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Breakfast (and dinner) with the birds

A glorious couple of days on the patch, full of good birds, wonderful company and fine food.

Starting mid-morning on Saturday, a report of a Black Tern at Rockland Broad meant I would have to be quick to connect with this migrant, which always passes through at this time of year. An initial glance across the broad gave up nothing bar a few Great-crested Grebe, and I instead busied myself checking the water levels and checking the moorings. A Hobby flew overhead, launching itself into  an aerial assault on some poor insect. My first of the year, and a bird I never tire of watching. A look back to the broad, still quiet. The silence was broken by the squawk of  Tern, and 2 Common Tern then honed into view. Not bad- but not quite the bird I was after. Settled in the hide, I waited a while longer and sure enough one then another Black Tern arrived! Three year ticks just like that, the Marsh Terns in particular offering a superb display over the broad.

Later that day,I met with mum, dad and some friends to walk round Church Marsh. We had excellent views of a Cuckoo overhead, as well as a hunting male Marsh Harrier. The heat appeared to render some of the common species a little inactive, so we took dinner at The Ferry before heading to Coldham Hall for dusk. After a swift pint, we heard Grasshopper Warbler reeling, and watched a Hobby pass through. Luckily for them, the 2 Noctule Bats were out a little later and therefore not under threat from the Falcon which did not hang around.

Early this morning, myself and Peter met around 36 folk who had signed up to the SYWG walk round Church Marsh. We split into 2 groups, and I opted to take in the hide and river first. We quickly got onto a Cuckoo in flight, and I caught a brief 'reel' from the meadow. A pair of Shelduck were on the lagoon but wildfowl numbers were actually very low. Further on the trail, I got all excited with a Common Sandpiper on the moorings over the river, new for the year. A Garden Warbler was singing from deep within the riverside scrub nearby. From the foot of the ruins, we enjoyed excellent views of a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, probably the bird of the morning for the group. Having said that, we were lucky to see so many of our 'common' species so well- Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and another Cuckoo. We finished with a Treecreeper near the pub. I had toyed with stopping for breakfast, but Peter informed me that his group had seen 2 Avocet on Postwick marshes. I said a few quick goodbyes and headed back to the church and down the hill. The Waders had done a bunk by the time I got there, although I did see 4 Little Egret heading North. The Nuthatch I keep writing off also reminded me he is still there, now in the churchyard. An excellent morning, I am glad so many people came along and hopefully enjoyed themselves. I certainly did, showing and sharing the birds is a delight and I am always privileged to be asked to assist with these walks every year.

Debs and I have just returned from a walk to the river, where looking across at Buckenham perhaps the earlier Avocet were now looking much more settled. Ringed Plover, Ruff and Redshank could also be seen.

 Braving the heat at Church Marsh
 Gadwall
 Common Sandpiper
Claxton Marshes

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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!


Great-grey Shrike near Spithami.






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…