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Showing posts from April, 2015

SYWG walk round Church Marsh

Early Sunday morning, myself and Peter Armitage led a group from SYWG round Church Mash. Despite a murky morning we did manage views of many common species and our returning Warblers. Before we split into 2 groups, we were treated to the call of a Cuckoo announcing his arrival back at the fen, along with brief views of my first Whitethroat of the year. We then halved the group and headed off in opposite directions. My group recorded the expected common species and enjoyed reeling Grasshopper Warblers, brief views of Sedge and Reed Warbler and prolonged views of Blackcap. The lagoon was fairly quiet, and it turned out the real action was savoured by the other group who watched an Otter on the river and had a fly past Common Tern, annual here but right place right time necessary. It was nice to see so many enthusiastic people so early in the morning, thanks to those who turned up.

Elsewhere during the week, it has been more of the same at Coldham Hall Marshes and again back at Church Ma…

An excellent few days on the patch

I made an early start sunday morning at Church Marsh, and whilst I fundamentally enjoy being outside, I did have a goal in mind: to catch up with at least part of the national influx of Ring Ouzel. The influx had been until Saturday the 18th predominantly coastal, but inland East Anglian birds reported from Ipswich, Long Melford and UEA provided some hope. Heading down towards the river, I scanned to the right over Wood's End marshes. Had I of been 5 seconds later, I would not have seen the stunning male Ring Ouzel, perched atop a riverside bush for a few seconds before going to ground in a dyke further away. Almost perfect- the timing, the bird, the patch! I quickly tweeted the news incase anyone else was in the area and keen for a look. Sadly this bird was not seen again, despite a search later in the evening. Hopefully he will now be in one of the mountain strongholds further north. Ring Ouzel has been reported before from Surlingham, infact the Church Marsh side of the river a…

The end of the beginning

Early this morning, myself and 3 companions said goodbye to an old friend, the Breckland Golden Pheasant. Having not conducted a thorough search for this elusive exotic for just over 3 years, it was time to see if they did indeed still exist amongst the understory of some old woodland haunts. At our first site in Norfolk, where Ricky and I have seen 2 males and a female (at least 3 males heard calling 4 years ago) we drew a complete blank. A Woodlark tried to cheer us up, and the call of the Nuthatch began here and accompanied us for most of the day. At our second site, now in Suffolk, again we turned up nothing. I know of a couple of private sites where they (may) cling on, but the game was up for us and it would seem old Goldie. As the day progressed we spoke to a knowledgeable gentleman who used to feed them at one site in Norfolk; used to being the key part of that sentence. Inevitable maybe, but still a shame. With the Breckland population disappearing/disappeared, I would argue …

Scotland trip report April 2015

What follows is a brief write up of my now annual trip to Scotland, staying with a friend in Inverness and birding the Highlands and surrounds. Bar the first day, weather was mild and I was removing layers of clothing rather than adding them. On the final day, Sunday, I was sat in a pub outside Loch Ness eating lunch and it was positively balmy.

1st April. Having arrived at lunchtime, I rested for a while and then was taken to a local patch of woodland called Craig Phadraig. This was a fairly typical largish block of pine atop a hill, which used to be the site of a Pictish fort. It was rather breezy up here and it even snowed for a short time. I soon picked up some calling Crossbill (already better than last year's total of zero), Siskin, Coal tit and a flyover Red Kite back at the carpark. A nice introduction to my time up here.

2nd April. I set off after breakfast for Brora, where incredibly one of two Harlequin Ducks in Scotland was hanging on into the Spring. The drive was pun…