Sunday, 27 July 2014

A new patch bird- not the Purple Heron though!

Yesterday news broke of a Purple Heron in a ditch at Claxton. Now, there are quite a few ditches at Claxton and no further details were forthcoming. Not owning a pager, I checked RBA online late in the day and knew I had missed a big patch bird and one which I have been expecting for some time now. I went out in search this morning post-car boot sale. Assuming it was mobile I began at Langley Dyke. Very quiet this morning, but I glimpsed a small bird flick from a wire into a bush, and back again. Surely a Flycatcher. This would be a patch tick whatever the species! I went round the back of the carpark for a better view, and confirmed it is Spotted Flycatcher! Now this seemed to be a different bird to before, as on its back were 2 white downy feathers not present on what was probably an adult seen at distance. This is what patch birding is all about, you just never know!
I had by now almost forgotten about the Heron, but I went to Claxton on auto-pilot. Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler and a female Sparrowhawk over but no Herons.

There is always something to do for our wedding at the moment, and I am finding myself turning down all sorts of offers to bird and socialise this year. I am desperate to get up to the north coast to hunt for butterflies but am having to be content with local wanderings, which I really should not complain about. Debs and I went to Wheatfen yesterday, which was superb for Dragons and Damsels. We saw Emperor, Migrant Hawker, Ruddy Darter and the species below. This may or may not be a Willow Emerald, opinion is split on the forums!



Monday, 21 July 2014

Great Knot in the bag and some local bits and bobs

Couldn't help but feel I had been here before, when a Great Knot was reported once again at Breydon Water. I absolutely love Wader watching so was not put off at all by the 'probable' reported on the Sunday night, and in preparation I slung some clothes and gear in the back of the car. I finished up at work early with a couple of tasks to complete, but there was only one place I was headed to first. It was a hot day, and I was glad of my shorts and t-shirt as I paced out the 1 and a half miles down the estuary towards Burgh Castle where I was delighted to find the bird feeding on the mud not too far out. I made a few notes at the time. Some spotting on the flanks, and scapulars looked black but fringed with white allowing for a chequered effect. The bill looked slightly decurved, the tail accentuated. The head colouring actually looked dark red but in fact was black, the sun playing tricks on this glorious hazy afternoon. I went home and read up on the Great Knot some more, who knows it could be me one day.

Although my local listing has slowed up I am still respectfully placed in the Patchwork minileagues. I have been very busy with wedding preparation which perhaps accounts for a lack of additions, but I still manage fairly regular visits at least to Church Marsh. Last night Debs and I heard at least one Gropper in full reel, saw our first Common Tern of the year fishing here and noted young Grebes and Tufted Ducklings doing well.

On Saturday we stopped briefly at Zak's in Mousehold and connected with a couple of Purple Hairstreak at the top of the oak in the car park. We also saw a young Peregrine near the river in the city centre.

At home in the garden, I have finally seen the local Nuthatch! A Gatekeeper was the newest addition to the Butterfly year list.