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Showing posts from April, 2014

Yellow Wagtails at Surlingham plus being a whisker away

A Whiskered Tern at Rockland Broad last Thursday would not only have been a massive hit on the patch but also a lifer for me. It just wasn't meant to be however, I was working late and the bird was present for just over 3 hours once it had been reported. Rockland is a good site for this Tern, and despite no news on the Friday I headed down after work for a check round. 5 Common Tern were new for the year list, and if one thing has come out of this it is that I am now better at Terns having read ID guides to death since the event! Thank-you to all of the people who contacted me about the Tern, nice to know such a support network exists and I hope I can pay you guys back with a biggy on the patch one day. Providing I get to see it of course!

Teal are still clinging on at Church Marsh, with 3 pairs present as of yesterday. Whilst counting the Ducks, a familiar call instantly had me looking to the sky, and a lovely Yellow Wagtail flew east over the lagoon. I am sure they are present o…

Ton up on the patch, and a word on the AFON young birder's day at the BTO.

A 50-specie haul at the patch this morning, my best so far this year and some real crackers in there including Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Grasshopper Warbler, Green Sandpiper and number 100 for the year, Whitethroat. Not bad within walking distance of the front door! It feels like the pieces are falling into place now, although the weekend perhaps didn't deliver the excitement that some predicted.

Debs and I enjoyed walks round Rockland Broad and Wheatfen yesterday, hoping to catch the national Arctic tern passage that was hitting the news services. In all it was a very quiet day with little doing on either reserve.

I did want to mention the excellent A Focus On Nature young birder's day which was held at the BTO. Details of the participants can be found here:

Although I am listed as a speaker, I had the easy job of sitting on a debating panel. The youngsters had it…

I got 99 problems but a patch ain't one HIT ME

Any excuse to get that lyric into a blog post title; needless to say I am up to 99 for the patch year list. A reeling Grasshopper Warbler brought up the number of Jay Z early this morning, although not in the usual early arrival spot, this one was in the corner of the reserve near the gun club. Elsewhere, 3 pairs of Shelduck on the lagoon smashed my record count for this species. Interesting to watch the reaction of the 2 resident pairs as the third arrived. Very aggravated, but the peace that ensued suggests the lagoon can cope with 3 pairs. However, a lurking Fox may have had other ideas this morning, eyeing up the Shelduck and the Gadwall with intent. Great mammal moment.

Marsh Harrier activity has been very interesting of late. 4 Different individuals have been seen in the last 2 weeks:

A regular 'silver'backed' male, colouration similar to that of 'Eastern' Marsh Harrier. He was seen dropping food into the reedbed, and (presumably) a female below responded.A se…


Approximately 30 minutes after alighting the Easyjet flight to Inverness, I was face to face with a ridiculous lifer: an American Coot. Here he is:

 And me at Loch Flemington, lifer in the bag.

From here, we retired back to the flat and plotted out a route to Burgh Head. A White-billed Diver had been seen here, so we thought this well worth a look. An excellent range of Sea Duck were seen, including Long-tailed and Common Scoter. Both Great Northern and Red-throated Divers performed well. A wildlife hihglight of the year soon followed, and not the WB Diver. A pod of at least 6 Bottlenosed Dolphins came through, 2 individuals breaching. A superb sight and a moment to remember.

We then went to Roseisle Forest, and although they made us work we enjoyed excellent views of a pair of Crested Tit. Also of note was a displaying Tree Pipit. Siskin were here by the bucketload, and the fields bordering the forest held Hooded Crow and Curlew.

The following day, Friday, was spent almost entirely i…

Early April

Various bits and pieces to report on, beginning with a gorgeous day on the patch.

With so much birdsong at Church Marsh this morning I made an attempt to count everything I saw and heard, later to be uploaded to Birdtrack, cue feeling of warm and fuzzyness. Blackcap are here in force, 12 singing males counted. Chiffchaff seem to have quietened down, perhaps busy with nest building, since only 4 were heard. At least 4 Willow Warbler were also singing. It was decent on the lagoon, with male Shelduck, nesting Oystercatcher, Green Sandpiper, 12 Teal and 4 Gadwall. Elsewhere, a single Swallow was new for the year and always a fine sight. Perhaps I am the first person s/he has encountered since arriving on these shores. Quite a thought.

This afternoon I walked along the river over-looking Langley Marshes. At least 11 Lapwing were present, a decent count at this time of year. Marsh Harriers displayed overhead, and young Rooks cawed noisily from their nests. The addition of the drains and slu…