round and walked away. It was later heard crashing through the reeds as I walked west. The Scrape was disappointing with just 3 Redshanks, 4 Lapwings and 5 Snipe seen. No sign of the 'Islandica' Godwits. Walking around the river loop I was too late for any Wall Brown butterflies, but this lead to prime Barn Owl time. First, a Barn Owl was seen hunting regularly over the Scrape area and returning to a tree nearer the Oulton Marshes reserve. Another Barn Owl perched on a tree as I walked past and stopped got some shots before other Owl photographers moved and sadly flushed the bird. Having no truck with this bad fieldcraft, I left and stood at the regular place, where a Barn Owl hunted in the field north of the main track and swooped down right in front of me where I was able to get one good shot as it emerged.

Following morning

The following morning after driving back from Wales, at 7am at Carlton Marshes, the adult Little Owl was showing very well by the canister area, using my converter on the zoom lens (extending my range) I managed to get a couple of good shots at range without disturbing the bird. With really good light I was able to extensively crop the image.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Dippers in Cornwall & Wales and a Dragonfly surprise!

Travelling first to Cornwall to see family in both Corwall and Wales. First wildlife of note was a Red Kite that flew over the M25. First stop was Ninestones on Bodmin Moor, where my brother, showed me a Dipper by a waterfall area. Although it was 300 yards downstream from this, I managed to get a record shot of it, it was reasonably confiding but the light was appalling. Later when it was raining I found another Dipper sheltering from the rain under the second Tunnel underneath the bridge. Checking out the stream area later on I was delighted to see a Golden- ringed Dragonfly although it didn't pose that well for the camera. In Wales, I walked down to the Cymisfael stream area, I saw 2 Dippers down the stream, 1 posed well and I managed a few pics. Plus around 6 Banded Demoiselleswere seen by the bridge. Mostly 5 males (1 female).

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Carlton Marshes Owls

Thursday 28th July, up to 3 Barn Owls were flying around putting on a good display and the juvenile Little Owl seen by the dilapidated building opposite the entrance to Carlton Marshes albeit in fading light. The following morning early on Friday 29th July, I joined another photographer who was already there at 7am, looking at the side of the building by the entrance track to the reserve. There were very sunny conditions, the juvenile was first perched on a middle wall and then it flew over to the east facing wall where we moved to the barrier and it eventually settled down amongst the ivy and having a quick nap, some good pics were obtained, we remained at the barrier so the bird wasn't disturbed in any way.By 8.30am I had to leave for the long journey to Cornwall.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bits & Bobs

On Saturday 15th July at around 12.30pm a Red Kite flew west over the A12 just before the Wangford dual carriageway. On Saturday 22nd at 10.30am heard a Whimbrel fly over the garden (called 3X) but not seen. Red Admiral, Comma & Large White butteflies seen in the garden. Sunday 23rd a Hawker dragonfly seen fly over the garden, probably Brown.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Marvellous Minsmere

On Sunday 9th July, Walking down to the Bittern hide, a lady said one was showing and sure enough grabbing a seat in an almost packed hide next to Paul & Jane, I could see the Bittern skulking around the edge of the reeds. At one point it stealthily leaned forward and then I could only describe it as flopping into the water, it caught something and ran back into the cover of the reeds again. After around 45 mins of waiting as if on queue a shout went up at 10.30am and the fine Purple Heron flew east and went down in some reeds half way between this hide and the south hide in the distance. On the way back through the woods, we were shown some Badgers excrement, literally a big dollop! At the car park, we bumped in to Rob H & along the north wall initially after some careful searching we had seen 2 Six- belted Clearwings in flight by the Birds foot trefoil. But when Justin & Chris L came along with some pheromone lure. Our third attempt on the other side of the path (south side) Justin said he had one, a fine Six- belted Clearwing and it posed beautifully on the ground and the the cameras!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Carlton Marshes evening visits

Mon 3rd July and Thursday 6th evening visits on Mon the Little Owl was perched on the post by the gate but flew as I drove down. Waiting at the first field. I eventually saw 1 Barn Owl fly across a minute after I had left the prime location so failed to get the pics. On Thursday I saw Rob H and Gavin. We had 3 Barn Owls hunting and the Little Owl was perched on the top of the wrecked building.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Abusive man along Breydon south wall & a fine male Red- backed Shrike

On Monday 26th June, I thought I was going to have a very pleasant walk in the evening down along Breydon south wall to look for a Red- backed Shrike around 2 miles down the path bordering the estuary by the Pumphouse. But I reckoned without an encounter with an extremely disturbed and volatile man (c40 years old short brown hair, brown shirt) walking 2 small dogs. One was white one was chestnut. He had driven his light blue car up a track just south of the farm and got out just ahead of me. He stopped regularly to tend to his dogs which were on a lead. I was following behind and both went wild, he requested I stop so he could tend to the dogs I waited and waited and waited. Five minutes later, I said it was best if I get past, so the dogs would calm down. I suggested he should keep better control of his dogs on a public footpath and what followed an appalling diatribe of the Anglo- Saxon invective and threatening and abusive language that no sane person should hear. He shouted at me at the top of his voice, threatening to "fXXXing do me in, break my legs, break my cameras and the camera lens, next time I see you down here I'll get you etc etc. I just carried on walking, I met 2 lady walkers a few minutes later and warned them of this extremely volatile and abusive man and this led to further abuse being shouted at me for another 5 minutes. I carried on walking and just before I got to birders and the bird, I was subjected to further levels of abuse for a further few minutes, by this individual, who was obviously turning back. I was very relieved to reach the safety of the birders, seeing Rene and other friends, they sympathised with me and certainly there was safety in numbers, thank goodness. I did not take any pics of this man or of his car, as evidence, because I feel it would have driven him over the edge and I could have come to serious harm, had I done so, I would have taken the evidence straight to the Police station at Great Yarmouth. I have never ever been subjected to such levels of vilification and abuse in East Anglia before. Be warned! The fine male Red- backed Shrike was seen on a distant fence, a fine male with immaculate plumage grey head, black mask chestnut brown pack and pink flush to the underparts. The Shrike perched on the wire by the third post from the end. It flew onto a bush by reeds further north before eventually flying onto a bush nearer the pumphousr. In a really close bush, a Reed warbler showed well briefly too.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Winterton delights

On Saturday 10th June, a visit to Winterton resulted in me seeing the an Emperor dragonfly flying over the Dunes. Muy main quest was easily seen literally sticking out like a sore thumb, a fine summer- plumaged White- winged Black Tern sat amongst the Little Tern colony. Several times it flew out to sea and flew back again. Meanwhile I watched Little terns fishing close in shore and saw 2 sat on the back. Really good to see Dave J, ex NLIS colleague. An excursion over to the Toad pools revealed Dave discovering a Smooth Newt by the side of the pool and I saw it clamber into weedy vegetation. Dave directed me over to the square fenced pool slightly NW of there inland and was delighted to see 2 Red- veined Darters, one resting on the sandy sides and 1 perching on the reeds. I also saw lots of Natterjack tadpoles too. As I was photographing the RV Darter on the reeds using my 500mm lens, a male Roe Deer literally walked past me barely 30 feet away, initially it was against the sun, but I froze and as walked up to a bramble bush, I waited till it walked behind this and I stealthily crept up to the bush where it was again 30 feet away in really good light and managed to get some nice shots before it slowly walked off southwards. Walking back 2 Yellowhammers seen also plus a Hairy Dragonfly.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Orchids at Thelnathan Fen

On Wednesday 7th June, having a work trip to Fulbourn, I was able to call in at the SWT reserve of Thelnathan Fen (between Diss and Bury St. Edmonds) and arrived parking at the side of the reserve, Some botanists were here chatting. Walking along I could see lots of Orchids, Southern Marsh and Spotted and what I hope were Early Marsh Orchids by the path slightly further on and slightly past their best.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Emperor deceased

Sad to say I found a male Emperor Dragonfly freshly dead (it wasn't there first thing when I fed the garden fish in the other pond) on the edge of the lawn by the wildlife pond, at 1.30pm on Mon June 5th, it wasn't mauled at all seeming to indicate it wasn't taken by the cats. The worst sort of first record for the garden, I was hoping to see and photograph a live one in the garden. It was duly buried in the garden.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Strumpshaw Swallowtails

Before I went to Strumpshaw I called in at a Norfolk location where I have been successful in the past for Turtle Doves. Happily I heard the purring almost straight away coming from down the lane. It was also evident there was a pheasant shoot nearby but I looked up and saw the excellent Turtle Dove flew up to a higher branch in the canopy of the tree. I looked straight up at it and wandered back along the lane where I got a fine view of this rusty backed beauty. Delightful to see as always. Bouyed with this, I drove onto Strumpshaw and I managed to park up the road and was delighted to see the garden was still as it always was and a crowd was at the top because there were 2 fine pristine Swallowtails in active feeding flight drinking the nectar from the sweet williams. It was ironic that as soon as Rob Wils left both butterflies became slightly more obliging and I got my best shots at this time. A walk around the reserve revealed just 2 Scarce Chasers, a male and a female. From the Fen hide, a Grey Heron, a Mute Swan lead 2 cygnets swam away. By the woods just before reception, a caged flowering Bee Orchid and a flowering Common Twayblade were both caged. Back at reception, a tatty Swallowtail flew around some fenced flowers for a while. Back at the garden another slightly tatty Swallowtail was feeding at the top.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Ness Point and Carlton Marshes

A quick look at Ness Point confirmed the Painted Ladies were no longer there, as I arrived at Carlton Marshes a female Whitethroat seen briefly and walking up the central path, I retraced my steps when I saw a Barn Owl hunting really close to the western path to Whitecast marshes. The Barn Owl flew and perched on a post close to the car park. But flew off east when a cape tried stalking it. I looked around Carlton Marshes couldn't see any Raft Spiders on the Scrape the young Lapwing were still around as were 3 Black- tailed Godwits in faded summer plumage. Whilst up along the river wall, 2 Wall Browns, 3 Small Tortoiseshells and around 4 male Scarce Chasers. 1 of the Chasers posed nicely for the camera. Male and female Banded Demoiselle seen too.

Ness Point wildlife

Adult Black Redstart seen at Ness Point on Sunday afternoon in the murk. On Monday 29th on asunder evening, 2 Painted Lady butterflies flying around the Red Valerian mostly settled on the path on the south side of the Orbis Energy centre.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Grounded

What seems like the third spring/ summer bank holiday (Easter & August last year) on the trot with car problems I was restricted to wildlife jaunts within walking distance. On Sunday 28th May at about 10.34am- 11.15am a fine Small Copper butterfly was seen on the Red Valerian in the garden (definitely not far to walk there!), it spent most of its time on here posing nicely for the camera but had occasional jaunts over to other flowers too. At around 3pm in the afternoon, our cat Comet was interested in something in the bushes and I went to investigate and an Eyed Hawkmoth suddenly flopped onto the ground, I saw it for around 10 seconds before it flew off unscathed and it therefore sadly eluded the camera. On Monday, at around 11.30am on Fallowfields, I saw an initially wary female Broad- bodied Chaser but eventually she settled on a perch and posed very nicely for the camera.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

At a packed Carlton Marshes tonight!

At a packed Carlton Marshes tonight, I drove up seeing a chap hanging around the barrier by the deserted building, yet another one the 300/400mm brigade. He told me the Little Owl had been perched on the building but had flown back to trees by the silo. I saw the super Little Owl perched on an ivy clad branch. I walked around and saw the Owl again perched on a branch. Meanwhile a rather faded Painted Lady, I heard Cuckoo and walking up to the scrape I heard a Yellow Wagtail and saw it perched on the overhead power line. On the scrape around 3 Lapwing chicks were seen along with 2 adults. Meanwhile looking back over Share marsh, a Barn Owlflew along the eastern edge. Back on the scrape 9 Black- tailed Godwit all fine summer plumaged birds flew around. By the western edge of the scrape first one and then 2 Hare were seen. A Cuckoo was seen perched on powerlines enabled a quite close approach the only problem was the light was fading.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Priory garden at East Ruston

On Sunday 21st May, I took Jenny to the fine Priory garden at East Ruston. There is always some wildlife to see here. I was delighted to see a male Smooth Newt in one of the ponds (bricked round edge. that Jenny originally spotted it simply swam out from under a leaf then disappeared under it again. Another more natural looking pond with boarded viewing area one side actually showed around 8 Smooth Newts and 3 males and around 5 females seen swimming around. 1 male and 1 female were often quite close to the surface. 2 swam together for a while. At a third bricked edge pond another 3 Smooth Newts seen and 1 swam up the edge close to the waters edge by a large Ramshorn Snail. Also by some Lavender flowers up to 4 flighty Painted Ladies and 1 Red Admiral plus a brief male Orange Tip flew past. A Swallow perched on top a new aviary and a male Dunnock sang constantly atop a gated pillar.

Potter Heigham Marshes at last!

Just after 4pm on Saturday 20th May, I decided to take a look at Potter Heigham marshes. I took the track immediately after (north) of Potter Heigham Bridge which was just about drivable but the first part of the track was a little hairy and the way I went back (kindly advised by Rob & Andrew) taking a track north half way along the straight bit and coming out past the farm and at Potter Heigham Church was a much better route. Everyone who had kindly advised me where to go had been correct and I had wrongly assumed the scrapes were west instead of east of Potter Heigham bridge. I parked the car at the end and took the 20 minute walk wandering around in a circular route. This was a really impressive area of habitat and we hope Carlton marshes extra scrapes will be like this and host a similar spectacular amount of birds too. 3 big scrape areas were seen and by a spit, it was obvious that the fine Caspian Tern was stated albeit a sleep. A big tern dwarfing even the BH Gulls, it promptly work up sporting its big carrot orange bill which it defending itself from birds flying low overhead. 3 fine Spoonbills stood at the back and I was just about to look at them when the heavens opened and I had to take refuge under some bushes just by the path. There were breeding 4 Lapwings here and 1 or two young Lapwing chicks were seen. I met Jeremy G by a group of people and as we walked to check out the first Scrape, a Painted Lady butterfly flew and perched in a hedge opposite which was it preferred resting place as it kept returning here. Jeremy also spotted a fine distant Kingfisher perched on top of a metal post which I saw through his scope. Also here was a rather drab looking male Garganey swimming at the back, Plus on the first pool around 8 Ringed Plovers and summer plumaged Dunlin. I also heard the calling "chuff-iff-iff" of a Wood Sandpiper but sadly not seen. Walking back to the original scrape, a resplendent male Ruff in all his finery in black and chestnut fancy ornate plumage dressed like a Tudor begarbed noble, stood by the edge of the spit by the Caspian Tern and 2 Reeves stood near him. Immediately a Barn Owl flew past really close along the dyke but alas too quick for the camera. It was later seen flying out of bushes as I retraced my steps on the path back. As I drove back I saw Jeremy G watching a flash in the field north of the track, I heard the 7 note call of a Whimbrel but alas also not seen. A really impressive area but access is a little difficult and parking strictly limited too.

Foulden Common, Weeting & Santon Downham

On Saturday 20th May a trip to Foulden Common, with the gold old team of John H, Tim H and the very welcome addition of Bob C (directions to the common: travel past the village and the public house and from the outskirts of the village its a 1/3 of a mile or 1/4 mile from the village sign travelling past an open area and then wooded area by the first bends park on the left in a bowl shaped grassy area which can take 5 sensible parked cars- using your bins you should see the Foulden Common sign around 50 yards away) by the village of Foulden a fine Red Kite circled low over the buildings here. We walked out into the common lots of grassland bordered by bushes looks a great place. After we had walked around 100 yards I was lucky enough to spot the first of our 2 target species, a pretty Grizzled Skipper perched on a bright yellow buttercup! A really attractive little butterfly brown with creamy specks on the wings. As it was still fairly early around 9.30am the sun hadn't yet broken through the partially cloudy sky, the Skipper posed nicely for the camera before it flew a short way further along, where John, Tim & Bob caught up with it. By the far side around 500 yards walk from the entrance we saw our next target, a fine Dingy Skipper, a fairly non- descript brownish butterfly but nice all the same. Then 2 Dingy Skipper flew up together in circling flight. Whilst a tattier Grizzled was seen in the corner. We walked over to the side by some flowering gorse and 2 fine Green Hairstreaks. Not to be outdone, a Small Copper posed nicely at the side. More Grizzled & Dingy Skippers seen half way back and near the entrance first one then 2 Grizzled Skippers seen and first 1 then 2 Dingy Skippers seen. First one then 2 Brimstone seen near the entrance rounding off a super first trip to this site. Next stop was Weeting Heath, where saw a locally rare micro moth. In the car park, 2 Goldcrests were twittering and perched on weeds by the entrance, whilst an adult and a fledgling Mistle Thrush were seen high up in the the tall one trees just right of the car aprk. The Stone Curlews weren't on the usual field. If we looked opposite the car park, we eventually saw a fine Stone Curlew moving slowly be a small gorse bush where it promptly disappeared. After 10 minutes it popped out again and showed well albeit distantly. A quick look at Santon Downham walking from the car park, literally 30 yards along first one the 2 Wood Larks flew away from the track showing in the rough ground giving good scope views. Not wishing to disturb them, we moved further on. John found a 'Wasp Hoverfly' which I photographed. Cuckoo heard almost constantly, but no sign of any hoped for Tree Pipits.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Trip-less Dotterel & Garganey pair

On Saturday 13th May, it was a poor day weatherise, however I managed up to 3 Swift flying over the house, plus a group of 9 House Martins and a single Swallow flying over and calling plus a showy Frog by the fish pond and a male Orange Tip flew through the garden too. On Sunday 14th May in the afternoon, I visited Tinkers Marshes viewing 400 yards west of the Bailey bridge, in a ploughed field we saw first one Dotterel, an immaculately plumaged female and then I spotted a second Dotterel very distant, but paler and appeared to be a male, reasonable especially when it clouded up viewing conditions were much better when the heat haze dissapated. At Kessingland Sewage Works very little bird wise save for a singing Lesser Whitethroat that remained safely hidden but when I walked back it flew out in front of the bushes and back a few metres revealing itself. I saw Paul & Jane F and as we stood chatting, first a male Orange Tip flew by on several occasions, never settling. The 2 fine Brimstones flew around too. At Lound at Blue Doors Loke, I saw first a male Garganey dabbling at the edge of the weedy area it then swam back and swam under an overhanging bush, the female Garganey was still there dabbling before it too joined the male underneath the bush too.

Mystery Warbler in Sparrow's Nest top loop trail

On Wednesday 10th May, after Carlton Marshes I went straight over to Sparrow's Nest where Andrew E had what he thought was a Greenish W. The bird was quickly located in the very top canopy of a large tree in the middle of the top loop track. It certainly looked the part being very clean underneath with creamy yellow vent and what looked like a dark eye stripe and a whitish super cilia. From the angle of viewing you couldn't differentiate side- on specifically the wings to see if there was a wing bar and it didn't call either, unhelpfully. It could well have been a Northern Scandinavian Willow W, maybe we will never know.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Temminck's Stint at Carlton Marshes

Another great Andre w find,a Temminck's was my next quest and having finished work early today, Wednesday 10th May 1.30pm, I was able to enjoy a gloriously sunny and spring like day our first for over 2 weeks at Carlton Marshes. The reserve was looking pukka following the visit by Matt Baker and BBC's Countryfile the day before pity they hadn't had better weather. Looking over from the path by Spreatts Water, a Cuckoo was seen perched in an alder but calling almost constantly and keeping a fair distance away. It flew past reasonably close but too quick to take the camera off the tripod and try a few shots. Having seen Carl B and Eric P, I knew the bird was still there and arriving at the southern end of the scrape viewing just past the bridge, the fine Temminck's Stint suddenly came out feeding unobtrusively and almost crouching as it fed by the side of the island. Nice pale mousey brown back with a few dark feathers. It then walked deeper into the grass and promptly disappeared. meanwhile up to 2 Yellow Wagtails seen on the scrape a vocal and active bright individual and later on a paler bird feeding close to us. Later a calling Curlew flew in and settled on the back pool and later still, the 7 note whistler, a Whimbrel called and flew off south. Later on around a dozen Black- tailed Godwits flew in at the back. Good to see Alison & Chris A and the newly arrived Paul & Jane F. Alison rang me to say they just had a Whinchat on the western fence of the scrape and sure enough walking up we were treated to good views of this bird perched on the fence. Chris D who was also present kindly shouted Andrew E had just found a probable Greenish at the top loop track at Sparrows Nest and thanking Chris we left to go and investigate.

Waxwings in May

On Tuesday 9th May, I drove up to 25 Beccles Road, Southtown parking up at the end of Church road and walking up to the aforementioned address. As yesterday no sign of the Waxwings on the Cotoneaster bush in the pocket handkerchief sized front "garden" but by an alleyway opposite were 2 birders looking up in the trees. A sure sign of success and it was good to see pioneer digiscoper Danny P as one of the duo. I could see the Waxwing perched high up in the tree it flew to the next accompanying roadside tree and it was joined by a second Waxwing. They then flew over the road and started feeding on the Cotoneaster berries before worryingly flew back low over the road and fortunately missing contact with the constantly traffic on both lanes. Easily my latest ever in spring. No pics as I looked just after work.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

On Sunday 7 May, a visit to Corton OSW at 11.30am I bumped into James B at the churchyard who was then leaving. At the southern end of the OSW compound I saw Craig and he pointed a fine male Whinchat perched on the fence, it later seen on the grass in the compound, we also saw both a male and female so 2 Wheatear within the compound. Meanwhile around 15 Sand Martin flying around the compound and nearby fields. Plus I could hear at least 1 possibly 2 Lesser Whitethroats with their rattling call. from the nearby hedge. 1 Long- tailed Tit seen. Ali R and Maurice B had arrived and I walked down the hedgerow lane and I spotted the fine male Redstart fly across to the north-west corner of the sewage works. I called Ali could then rang Maurice B and I gestured to Craig and we all enjoyed great views of this bird as it flitted about perched in the hedgerow and occasionally from the bare branches. A Goldfinch seen calling as I walked back.