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Showing posts from January, 2012

An update of minuscule importance

Common Cranes being hoaxed, a Spanish Sparrow shagging our Sparrows, a Long-eared Owl at a 'secret' mid-Norfolk location and an Iceland Gull influx are just some of the stories emanating from Norfolk and further afield. These tales all share one thing- I have nothing to do with any of them! Post-OFSTED I am just happy to be alive, my last few weeks have seen me struggling to maintain a work-life balance. However, I put all of that behind me today with a jaunt to Happisburgh. I searched the cliff face in hope of Snow Bunting or maybe Twite, but had to settle for James and Ossie out for a walk! The Scoter flock at sea numbered around 60, and after flying landed close in next to a Red-throated Diver. James picked out a dark looking Herring Gull with a streaky head, probably one of those Argentatus things.
We then drove further inland, searching some farmland. A Common Buzzard was harassed by one very persistent Crow, and a second Barn Owl of the day was seen. 2 Kestrels were seen…

Weekend Mutterings

Genuinely good session at Surlingham Saturday morning, regardless of the season. 3 Bullfinch, a female then a pair, were a treat and ever since last December I seem to be doing well with this species, and long may it continue.  The Wood's End marshes had turned into a flash, which held c350 Black-headed Gull, a record count for the patch. 2 Kingfishers were seen on the river, one fishing from Surlingham Landspring, almost in the carpark! The common birds also seemed more evident today; Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinch overhead. 
From the hide, two (yes, two) female Marsh Harriers were hunting. Last year was a poor year for Harriers on the reserve, so this bodes well. One bird flushed 11 Snipe- another patch record. No doubt the Snipe are ever-present out there, but I have never seen a group this large. One bird looked smaller than the rest, and I instantly thought of Jack Snipe, although from experience this species does not flush so easily and if it is spooked, will only fly a …

Off and running

Well, walking really. Credit to these hardy folk who make the early start for a New Year's Day list, but I prefer the relaxed approach. A mug of tea, a Neil Young song, a read of the headlines, then I'm ready.
Surlingham the obvious venue, and with daylight burning fast the full circuit would have to wait. Wood's End again was home to good numbers of Common and Black-headed Gulls and flocks of 35 Fieldfare and 10 Redwing flew overhead. A distant raptor that upset the Gulls was probably a Harrier. 150 Greylag were counted, not the complete flock. 2 Great-crested Grebe were on the river. More birds for the year list included Cettis Warbler and Green Woodpecker. An unexpected sight was a murmuration of c5,000 Starlings over Wood's End, later seen behind the ruins of St. Saviours. A small group of c100 is often seen around the reserve, but nothing on this scale.

We popped out for a couple of hours this afternoon, Spring clean complete.
Beginning at Barton Broad, 2 Marsh Ha…

On the eve of 2012

Couple of days birding in The Broads to report back on, and some thoughts on 2012, if you care for them. 
On the 30th, Debs and I again visited the ruins of St. Benet's abbey. We were treated to views of a Short-eared Owl soon after arriving, whilst two Barn Owls seemed to work a circuit around us, our company for the evening. The Shortie was proving elusive, but was eventually tracked down at rest on a perch, offering cracking views. Another 'eared-Owl' was seen briefly along the adjacent dyke, and 4+ Marsh Harriers flew into roost. As with last time, a steady stream of Cormorants overhead- just where do they go? 
Yesterday, I was keen to finish the year with a trip to Surlingham Church Marsh. Barely a bird on the reserve, the limited action was on the river and meadows. 2 Little Grebe, 2 Great-crested Grebe and some Ducks were on the Yare, and across at Wood's End the feral Greylag flock was out in force, along with a good dosage of Gulls- perhaps a chance of something…