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Showing posts from April, 2012

Brecks impresses once again

I used to struggle out in The Brecks; hard work, slogging it out for little reward. Those days are long gone, dear reader. Nowadays, I rock up, nail specialities and jam in on other stuff! Today goes down as one of my best days in the field, anywhere, let alone The Brecks.
Picked up Ricky early doors and headed to our first site. Goldcrest, Nuthatch and the expected Tits were all very vocal. After a short wait, we heard the hoped for strangled call of a male Golden Pheasant and eventually managed decent views in the gloom under the pines. The mad dash had paid off! Walking the long way back to the car, we happened upon 2 Tree Pipit, singing and parachuting in a clearing. Some Lesser Redpoll flew overhead and 2 Siskins called. As if initial views were not enough, 2 male Goldies were seen in the undergrowth on the way back! You can see a great picture of one below.
Buoyed by our start, we aimed to spot some Raptors while the sun shone. Our second site was just the ticket- 6 Buzzard catc…

Is anyone out there?

Slow as hell on the patch right now. A Swallow flying strongly upriver was a new addition to the year list, but still no Warblers in the reeds other than the resident Cettis. Highlight today was undoubtedly a male Marsh Harrier giving the local Ducks a few nervy moments, right out in front of the hide.
1-4 Lapwing can be found on the mud at the back of the lagoon, which sadly have put pay to the presence of the pair of Little-ringed Plover, it would seem. The Lapwing can be quite aggressive, dive-bombing any potential intruders. The pair of Shelduck were back today, hopefully now ready to breed here.
The cold north wind meant vis mig was non-existent, and another look at the charts doesn't fill me with confidence for the week ahead. Easter break done and dusted, and despite some just lovely days out, I can't help but feel a little short changed.
On the plus side, birds making little head way on the continent are perhaps caught in a bottle-neck of sorts, so when the wind and we…

Brecks stuff

Super trip to the Brecks yesterday morning, lasted until early afternoon but rain put pay to any serious Goshawk hunting. Began the morning at Santon Downham, the air punctuated by singing Brambling and Nuthatch, the former looking pristine in deep summer plumage. A pair of Sparrowhawk soared over the river, and an odd call alerted us to a pair of Mandarin Duck, which flew downriver before landing in trees. We searched briefly for Lesser-spot amongst the dead wood, and although this elusive bird was not seen an unlikely quarry was picked up in the shape of my first Cuckoo of the year.
Lynford next, and here Crossbill had replaced the Brambling in terms of sheer number of birds. Lesser Redpoll foraged in smaller groups at the tops of trees. A helpful birder pointed us in the direction of some feeders just outside the arboretum where Hawfinch sometimes fed. Sure enough, on arrival one bird was picked up in trees before she flew down and joined another on the ground. Best views I have ha…

Hunting, Hallowed Ground and a Hoopoe.

Firstly, a few patch visits to update (that's the hallowed bit, for those wanting to keep track).

The evening of the 9th was marred by drizzle and a slight drop in the temperature to around 9 degrees C, and although the reserve was a little quiet, I did pick up a year tick in the form of a pair of Red-legged Partridge, viewed from the ruins. Rarer than Redpoll at Surlingham! Also of interest here was a mixed Thrush roost, including Redwing, Fieldfare, Song and Mistle. The majority of the birds were Redwing, and it was a delight to hear their beautiful song in the evening light, the first time I have heard this here in England.
Back on the main reserve, 2 Green Sandpiper now frequent the lagoon and muddy margins. One less skittish bird allowed good views as it sat calling, preening and generally looking rather smart in breeding plumage. 

Yesterday, the 10th, was undoubtedly one of the best visits of the year so far. Wrapped up for Winter again, we began the circuit with brief views of…

Surlingham two times

A couple of patch updates, beginning with an evening visit yesterday.
A Green Sandpiper was heard flying downriver, new for the year. Presumably the same bird was later seen feeding in the muddy margins around the lagoon. Plenty of Teal here, but no Garganey, presumably moved on.
The scrub was busy: 2 Bullfinch, one giving a Northern-esque call in common with some Eurasian birds. Treecreeper, Chiffchaff, Cettis and another new for the year, Williow Warbler, were all heard or seen here.

As it began to get dark we had another go with the Bat detector. By the landspring, we picked up a series of fast, quiet clicks which sounds like a Brown Long-eared Bat, having listened to some sound files online. By the main church, we had 2 Pips at 45 KHZ.

This morning, the lagoon was a noisy place, since 4 Lapwing had moved in overnight! One was displaying overhead, so hopefully these pairs will try again this year. The Little Egret was relaxing in amongst some reeds, and from the hide I heard my fir…