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Showing posts from February, 2012

Two-barred tales and British life birds.

A busy end to the half term week, which had already gotten off to a good start with the Arctic Redpoll. 
On Thursday, I called in at Hardley Flood on route to Suffolk. Always seems to be a good variety of birds on offer here, and today was no exception. c70 Pintail and Shelduck were on the flood, 100's of Teal, a smattering of Wigeon and a few Great-crested Grebe. Not the hoped for Divers and Sawbills, but half decent nonetheless. 8 Curlew dropped onto marshy land on the other side of the river, and a Kingfisher was seen hunting along a dyke. A female Marsh Harrier finished off proceedings nicely.

Back home with the folks, my car was serviced quicker than I expected which allowed me to head to Felixstowe Ferry for a potential British lifer: Red-breasted Goose. Locating the Brent flock harbouring the bird was easy; locating the RBG not so! Took me a while to find it, being slightly smaller and often sat down meant it was easy to miss. Not sure being with a Brent flock as a carrier sp…

Kelling Redpoll

Took a trip to Kelling this morning to hopefully connect with the Arctic Redpoll which has been in the area since at least January. We arrived around half 10, found the feeders and quickly got onto the bird in question. Very smart, distinctive plumage; a classic Arctic! The bill was noticeably smaller, more squashed than the Lesser Redpoll feeding alongside. The white rump, fluffed up appearance and overall cold, grey-white tones made this an easy one to ID. The Coue's seemed to more than hold its own amongst the Lessers, not afraid to defend a spot on the feeder. Also of interest were how variable the Lessers were, one individual showing a large amount of white on the wing, more than I have seen on this species previously. 4 More birders then arrived and the Arctic became more elusive, so we headed to the water meadows.
Debs picked out 2 more Lesser Redpolls along the track, before arriving at the pool. 300+ Brent Geese were on the field behind, and closer in were 15 Pink Feet. Ot…

And the purple patch continues

A break in the rain and back to the patch this afternoon. Ricky was already onsite, looking for my Northern Bullfinch from earlier. He had seen 3 Bullfinch, one a little bigger than the others, but not much calling of any note, and certainly no trumpeting. It was still drizzly and the light was fading, so we chose to complete the circuit rather than wait around.
As if earlier events were not enough, 2 skittish flocks of Teal allowed us to note a Harrier over the marsh; sh*t it's a Hen, I exclaimed! Another year tick, and a welcome return for a species not seen here at all last year. Good views too, buff underparts and ring-tail all in order. Possibly the bird interpreted my comments as abusive, for it flew off high towards Surlingham Broad. The Hen Harrier roost survey is this weekend!
Other bits and bobs included a Little Egret, 2 Kingfishers (one still at the Landspring, one up river) and a mixed flock of 3 Mistle Thrush and 10+ Redwing. Ricky saw what was probably a Weasel in a…


Where to start? Quite the morning at Surlingham Church Marsh, with both expected and unexpected patch ticks.
The marshes at Wood's End were busy, and whilst scanning the Greylag flock a Peregrine Falcon breezed through, eventually settling on the ground out of sight. Recovering my composure, a small Falcon then flew west over the marsh. At some distance, I could not rule out Sparrowhawk, but the wingspan and general bulk looked small. I will be back for another look for what would be a great patch tick nailed on. 
The lagoon was frozen and the sightings board in the Whaley Hide devoid of anything decent. Then, I heard it- Poop, Poop. A metallic sound, like a flat trumpet. I did the classic whisper/shout thing, alerting Debs to a "Northern Bullfinch"! I had stopped dead in my tracks, having experienced this subspecies in Estonia I knew this was a decent bird. We then spent the next 3/4 of an hour trying hard for a glimpse. The bird called on and off, seemingly with a Eurasi…

Patch Tick!

Surlingham CM: Icy, cold, -1 Degrees C say my notes. Read: perfect opportunity to notch up a few year ticks.
The first birds of note were 11 Wigeon, pushed onto the Yare by the hard frost. Here also were a Coot and Moorhen. The feral Greylag flock appeared in its entirety, the 3 white farmyard birds standing out even more so than usual. Walking the hard mud, a call alerted me to a long hoped-for patch tick and I had to get the bins on them to believe it: yes, 6 Lesser Redpoll feeding high in the trees! I watched them until my neck ached, unable to conjure up a Mealy or something even better! Nearby a Marsh Tit called with enthusiasm.
The lagoon was not up to much, no patches of broken ice there. However, continuing the circuit I did manage to flush 3 Snipe in different spots, one bird at a glance smaller than the rest and silent. A channel next to Surlingham land spring was alive with birds; Teal, Mallard and a swimming Water Rail, perfectly timing its jaunt across the water. Believe …