Monday, 28 May 2012

Broadland Wildlife Photo Special!


No doubt there were birds to be found on the coast this weekend just gone, but as the drive out and a hike in the heat didn't appeal, I stuck to some local sites in the hope of some good birds.
Ranworth Broad Friday night, a sunset Cormac McCarthy would have been proud of. No sign last week's reported Night Heron, but as sunset arrived I had the place to myself and enjoyed the comings and goings of large numbers of Common terns (50+), the odd Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher and a moment of panic in the water which was probably the back end of an Otter having nabbed a Grebe chick for supper.


Saturday, and a trip to the patch. Finally heard a Garden Warbler, two infact, but did not get to observe either, typical for this species. Two Marsh Harrier flew towards Wood's End and a Kestrel hunted the marsh. Not the Red-footed Falcon I had been hoping for. Turning my attention to Damselflies, I recorded both Large Red and a blue species, views not good enough to separate Common Blue and Azure. My favourite though was a female Banded Demoiselle, very nice. A small emergance of Holly Blue Butterflies had perhaps taken place, three seen here and one back in Norwich!

Other than that, very quiet of late at Surlingham. Hopeful of something decent this week, Marsh Warbler would be appreciated! Total lack of Wader activity for ages now, perhaps the pair of Lapwing are a little hostile to visitors.
Sunday and a visit to Barton Broad and my first Dragonfly species of the year: 2 Hairy, fighting or mating, not sure there. 3 male Brimstone, 3 Male Orange Tip and a Holly Blue all in the carpark. Little on the Broad itself, worryingly Tern numbers seem very low this year.
Don't get me wrong, a gorgeous weekend and as always a privilege to have such a variety of wildlife close to home. Just lacking that something special on the avian front though.......half term a week away, Breydon for a WR Sand or Surlingham for a Purple Heron!
Did have this chap last Thursday, what a beauty.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Bee-eater!!!

After a weekend of booze, cockneys and football (spot the bad apple there) I arrived home feeling like I had missed out. A couple of midweek visits to the patch has been fruitless, I can't even find a Garden Warbler. With the brilliant Savi's a distant memory, I needed a boost. Yes, I left The Broads, for Wiveton.
Wanted to see one of these for ages, and after a near miss in recent years I couldn't resist a Bee-eater that had stayed put for too long. It was great to watch, leaving the wires to nab a bee before returning to gorge. These things eat bees, hardcore. Whilst I was there this afternoon, each time it left the perch it always caught a bee. An expert!

Some other decent stuff about at the moment, and the end of the week looks good....maybe too good. Purple Heron at Surlingham?


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Cantley Black-necked Grebe pictures





These 3 were rather nice! Seen together at Cantley Beet Factory this afternoon. A good bird in Norfolk, I believe Black-necked Grebe is a description species at sea, but thankfully a little more straightforward on the main pit at Cantley. Hobby and Cuckoo also seen today.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Flirting with Kites, then up with the sun.

Had a classic 'one that got away' moment yesterday. Driving home from work around 4.30pm, crossed over the Attleborough Breckland Lodge roundabout and proceeded to lean all over my passenger looking at birds, something he and she are quite used to by now. Thinking I had a Common Buzzard, I slowed the car slightly but not significantly. By now the bird in question was flying away from me, but I could make out a whacking great tail and forward-tilted wings. This was a Kite, probably a Red Kite and at that distance and angle I couldn't make out the forked tail. Nice, a good bird for the journey list, although frustratingly not ID'd for certain. Back to Alice in Chains and the ride home.
On arrival home and the weekend beckoning, I checked RBA online. Eyes widen. 'Possible Black Kite over A11 at 5pm'. POSSIBLE?! DEFINATE MORE LIKE! So yes reader, I probably missed a Black Kite. Possibly. Maybe. There was no way I could have stopped the car, or nailed the features at that distance. Stil rather galling I can tell you!
Quick to get this out of my system, I was up with the Lark and headed to Surlingham just after 5 this morning. As always, a treat to be out that time of the day. Proof?
Can't say I saw anything notable; added Whitethroat to the year list and observed nest building, saw 2 Cuckoo,  the Lapwing are back, a lovely male Sparrowhawk shot over the marsh and an excellent Fox was at Wood's End. Still, all lovely to see. A look round Claxton Marshes gave me my first Hobby of the year. I realised he was dressed like Jack White from the White Stripes days.
I have added this picture that Debs took. I like it, because it looks like an aberrant Puma is hunting Cattle in Norfolk. Is that a Pacific Swift overhead? No. No its not.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Lesser 'throat and baby Tawnies.

We visited Deb's mum Sunday lunch, which regardless of the excellent food on offer gives me a chance to explore some more local countryside near Wymondham. On arrival at least 2 Lesser Whitethroats were in the hedge, my first of the year, and whilst I love a good Whitethroat, Lesser is better!
That evening we popped to Surlingham, and whilst headline birds are at a minimum there are now at least 2 Groppers on site and the Cuckoo remains.
I had a drive out last night not too far from Norwich, and amongst the Red-legged Partridge there was something nice- two newly-fledged Tawny Owls. No camera though!
Please do take a look at the following blog http://moysiesbirdtrips.blogspot.co.uk/ which belongs to my cousin. He is 11, and as you will see really knows his stuff. He will have his headlines, of that I am sure.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Lowlights....and an Otter!

Very slow on the patch of late, the year list has crept up unconvincingly and a deluge of both rain and paperwork have meant visits have been few since late April- early May, but one obvious jackpot moment stands out.
On the 29th of April, the sun broke out nicely after a day (and week) of rain. I picked up Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Skylark and Swift, all new for the year. Great to have these birds back. Blackcap seem to have returned in force, and a few more Swallows are now hawking amongst the cattle at Wood's End. Nearing the end of the circuit, I stopped to scan a dyke I have viewed over 100 times before. Today, something special. A ripple in the water, a Mallard panicked. Revealing herself, a female Otter made its way toward me, totally unaware of my presence. Awestruck, I watched as she disappeared under for a couple of minutes, but following the bubble trail she resurfaced 5 metres from me. Amazing! What an encounter, and believe it or not this is my first Otter seen in the wild.

Later that week, Debs and I popped out to the Ted Ellis reserve in the hope of catching up with 2 reported Ring Ouzel. Although we didn't see these birds, I was reminded of what a super place this is, and certainly need to give these paddocks more attention. Some pictures below.
Yesterday, I observed a Barn Owl food carrying, heading across the marsh towards the church. Heard only but new for the year were both Cuckoo and Grasshopper Warbler, one of my favourites and this year a feeling of relief as it began reeling; I cannot believe how late they are this year.
A stop at Claxton Marshes had another hunting Barn Owl, a large gathering of Mute Swans (70+) but no late Short-eared Owls, seen here up until the end of April.