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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Around Westleton Way

On Saturday 8th April, I started at Wrentham looking for the escaped Black Kite, no luck with that, although 2 Chiff- Chaffs heard, although I did bump into Paul & Jane F which turned out to be a very fortuitous meeting. Next stop was the Westleton area, an initial look I could hear 2 Wood Larks but I couldn't locate them, as I was sticking strictly to the public footpath and it was potential breeding habitat. Another southern area from here, I bumped into a Nature group he pointed out a good area for Adders, initially I didn't see any. I did see several Linnets, including 1 returning to a same area of gorse that I kept clear of. I met up with Paul & jane F, who had just seen ten minutes ago, a Raven going north, as we split up, I looked in the corner by a bench near a bracing area and was delighted to see a male Adder moving away to under a gorse bush. I called them over but was the only one toes it briefly under the gorse bush. Spreading out again, Jane called me over and we could see a Male Adder "hidden" in the leaf litter as it showed around 8 inches of its body clearly visible which was flatten to increase the surface area to warm up. Paul arrived and as we looked suddenly out of nowhere, or under the leaf litter o be precise a female Adder (with brown zigzag striping) appeared and curled around the male who now appeared and they both moved deeper into the bush. As we moved away, another male Adder (probably the original one I had observed) moved to our right. Paul then spotted a bird in the sky, he said I've got something here, I looked it was all black, Buzzard- sized (indeed when compared with a nearby Buzzard it appeared the same size) and a very obvious diamond shaped tail I said "It's a Raven!" it circled several times and then flew purposefully east and then south. It showed a jowly jowl, thick black beak. Splitting up again briefly behind an area of gorse along the northern edge, I spotted a fine Brimstone. Paul and Jane then took me to an area where they had seen Wood Larks. It was clearly a feeding area and not breeding habitat, as we walked along a public footpath bordering some bare arable fields with a few very isolated grassy clumps (around 5% coverage of the field) dotted about. Jane spotted them first, 2 fine Wood Larks and we were around 100 feet away from them and they fed totally unconcerned by us. After a while one flew up to a dead tree and staying strictly on the footpath, I managed to obtain a few shots from about 100 feet away (I enclose an uncropped pic, remember I am using a 500mm lens with 1.4 converter attached on a 7D Mark II with 1.6X crop and not a full frame camera); from the angle of the pic you can see its taken from some distance away as the perch was around 18 feet high) and still on the public footpath, it even briefly called for 10 seconds a bit of its sub song. It stayed on its perch for around 5 minutes, before it flew down to the arable field rejoining the other bird and again if anything, both birds were even closer to the public footpath than before, but slightly obscured by vegetation, and all 3 of us left not wanting to disturb either bird from the footpath where we had remained during the whole period of observation, we finally left both birds still feeding away undisturbed in the field. An Henham quarry road, I spotted a fine male Orange tip butterfly fly across the road.

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