Thursday, 15 April 2010

Brecks 14/04/10

Began at Weeting Heath, first trip for a number of years. Nothing changes- distant views of the Stone Curlews! Did have a 3-4 birds on the move before disappearing over the mound, but I could just make out one on the nest (shhhh!) for more or less the whole time we were there. A pair each of Stock Dove and Mistle Thrush more than made up the numbers, and a Marsh Tit showed well in front of the hide. No Woodlark though, hit and miss this year according to the warden.
Lynford was quiet, save for Treecreepers and Nuthatch. 'Nuff said.
Santon Downham threatened to go much the same way, until the next big thing on the birding scene, my cousin of 10, called 'Redpoll!' Sure enough, he had spotted 3 birds nearby, but the noise from a little further away suggested more were close by, and a 50-strong flock of Lesser Redpoll was located. Fidgety, sociable birds, great to watch. In the same tree, 3 Common Crossbill were observed. Things had picked up.
East Wretham Heath held the commoner woodland species, and suprisingly our first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the day. Thinking back, no drumming heard at Santon Downham of either spotted species. Have they had a hard winter?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

13/04/10 Waxham

All seemed quiet in the county, if you go by the pager that is. Must be some birds out there? A walk through the marrams towards the pipe dump at Waxham reeked of potential, complete with biting NNE wind! Early signs were not promising, just the resident Chaffinches and LT Tits. On approaching the pipe dump, memories flooded back of the possible Semi-collared Flycatcher I saw here a year (or more?) ago. These bushes needed careful attention. A Willow Warbler gave a burst of song, and was then easily located. A second bird was seen in the adjacent bush, and further down the track another put in a showing to make it a hat-trick. The chicken paddocks (!) held 3 Stonechat on the fence and 2 male Marsh Harriers put in an appearance, one resting for awhile amongst the chickens! A Kestrel breezed through and was suitably grilled, and the resident Skylarks made a fuss of the windy conditions.
Decided a quick stop at Shrangri La was in order (a holiday bungalow with a rare looking garden before you ask) and this was a wise decision. Just north, in the garden of the smaller bungalow, was a Ring ouzel. Job done! It didn't hang around, the chack-chack call was audible as the bird disappeared into the scrub, I had been able to watch it for no more than 2 minutes.
A sparrowhawk on the drive back could not have been more confiding, perched, as I crept up on it in the car. Needed a camera, memory will have to suffice.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Happisburgh

Went out looking for raptors and rouzels. Located neither, but nonetheless a fulfilling afternoon.
A short walk to the coast watch point and today the paddocks held some birds, 2 Skylark (one spring bird minus crest that had me going) and a Pied Wagtail. Where was the Yellow Wagtail I had hoped for? A Chinese Water Deer had somehow remained hidden and shot off on noticing me. 2 Sand Martins breezed over the paddocks as I headed back to the car. My first of the year.
The cliffs were devoid of birds, although there were a number of large flocks of Woodpigeons in the lighthouse field. The gulls on the groynes gave me a headache, so onto Doggetts lane. The outward leg of the walk produced little, 2 Meadow Pipits and 1 White Wagtail. However, the return journey held 3 Wheatears right at the end of the lane back near the clifftop walk, and 6 Mipits feeding together suggested a small fall. Accompanied by Skylark song the whole way, the Wheatears capped off a nice trundle about.
Butterflys today- a Brimstone at Little Melton this morning and a Peacock at Happisburgh.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Stiffkey Fen

The weather was so good today, easily made up for failing to connect with the Iberian Chiffchaff. I figured a late morning start would fit in with the continental relaxed way of life, cant imagine a Chiffchaff from Spain or Portugal hurrying up. Timing was irrelevant since the bird had not been heard of seen since yesterday evening. Oh well, still plenty to see here. A Willow Warbler nipped in and out of the bushes, and a Common Chiffchaff called. On The Fen: 4 Med Gulls, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, Ringed Plover and lots of Avocets and Black Tailed Godwits. A Swallow flew through.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Return to Kessingland

03/04/10
Made an early (ish) start today, heading back down the A146 in hope of seeing the Pallid Swift after my dip earlier in the week. It was a brisk morning, and I was lucky to miss the rain. A trudge down Marsh Lane, and almost straight away there it was; another new bird from the med, my first Pallid Swift! I enjoyed the bird amongst a small group of birders for almost three quarters of an hour, challenging myself to keep the bird in scope view for as long as possible. On more than one occassion, the bird flew over my head and I was able to make out the white stain on its chin and neck. I felt the wings were a little broader than on Common Swift, and after checking my Collins guide back in the car, I wasn't wrong. Stubby wings rather than pointed were also clear to see. The grey sky behind the bird allowed for a look at the black-washed-with-brown colour.
3 ticks in a week, and on the drive back I thought about my favourite. Whilst I am thrilled and lucky to have Lesser Kestrel on my British list, views were distant and whilst I am sure it IS a stonking bird, I can't say I felt that on the day.
The Pallid was subtle, a birder's bird, a treat to watch and study. Still not my favourite.
The Alpine Swift, with its contrasting colours and acrobatics over Cromer town centre, will leave me with the most satisfying memories of the 3. This WAS a stonker, and whilst by no means the rarest of the 3 contenders, I found it an unforgettable bird for all the right reasons.
Birding ended early today, attention now turns to Old Trafford. Hopefully Berbatov is awake today, I fancy he will be.