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Patch update and Carlton Marshes

It has been a while since I have added a new species to the year list let alone updated the blog. The latter will have to suffice for now!
I parked up at the top of the hill, Church Marsh beneath me, Saturday the 8th on a mild November day. A Thrush fest ensued of the good kind, with Mistle, Song, Redwing and Fieldfare all bursting out of the berry bushes they had been feeding on. It is also a good time of year for Corvids too, with Jays popping on on both fat balls in our garden and in their usual spots around the reserve. Elsewhere, the WeBs count was poor, with just 20 Tealthe only Duck encountered. I wonder how saline levels are in the lagoon, post-flooding a couple of weeks ago.
Onto Rockland, and the count was restricted to GC Grebe and a Cormorant. 2 Crows gave the local Buzzard hassle over the small wood in the marsh. Interesting to note a sightings board discussion that had taken place in the hide "What a joke, cow shit everywhere", followed by "What do you expect, this is the countryside. Try Eaton Park".
Driving home, a large flock of 50+ Fieldare nervously exploded from an Oak in the village, and an evening walk round my new stomping ground Surlingham Marsh (Coldham Hall, for those who don't know where this is) produced a Woodcock after dark.

I had been meaning to explore some Waveney Valley habitat for a while, so on Sunday I ventured to Carlton Marshes. A super reserve with bags of potential. The scrape reminded me of the Argentinian Pampas, so desolate and open. Here, a Redshank and 2 Little Egret probed for food but according to the sightings board, Jack Snipe has been regular of late. Walking the full circuit (just shy of 2 hours) I encountered a pair of Stonechat, Bearded Tit, Siskin, Goldcrest, a Stoat and Chinese Water Deer. Plenty more to see here, I will be back.

I had hoped to go on to see the Lowestoft Desert Wheatear, but by the time I had finished at Carlton dusk was arriving, and I had to pick up dessert. In a way, glad I didn't go. A lovely bird from the photos, but the behaviour I have read about sounded appalling, and I really hope this wasn't so and instead Chinese Whispers. Images of a person laying across the concrete reaching out to the bird were almost laughable were they not genuinely concerning.

Some awesome Cetacean sightings over the weekend, Humpback and today Pilot Whales moving through. Fascinating and a privilege to share our waters with these beasts.

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Estonia Trip Report, April 2011

Estonia April 12th-19th 2011, Jim Bradley. ice_bear1@hotmail.com
Ice at the ferry crossing


Exploring the ancient forest



Red-breasted Goose at Audru



Pick the bones out of that!


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Introduction.
Estonia is a place of real wilderness, yet easy to explore with the possibility of some cracking birds. Recent literature from both Gerard Gorman and Dave Gosney means that there is now plenty of useful information on birding Estonia, yet this country remains relatively unknown compared to other eastern European states such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Steller’s Eider, Owls and Woodpeckers in early Spring, Citrine Wagtail, Great Snipe, Great Spotted Eagle, Black Stork and Greenish Warbler in May and beyond are just some of the birds you may encounter.

We used Estonian Nature Tours http://www.naturetours.ee/ to help plan and guide our trip. We are a young couple, so did not fancy being part of a tour bus scenario, and were keen to do most of the birding ou…