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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.