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Showing posts from October, 2010

Border-Hopping

As is the norm for half-term, I spent some of the time back home in Suffolk visiting parents and getting the car nursed for the winter. Mother had not yet caught up with the King Eider that has been lingering off Dunwich, and frankly I was keen for better views than I had managed earlier in the year at West Runton.
From Dunwich beach, I picked up the bird distantly loafing near the sluice, so we walked south for better views. The scrape had a few duck on it, along with 5 Bewick Swans, which clearly suggests we are in for a terrible winter. By now, the Eider could be considered to be lingering off Sizewell, so the hoped for amazing views were not really obtained. Better than nothing, that's King Eider in 2 counties this year!
We searched for the reported Rough Legged Buzzard pair near Reydon, but only managed a glimpse of a distant Buzzard sp. Westleton Heath was short of a Shrike, but we enjoyed watching a Red Deer stag and his harem from the deer watch point.
Lackford Lakes is a c…

Wet and Windy

An Autumnal feel to the day. The warm coat was dug out of the cupboard under the stairs, and the rain stopped for long enough to allow a blustery walk round Surlingham Church Marsh. The main action was on the river today, starting with a Great Crested Grebe. This adult moulting into winter plumage had two, then one young back in late summer; hopefully at least one fledged successfully. A noisy Kingfisher was glimpsed, finally on the patch list. Wildfowl numbers were at an all time low, and the only birds seen around the lagoon were 3 Reed Bunting and a single Grey Heron. Wondering where all the ducks were, a flock of 15 Wigeon called overhead and refused to settle, clearly unimpressed with the lack of grazing potential. (We could do with some more scrub removal though, the Cattle are having to work over-time). This was another new bird for the patch, so certainly not an afternoon wasted.
The 2009 Norfolk Bird Report has just been published, hoping to pick up a copy from John Lewis.

Cottages, cemeteries and marshes.

Waxham was quiet around Shangri La, although I left feeling a little guilty that I had not been able to put the time in today. Various stops to look for Cranes for my visiting family drew a blank.
Great Yarmouth cemetery proved to be a good move, for after much searching we latched onto a tit flock which comprised a beautiful Yellow Browed Warbler and a brief Firecrest. Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Redwing and Song Thrush made for a very rewarding couple of hours.
Buckenham Marshes was windswept, perhaps leading to the now resident Peregrine positioning herself on the ground sheilded by the cattle. 3 Ruff were here also.
Surlingham seemed lively, and it was no suprise when I located 3 Brambling amongst some Thrushes feeding on berries. Another patch tick! Good to see they are now filtering inland, never tire of seeing them. The finale was a bit special however, a female Hen Harrier over the reeds until dusk. My run of good birds here continues, this the best of the lot. My thoughts are …

Tough luck out east ends with a flourish

An enjoyable if tough couple of days birding around Waxham and Happisburgh. Highlights included 3 Redstart at Happisburgh, large numbers of Brambling, Siskin, Song Thrush, Redwing, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, my earliest Fieldfare ever, Hen Harrier at Waxham and finally a Hooded Crow in a ploughed field, also Waxham.
It was amazing to be out in fall conditions, and the opportuntity to observe Siskin, Brambling and Chaffinch so close was a real treat. A little gutted not to have turned up a rare Pipit or Warbler, but nonetheless a memorable couple of days in the field. Every bush flicked or ticked, the horizon often covered in Pink Footed and Brent Geese.
To finish with the Hoodie was the highlight. I pulled up at the road-side pull in, just south of Shangri La. I could see a few Crows, Lapwing and Goldies out on the ploughed field, so decided to have a scan before walking to the beach. Another birder was present, who said he thought he might have seen a Hooded Crow, but his optics weren…

Surlingham this evening 07/10/10

The light was fading as I observed my latest patch tick- a Little Owl, perched on a fence post out on the grazing land. A satisfying find; the habitat looked spot on for this species, and I hope now that a breeding pair will become vocal in the Spring. It also struck me that it had been some time since I had good views of a Little Owl. No doubt this species goes under-recorded, since many pairs breed on private parkland or agricultural land. Great to have this species at Surlingham. Earlier in the evening, I had been watching 2 Bearded Tits from the hide (heard only before today) along with a glimpse of a Reed Bunting. Quite a contrast to the owl, which says a lot for the varied habitat in a relatively small area. The reserve is slowly revealing itself, and with evidence of further flooding, who knows what could be next.....

Out of tune at Holkham forces local action.

OK, so this has moreorless been done to death on Birdforum, but it would seem there was something of a mishap regarding Hippo id at Holkham on Saturday. It would seem that an Icterine Warbler was indeed seen early doors, and this individual did not hang around. However, a report of a Melodious Warbler bought out the crowds, and understandably so. Hoping to see a county mega, I ditched the trip to the east coast (mistake) and joined the throngs. On arrival, most were standing around in hope, and word on the track was that the reported Melodious was optimistic at best. Not one to linger, I spent a good hour round the cross-tracks hoping for the YBW that was reported earlier that morning. I settled for a good haul of common migrants in the bushes including Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Bullfinch, lots of Goldcrest and c10 Siskin.
Good to see Connor, James and Gary at the 'ghost' twitch, and the north coast is a premier birding venue, but the crowds of people at the pine w…