Monday, 28 March 2011

Surlingham 27/03/11

Taking advantage of the extra light in the evening, and avoiding the gun club, I headed out for a Sunday evening stroll round the patch. I expect the Chiffchaffs have been here for most of the week, but I counted 3 birds on site, one in particular showing well. Also from the scrub, 2 of both Reed Bunting and Bullfinch. Across on the mud at Wood's End, the faithful Green Sandpipers were present, just 2 today though. On the river, a Great Crested Grebe was behaving with some attitude, and I noticed that the nest (or beginnings of a nest) had disappeared. Perhaps the female had fallen prey to a fox, and the male was starting over again. 4 Shovelor on the lagoon were new for the year, as was a flyover Herring Gull. A couple of Cettis called and a Chinese Water Deer gave good views. Later, presumably the same animal was chasing a smaller individual, crashing through the reedbed, oblivious to my presence. 2 Snipe flew over and the 4 Lapwing remain. Finishing just off the reserve boundary, I watched a Barn Owl hunt the riverside at close quarters. A Little Egret flew towards the marsh to round off a good species haul. Grebe and the deer:

Sunday, 20 March 2011

In search of Black Redstarts

The Marrams at Sea Palling is a favoured spot of mine for a venture east, and in the past has been a good spot for Black Redstart. One or two have filtered through on the pager of late, but other than to check whats about and what I can expect, I'm not really a pager birder. I set out to find my own. As luck would have it, a striking male was present in one of the gardens, and here he is:



Tim informed me more were present, but were not found during our short stint. We continued on for a look round Eccles, a place I plan to focus on during Spring, if the birds will allow. No Black Reds this time, but 2 good candidates for White Wagtail in a flock of Pied. See what you think, any comments welcome, but the right hand bird looks good to me, as did another out of shot. I realise there is some confusion with 1st summer female Pieds, but the pale grey back contrasting with dark head appeared to be in place.

Happisburgh was not quite so productive. James had seen some Lapland Bunting earlier in the day, but on arrival to a patch of tilled field near the coast watch 2 probable birds lifted off and flew overhead. That was that then! Few Linnet through and a distant raptor hunting mipits was probably a Sparrowhawk.
A Barn Owl was hunting near Crostwick about an hour ago. A good weekend, sure signs that things are moving now.

Surlingham Church Marsh Wader Scrape!


The reserve seemed a little quiet on entrance at around 4.30pm yesterday; the usual Tits were calling but no Bullfinch from the usual spot or Siskin.
Viewing the marsh across to Wood's End got the pulse quickening: 4 small waders were on the muddy puddle! At first glance I was convinced there were 2 Green Sandpiper and 2 Redshank, since 2 birds were bobbing up and down, and 2 just weren't. However, the birds soon took flight and began calling, heading in the direction of the main lagoon.
On approaching the lagoon, I could hear Lapwing displaying and there were now 4 birds here. The water levels do change frequently, so I would be a little concerned if they did nest here, but at the same time hopeful! the 4 waders were here, and they were indeed Green Sandpiper. A site record! Gadwall, Teal and Mallard dabbled here and there along with the usual 2 pairs of Coot and a pair of Moorhen. The first of the days mammal sightings was a Chinese Water Deer, a large individual and probably a male. The waders fed for a while as the light faded, eventually flying off high towards Wheat Fen.
A Long overdue year tick then arrived in the form of 4 Snipe, grunting as they flew over head. A Meadow Pipit was seen in the old roost spot and a Pied Wagtail was heard. Continuing round, the sun now setting, another Water Deer was seen feeding, this time most likely a female. 13 Fieldfare were on the hill, and I wondered if these would be the last I would see until the Autumn. A fitting finale was a Barn Owl hunting over the reedbed.
Driving home, 2 Bats were out and about hunting a hedgerow near Bramerton. The marshes at Rockland and Claxton were quiet save for a gathering of Mute Swans.
Barn Owl at dusk


Yet to be Identified!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Wood's End and Surlingham, 13/03/11



Decided it was time to search for a Lesser Pecker within and around the patch, ideal habitat alongside the Yare and plenty of deadwood. I should say now that the search was fruitless, but did throw up some good habo and a few decent birds for the area.
Wood's End had a large flock of Siskin in a small conifer plantation, and a Nuthatch called from within. A Common Buzzard called overhead, and was seen again from the pub- I will keep an eye on this a potential breeding site. Great Spotted Pecker showed well, and my second Brimstone Butterfly in 2 days passed through- stealing a march, or so I thought! My first was seen from the staffroom yesterday, not all bad on the Western Front then.

Surlingham was looking pristine in the sunshine, and approaching the lagoon I could hear Lapwing- usually across river at Wood's End- and then a familiar call which I almost ignored, but then realised where I was.....Redshank! Never actually saw it, but still a new bird for the patch.
A pair of Sparrowhawk soared overhead, and further round the circuit a Kestrel hovered over the marsh. Where had this lot been for the past 2/3 months?! Despite hearing the Redshank, bird of the day went to a Little Egret hunting on the smaller lagoon, viewed from the hill. 2 Reed Bunting could be seen from here, and a Cettis sang with purpose for the first time this year.

Today, I happened across a Reeve's Pheasant, somewhere in The Brecks........although not the bird reported by RBA, an invasion perhaps!


Church Marsh

Little Egret at a distance.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

BBRC Work in progress

http://www.bbrc.org.uk/workinprogress.htm

All birds currently being assessed by the BBRC, if you are into that sort of thing.
Searching by county (Norfolk) some absolute crackers in there, including Masked Booby, Eleonora's Falcon, Red-necked Stint and a couple of Savi's Warblers, all from last year. Of particular interest for me were the Savi's, both at Broadland sites (one undisclosed, and no doubt good reason behind this decision). Reminds me that the breeding season is not far away, and the patch could yield who knows what.......early June, warm evening, a 'reel' from the reedbed that doesn't sound quite right for Gropper........why not?!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Strumpshaw Fen 06/03/10

Currently a popular destination for us on a Sunday!
Highlights today included stonking views of 3 male Bullfinch feeding in bushes at the start of the Meadow Trail. Probably the best views of Bullfinch I have ever had! Later presumably the same 3 flew over our heads, heading across the river I would guess. A single Marsh Harrier was pursued by a Crow from Fen Hide, and here Gadwall and Teal were quite confiding. Back at the vistor centre, a single Marsh Tit was heard then seen around the feeders amongst the commoner species. Bittern had been seen in the morning and Brambling had apparently been seen near the feeders, but not by us.