short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Sunday, 15 May 2011

12/5/11- Dawn to Dusk ......

 Before reading this you may want to make yourself a cuppa as its long one!
  Well i woke up  at 4.30 am and after a quick coffee was greeted by a waiting Yorkie in his car outside. On route to Steve's house we discussed with great excitement of the number of different species we could have come dusk tonight. We got to Steve's and jumped in and set off to Lakenheath with the clock reading 5.15am.
On the way all a agreed that we would try our best to make sure we worked as a team and that we all got to see the bird to count it. Well first bird of the day was was a beauty...a cracking  Barn Owl hunting over the fields just outside of Mulbarton. Herring Gull & Swift along with Blackbird and  Magpie(5) were soon added.We were using the trusty sat nav to get us there as quick as poss but some how we ended up at Weeting Heath (think Steve had mixed up the post codes) but we all agreed while we here to crack on.
     Weeting Heath -5.45
 We immediately picked up ChiffchaffGold Finch & Chaff Finch( 8) and as entering the hide a Marsh Tit ( always a good bird to get). From the hide we got Crow, Jackdaw & Rook along with Lapwing, Pied Wagtail ,Kestrel ,Collar Dove,Stock Dove and Wood Pigeon(18). But unfortunately no Stone Curlew? We checked both hides out but no sign .After a while we decided to push on and pop back later. As we walked back to car we got Goldcrest x2 , Blue/Great Tit, Dunnock & Willow Warbler(23)  from up in the Pine trees.
    Lakenheath- 7 am
In the car park we got gassin to some birders about the dip we had at Weeting heath . They began to tell us that they had picked the Stone Curlews up at first light from a different place not far away. So after a few noted directions we began to press on .Straight away a shout went out "Bittern flying"! We all got on  it. ( another superb bird to get under yeh belt first thing in the day).That Bittern put us on number (24) for the day list.As we made our way up to the bank, we saw WhitethroatSedge & Reed Warblers and Reed Bunting over the reedbeds . We scanned out across the water and picked up Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Shoveler, Grey Heron ,Coot, Gadwell  ,Tufted Duck, Moorhen,  Garganey, Mistle Thrush , Common Buzzard , Wren, Swallow and a Common Tern  along the river.A shout of "Cuckoo" from Steve as it past by us low and close was a nice spot. A nice male which flew off to the woods and called out its famous call for all to hear. We were then drawn towards the reedbeds on the left ,of a familiar reeling song.We all knew what it was but were we lucky enough to see it? After some good team work we began to track down the exact area it was in. I finally spotted it on a reed out in the open and then quickly flying into a nearby bush. I called the others over and we all got a good butchers of it, shaking its whole body as it produced that fantastic song. Grasshopper Warbler was our (44) bird  of the day & bloody good one at that!

Grasshopper Warbler

Onwards along the river bank we picked up only Marsh Harrier, Canadian /Greylag Geese. We made our way around the reeds, away from the river and spotted what i first thought was a distant Cuckoo, to be corrected by the lads as a Hobby! (This was a good example of  where a good bit of team work comes in). A nice bird that we would later pick up  with closer views. As we made our way down to the East & West woods to try for the Golden Oriole Yorkie spotted a Kingfisher flying over the reedbeds . We got on it and  decided to sit on the bench opposite the woods and eat a baguette that Steve had made for us ( what a good chap!). We saw a few other birders around who said they could all hear it but not see it, which is usually the case. So we headed round to the other side along the railway track in hope of it showing. We spent around an hour there listening  to this gorgeous, exotic bird singing away but doing its best to keep itself from our view. Then all of a sudden Yorkie gave that shout we had be waiting for " i`ve got it". A mad rush over to him but it had moved by the time we got our bins to our eye lids. Apparently Yorkie had it out in the open on a branch.(very jealous)  As we eagerly carried on scanning i thought that i had a glimpse of it in flight,(although it was just  for a second) only to see it  land and turn out to be  a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. But we carried on and after a while i did eventually see it. A quick view in flight but still a view and more importantly for me a Lifer! Golden Oriole was our (51) bird of the day.   
Popular Trees- home to the Golden Oriole
Steve also got a quick glimpse moments after i had it so we started to make our way back towards the car.As we did we got Black Headed Gulls and 4x Shelducks overhead putting us on a total of (53).
  Foxhole Heath- 10.45
We pulled in and quickly scanned for Stone Curlews. No sign but did get Skylark and 2x WoodlLark.
  Lackford Lakes- 11.00
We headed straight to the area where the Tree Sparrows are known to `hang out`. We checked the feeders  and then in the bushes i spotted 2x Tree Sparrows and got the others on it. Pheasant was easily picked up and then Meadow Pipit in a tree. Yorkie then picked out a House Martin & i spotted a Turtle Dove (60)
along the wires over the fields. Lovely bird and only the second time i've seen one and first time perched, so i made sure i took a few moments to enjoy this cracking view along with the others.

Turtle Dove
Cavenham Heath- 11.55am
  After following the directions we arrived at the Heath. Good Stone Curlew territory. We all scanned around and after about 20 minutes Yorkie picked  up a Stone Curlew  out in the open. My only other view of this splendid bird was at Weeting Heath  last year on a blazing hot day which made for bad views with the heat haze so this was a real treat. As i scanned across to digi scope a picture i spotted a Green Woodpecker (62)just making its way along the ground . Another cracking view too and nice for me & Steve to get it as Yorkie had already picked one up earlier at Weeting Heath. We got back on the road to try for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Stone Curlew
 Stanton Downham- 12.45 
  We parked up & poured ourselves a nice cuppa  coffee and tucked into some of Steve's cracking Baguettes( this time a Beef and salad- good choice Steve!) and spoke about where we needed to go . As we made our way to the bridge we saw a Spotted Flycatcher . A cracking bird that i had not expected to get today so a real bonus bird.It was typical Flycatcher, flying off and returning to the branch and sitting out in the open. Super!

Spotted Flycatcher
  We turned left at the bridge, with the river to our left.We got on some Starlings (64) and then 2x Siskins  .As we followed them across the river into some trees we got another Spotted Flycatcher! We really felt our luck was in as we didn't expect either of these birds today.We continued on  & picked up a beautiful Kingfisher on the river and then got a stunning  male Mandarin Duck  on the other side of the river. Soon after a female appeared too. My first and a good picture moment. Then singing out in the open was our first Blackcap (68) of the day -Lovely Jubly.

Mandarin Duck(228)

Singing Blackcap

As we got to the chosen area a fantastic Hobby went overhead with the sun hitting it as it went. Absolutely super ! A good bird to see again. We got to the tree and found the small hole .Set up & waited patiently. Well we think it must have been sitting on eggs as we saw no sign of either male or female . The only bit of excitement was when Steve saw a Great Tit fly into a hole next to the Lesser`s hole. We had given it 45 minutes and decided to walk back. As we did we got a couple more Marsh Tits  and a Wren as the rain came.We got back to the car a bit wet and headed for the North Norfolk coast. On route we got Jay, Green Finch, House Sparrow and Grey Partridge  giving us a totall of  (73) birds. We popped in to see if we could get the Montagu`s Harrier but no joy but did get nice views of  displaying Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk  (74)
  Choseley Barns- 5.05 pm
We pulled up and checked the ground and wires but no sign of the bunting. Then we heard .... "a little bit of bread and no cheeseeeee` call from the tree opposite (that's from watching too much Bill Oddie!).A Yellow Hammer was sitting on top of it.  After getting on it i looked backed at the wires further down the fields and saw something on em. Steve & Yorkie both agreed that it looked very much what we had come for but wanted a closer look to confirm it. Out come the scope and yes it was a Corn Bunting. As we all got a butchers in the scope it gave us a minute of its song, that jangling of keys ( that's enough of  Mr Oddie ). We also got a Robin (77) on the gate  as we drove off to Titchwell.
  Titchwell- 5.50 pm
 We parked up towards the far end of the car park as Steve said that this was a known spot for Lesser Whitethroat. We tucked into our final baguette of the day a cheese with tomato & a nice onion garnish (my particular favourite of the day) anyway back to the birds ! We waited no more then a couple minutes before we were treated to a couple of glimpses of a Lesser Whitethroat .From the car park we got Greater Black Backed Gull  and  views of common shrub birds. We made our way up to the main path and checked the reedbeds for possible Bearded Tits but as the lads said it was probably a bit too windy for em. We soon got Oystercatcher & Brent Geese (81) flying over along with more Swallows, House Martins but sadly no Sand Martins(after much looking). We then got our way into the Island Hide. On the water was Avocet, Black Tailed Godwits,  2x cracking Pintails, Pochard & 2x Teal . On the Scrape were Turnstone, Widgeon, Dunlin, Redshank ,Little Grebe, Lesser Black Backed Gull and a Common Sandpiper. The lads also got a Ruff but unfortunately i missed it and we were unable to pick it up again. Then the lads spotted a Little Stint between the two scrapes. A good spot and only the second time i`d seen one. Then i had a Sandpiper to the right of the hide ,resting up near the reeds. Yorkie got on it with Steve and identified it as a Green Sandpiper (95).

Black Tailed Godwit

Common Sandpiper
We made our way to the Parrinder Hide but as we did we scanned across the scrape and got Common Gull  ,Linnets flying over and Ringed Plovers . Then Yorkie saw what was a possible Temmincks Stint! A first for me a great bird to get on the list. We were careful to check with the trusty Collins first and then once we had confirmed  it , it was hand shakes all round!
Temmincks Stint (229)
After all that excitement we checked the brackish marsh . Not much at all (very dry) other then Meadow Pipits & Ringed Plovers. We then walked back out and along towards the beach but as we did we noticed a couple of Plovers drop in on the Brackish Marsh. These were Little Ringed Plovers (100) They were calling to each other on the ground, the closest views i`ve had of them to date. We all checked them out ( although Yorkie needed a bit of convincing at first but enough said about that ay Yorkie!)

Little Ringed Plover
 Sea watch:-     We were able to add Curlew ,Cormorant ,Sanderling & a Grey Plover .I spotted a Little Tern out at sea and Steve picked up a single Bar Tailed Godwit on the mud. As we walked back with the sun now starting to drop we agreed to end at Hunstanton for a Fulmar. As we did i noticed something to the left of me in the salt marsh. It was a Wheatear! (107)I got the lads on what was our final bird from Titchwell.
 Hunstanton Cliffs- 8.30 pm
We got down to the cliff tops and were given Feral Pigeon  overhead and then a gorgeous Fulmar standing on the cliff top. There were at least 5 seen as the sunset -A nice bird to end the day on.As we drove home and  chatted about the days birds the lads saw a Little Owl fly across em. Unfortunately i was sitting in the back and missed it.

Hunstanton Cliffs- home to the Fulmar
   We had ended the day on a total of  111 . I had missed the Little Owl & Ruff which would have given me an extra 2 & Yorkie missed out on the Goldcrest but other then that we managed to all see the others which i thought was really good. I also had a bonus of picking up 4 Lifers too so that was extra special .
 It was a  really fantastic day with lots of good memories to remember. Thanks to Steve for driving (and providing the pukka Baguettes) & to Yorkie too.So hears to next years!

The crew: Me, Yorkie & Steve

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good day, and a decent total to try and beat next year!