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Showing posts from November, 2011

Surlingham again and life in perspective

Although Saturday morning was relatively quiet on the reserve, Surlingham has hit the headlines of late with the occurance of at least 3 Short-eared Owls. I was happy with 1, but this blog has some cracking shots of the birds, which according to the much abused sightings board in the hide, may still be present. What is interesting is that the birds are being reported roosting in scrub, which I thought was unusual for Shorties. 
Ben Lewis informed me of both flyover Pink-footed Geese and Lesser Redpoll in the scrub, neither of which I could locate on my visit, but sure signs that that elusive 100th species for the year is not far away. Good numbers of the beautiful Redwing and Fieldfare were present, and Wigeon have returned to graze on the banks of the Yare. What smart looking ducks these are, if a little cumbersome compared to the ever-present Teal. 
The Highland Cattle have been taken off grazing duty for the Winter, Matt and the team from Strumpshaw moving the animals to drier quarte…

A break in the fog and a silent flap

A weekend of monotony and illness on the couch has crept into this very week dear reader, however I did sneak out to the patch on Monday night. A walk could lead to sickness and definitely sweat, but a short hike and a stand at the vis-mig hotspot of the ruins was manageable. 
As the light dimmed, a Kestrel flew through purposefully, hoping for a last minute snack. Watching a Little Egret fish, my attention turned to a silent flap of wings: a Short-eared Owl, briefly, spooked by a dog walker,  flapped over the hedge and was lost to view. But, what a few seconds! No doubt the bird heard me exclaim "yes!" and thought better of hanging around. 
As the mist began to settle over the marsh, Snipe began to grunt in the air, unseen. Wigeon and Teal arrived to roost on the lagoon, the Wigeon particularly audible as they arrived. In the distance, but growing ever closer, the Greylag flock. Numbering around 300, it seems the group are continuing the current trend of roosting on the lagoo…

Weekend Post Two- Titchwell and Gypsy Lane

Got to say, wasn't massively keen on  joining the crowds at Titchwell today, but with relatives visiting it seemed only fair to visit a premier bird reserve, surely guaranteeing some decent birds for them.  The search began not far from the car-park, and I picked up the calling Yellow-browed Warbler that has been present for over a month now. Avoiding the ridiculous scrum in the wood, we waited by the path and eventually were rewarded with neck-aching views of this always super migrant.  A helpful member of staff alerted us to the presence of feeding Water Rail in the ditch near the centre, and we didn't have to wait long to hear the squealing call, and then this usually elusive bird fed no more than 2 metres away from us, probably my best ever views of this species.  Walking to the beach, 2 Lesser Redpoll were in bushes feeding on catkins with Goldfinch. Barely out of the car-park, and some great birds already! 100s of Golden Plover were on the scrape, and opposite were many…

Weekend Post One- Hemsby and Caister

Began my search of 'new' habitat round Hemsby and Caister. I must have been searching in the wrong area, for I did not see the Waxwings that have since been reported. However, it was Thrush city in a small copse; c50 Blackbird and a smattering of Redwing. A Bullfinch was amongst Chaffinch feeding on berries. This apparently the wood that once held Dusky, Pallas's and YBW. I can see why, I need to be hitting this every day in half term! The dunes also look decent, large-ish areas of bramble and plenty of leafy gardens for birds to hide up in.

At Caister beach, and I quickly got onto a group of 19 Snow Bunting, several showing much of their striking summer plumage, fantastic! Despite the misty conditions at sea, Red-throated Divers came past and 2 Gannets fished more distantly. A probable Red-necked Grebe was seen briefly, but I made the mistake of moving my scope. That was that! A nice suprise were a flock of 21 Barnacle Geese heading south. I had a wander round the small pa…

Patch, California, some Ducks.

Can't seem to magic a Short-eared Owl out of Surlingham at the moment, or much else for that matter. Teal are the sole representative from the Duck family on the lagoon at the moment, looking nice in their Winter plumage. 
A Kingfisher is often heard along the river, but rarely seen. A Tit flock near the church comprised Marsh, Coal, Great, Blue and many Long-tailed. 
A better evening was had last weekend, which included Barn Owl, Snipe and Greylag Geese at dusk arriving on the lagoon to roost. Close to 300 in number.


Went exploring today, first Scratby for some seawatching. Coming from Norwich, this is the nearest coastal spot for me along with Caister. I set myself up inbetween some chalets and watched the waves between 13.15 and 14.30. Here are my totals, in order of appearance:


Diver Sp. 3 North
Common Scoter 2 N
Dunlin 17N
Teal 36 N
Ringed Plover 3 N
Brent Geese 26 N
Shelduck 2 N
Med Gull 1 South
Curlew 2 N
Wigeon 20 N
Great-crested Grebe 1 N
Lapwing 1 N
Kittiwake 3 S
Red-Breasted Merganser 1…