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Showing posts from April, 2016

Cranes over Claxton the highlight of mid-April

The 17th was the first of many days of settled weather characterised by high pressure. This has led to dewy, even frosty lawns in the morning but perfect conditions for migration. Perhaps too perfect, for in weather like this some birds won't stop until they reach their breeding grounds, making hay while the sun shines. It was early afternoon and myself and Debs were out fixing felt onto the shed roof, Storm Katie having stripped us of the previous offering. My better half noticed the long shapes high in the sky first,and I dashed in to get the bins. Having lived in the valley for less than 3 years, these were the first Cranes I had seen here, better late than never. Drifting through on the thermals, the pair were eventually lost to view as they headed west, away from the river. Carrying on with the task in hand, and a House Martin flew through the garden. I really thought we would struggle to better the doorstep birding of our previous house in Surlingham, but here we have had re…

A Stork on the patch and more arrivals

For the last couple of years, around this time, I have been in Scotland. But with Easter falling earlier this year, I have been home for a week and therefore ideally positioned to welcome back our Summer migrants on the patch and add to my threadbare 'earliest arrivals' records, which now needs updating.

On the 3rd, it was a bright and breezy start to the day which was to be the pattern for much of the week. Down on Claxton Marshes, a pair of Stonechat cavorted, but there were little other signs of Spring with the resident Buzzard and Barn Owl out hunting as usual and around 3 Redwing departed. Across the river, a single White-fronted Goose at Buckenham was an unlikely spot in April, and a Peregrine on a post was also a little out of place since most birds have now returned to their breeding grounds.
That afternoon, the weather had warmed to a heady 16 degrees celsius. A female Marsh Harrier appeared to be prospecting a nesting site at Church Marsh, 1+ Bearded Tit were heard (…

Where Eagles Dare, and back in time for the Penduline

Back from an excellent week in the Highlands of Scotland, my third year in a row visiting at this time of year which fits in well with the Easter holidays. I was keen to connect with both Eagle species this time around, having seen a pair of Golden briefly last year and no Sea Eagles to speak of at that time. In an effort to make this happen, we headed to the west coast from Inverness, around an hour and a half drive, which in the BMW 4 hire care was just a pleasure. We picked up 2 Black-throated Divers in full breeding finery at Loch Gowan on route, a species I have seen only at some distance in the past so this was a splendid opportunity to observe them much closer. The rest of the day was spent cruising around Sheldaig, north to Gairloch, and exploring Gruinard Bay. We had a total of 5 Golden Eagle at 3 sites, and 2 Otter in Gruinard Bay. The west coast is suited to all of the superlatives folk use to describe it, and we only scratched the surface.

Day 2 was more casual, but the ev…