Tuesday, 4 May 2021
On Tuesday 4th May no sign of the Goosander at Oulton Broad on a very windy but bright early morning, again no sign on Wednesday 5th May, another bright morning still no Goosander but a Common Tern flew by and a calling Common Sandpiper flew onto the wooden jetty by the Sailing club only flying when the camera came out (typically!), but I did find out the Kingfisher spot although no sign when I looked. UPDATE: Probably still around hiding Richard S saw it the previous evening near Dead end or the extreme north part of Oulton Broad
Monday, 3 May 2021
On Bank Holiday Mayday Monday 3rd, I ventured to Oulton Broad first thing keen to get shots of the male Goosander which was lying on the concrete jetty just south of the Oulton Broad sailing club, unfortunately just as I hobbled over, a chap was cutting the grass and it flopped down into the water. The bird was showing well swimming just off shore it swam to the sailing club, I tweeted the news out and within 20 minutes Rob H and David B & his wife appeared, it swam really close into the slipway just south of the sailing club giving great views but the light still wasn't great. Rob spotted a Common Sandpiper flying west over the far side and I spotted a Common Tern flying on Oulton Broad by the Yacht jetty wooden pontoon area in the southern corner. Unfortunately the hour was up and I had to move my car (bad mistake photography wise but I would have definitely got a ticket If I had left it, knowing my luck) and surprise, surprise the sun came out just as I had left and Rob had the bird back on the concrete jetty, but it was back on the water when I hobbled back and the wonderful sun lasted all of 3 minutes for me before it clouded over again. Although the bird was around 15 metres out on the water giving great views the cloudy weather meant no further pics, sadly. Walking back I heard a Common Sandpiper calling but failed to see it. I then joined James B at Baker's Score at Corton and saw around 35 Sandwich Tern flying south in total. Plus 2 very brief Common Scoter on the sea. A Whimbrel flying south was also another nice spot. Finally 2 Shelduck flew south. Best seawatch for years! A look around the North Denes, the caravan parks, Oval, fenced in compound and Netposts was typically almost birdless with 3 Stock Dove on the Oval, 4 Ringed Plovers flew north from the beack over the seawall, 3 Linnet at Netposts and a Muntjac Deer nonchalently walking east along the path (which runs parallel with Bird's Eye) being the only birds/ animal of note. A brief look at Gunton woodland burial before rain stopped play included 3 Wheatears amongst the graves in the middle.
Sunday, 2 May 2021
On Sunday 2nd May, a second look at the Early Purple Orchids at Sotterley, I managed to secure extra shots but had to drive back to Oulton Broad again as Kevin B. had seen the Goosander back at Oulton Broad. As I arrived I witnessed a horrific attack dog on dog (both dogs were on leads but both sets of owners seemed oblivious to it and the attacking dog drew blood from the other, the owner of the attacking dog said "he's only drawn a little blood, no apologies!!) I continued on shaken but my mood soon improved when I immediately spotted the fine male Goosander, (I'd missed twice the previous day) whose glossy velvety green hood positively glistened in the mid morning sun, only problem was it was far over the other side of Oulton Broad just west of the maltings end, it spent quite a bit of time by a wooden jetty. I watched this fine bird for 30 minutes but incrasing boat traffic meant it wouln't come any closer so I drove to Westleton and took the path to the quarry, by the usual spot I was delighted to hear 3 Nightingales, 2 were perched high up in hawthorn bushes although obscured. I was told about Little Owls further along although they didn't show for me. I did see 2 Red Deer sitting just to the left of some bushes on the ridge. I also hear the "churr" of Dartford Warblers a couple of times and even a singing male in song but they escaped observation too. A singing male Stonechat seen a couple of times by the gorse bushes. The heather had 3 Vivaparous Lizards moving about and then I heard the wonderful song of a Wood Lark and one perched on the fence line at the top of the "hill" for a few short minutes. Up to 3 Buzzard flew over too. Plus 2 Shelduck flying north slightly later. Walking back by the usual spot 2 Nightingales heard, one in a large bush near the path and one bird singing right from the top of a hawthorn but sadly the light was all wrong for photography as the weather was detioriorating rapidly, so my cue to leave.
On Saturday 1st May a drive back to Lowestoft after news that the Hoopoe had been refound at Carlton Marshes on the rough ground behind the Visitors centre and Spratt's water, I saw Paul & Jane F walking back with Andrew E who'd seen it. I walked over on a slight hill overlooking a new path that transected the eastern edge of the alder trees and the fine Hoopoe was seen by the bend of the new path on the new path and feeding on the verges, a train went past and it flew up to the alder trees before going back to the same area. We watched it again before another train this time flushed it over our heads where we where joined by Rob H and Dick F amongst others, it appeared to drop down in the horse paddocks the other side of the Lane leading to the reserve, time to walk the new path and it must be this time where I missed the Cranes that flew over as I was in woodland, bitterly disappointing to miss this, as I have frequently missed seeing this species in Lowestoft (bit like WTE's in the 21st century) the disappointment continued as we missed both the Wood Sands on Share marsh and the BH wagtail. Both ere seen slightly later, no sign when I looked. What was nice to see was a calling Yellow Wagtial flew north over the old scrape and 3 House Martins seen, rapidly forming grey cloud revealed an overflying Swift, my earliest ever and on the walk back a close reeling Grasshopper warbler was briefly seen in a small piece of scrub amongst the reeds, plus 1 Cuckoo of 3 calling Cuckoo's flew over the track and settled in a bush but disappeared before I could set the camera up, finally a brief close Chinese Water Deer. Walking back along the new track east of the alders I spotted a fine Glow Worm larvae crossing the track (sadly the macro lens was in the car), a small group of people (Rob H, Chris D, Paul & Sara) watching the Hoopoe at half the previous distance would have seen an improvement on the record shot taken earlier as it was feeding on the grassy verge by the kink in the new path but a sudden sharp shower/ hail put paid to that sadly. No sign of the Goosander on OB.
Saturday, 1 May 2021
With excellent directions from Jane F., I parked south of Sotterley, a nice confiding Red- legged Partidge was seen in the field which I photographed and I then walked down a track to be greeting with the wonderous site of around 15 Early Purple Orchids, my first flower plants of this species for 8 long years (the long gone over ones from Winks Meadow from 2019 doesn't count!). Famously called the "long purples by Shakespeare in a "little known" play called Hamlet! Always nice to see Orchids in good sunlight after a drop of rain, but after a few minutes it was rapidly clouding over and the Hoopoe had been refound at carlton Marshes and a drive back to Carlton Marshes. I will be back!
On Saturday 24th April, I cycled down to Oulton Marshes (no problem with hobbling around and big camera giving me back ache), I heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from the marsh at the bottom of the entrance hill and later by the railway line I was fortunate enough to bump into Carlton regular Phil D who pointed me in the direction of the dyke where both birds had disappeared into. One soon popped its head out and then the second of 2 Cattle Egrets (my first for Fisher Row/ Oulton Marshes) walked out showing a lovely bright buff colouration on the crown and neck denoting breeding plumage, they busily carried on feeding in front of the fence line before flying over to join the cattle a little further away, as we crossed the railway line Phil spotted an excellent male Wheatear in the field just north of the track. I bade my farewell to Phil and cycled along the river wall, I watched the Cattle Egrets feeding amongst the cattle and in the dyke again I continued cycling along the path seeing 2 Great White Egrets fly up briefly from the far end of Peto's marsh. A few 3 Chiff- Chaffs, a Sedge Warbler and Blackcap were all heard only birds but a tame Robin by the gate opposite the church entrance tried to make up for it sadly no camera with me to take advanatage of it.
Friday, 23 April 2021
On Thursday 23rd April, a nice bright evening with a cold north-easterly wind, following Rob Wil tweeting about Dolphins seen in the sea viewed from Gunton Cliffs, I tried my luck from the cliffs above the Oval but had my usual seawatching success this century ie. nothing no sign whatsover, but I did see 2 adult Gannets flying north, which were my first of the year.