short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A very late weekly round up and a super hours birding.....

  So my working days have started off each morning  with a quick butchers at the flock of Waxwings that have been resident at York street which happens to be round the corner from me. The most I've had was 17 and even little George got to enjoy there charismatic behaviour from the warmth of his buggy!
An unusual sighting on Saturday off Limetree ave with a flock of  7 x Stock doves feeding among some Wood Pigeons and a few Gulls on a small  green. I no off two pairs that bred round here in the summer but this was the highest count I've had around this way.
Now to the weekends action !
I was busy at work listening to the  north London derby on the old wireless when the Dog started going off. It was Jim calling to alert me to a certain Surf Scoter , along with a Richards Pipit and a Rose coloured Starling being reported on the coast. All three would be lifers for me so  I took the  bait & decided to pull my finger out and get done super quick and head off.
I decided to go for the Rose Coloured Starling first and depending on how easy it was to pin down I'd try to head for the coast for the other goodies .
Well on arrival I was greeted by familiar, smiling faces in Justin & Andy. They soon put me in the right direction along with some very handy info on where to park for the Surf Scoter  ( top blokes!)
There was already a small gathering and I was kindly told to look through  Mikes(birders are such friendly folk aren't they?!)  scope who  had it in view. Great views as it made its way along the fence and  to the feeders. After chatting to the lads around me about the surf Scoter , including James , I got itchy feet & nipped off.

Luckily Jim was there still and as I approached he greeted me with a view of a Richards pipit ( what a guy!)
I got brief views as it made its way along the coastal paths edge . Now to the sea!
The Surf Scoter was in among a flock of around a dozen common Scoters and wasn't easy to pick out  on my bins but lucky for me Jim was on hand again with his scope and I so had the bird in view. Having not had much time over the  last 3 months to get to the coast , this much needed visit gave me  3 quality birds to see and made up for a quiet autumn for myself .
It was simply a super hours birding and great to be amongst such friendly & helpful birders.
Happy birding

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Back out birding !

A damp and cold week at work which produced nothing in the form of birds until Friday where I had two calling Grey Wagtails along the river near the cock pub in Lakenham and later on that day a flock of 50+ Golden Plover over ,heading south. I also was pleased to see my letter had been published in this months Birdwatching magazine about the joy of watching ,with my son George ,the birds feed on our feeders at home .
 After a wet mornings work on Saturday I meet up with Matt at Strumpshaw fen . I arrived at a rather full Fen hide where Matt had already  picked up on the rather smart Water Pipit and kindly pointed it out. This was by best views yet of this species I've had. Matt told me how i had just missed out on 2 Bitterns in flight and that there were a flock of Waxwings outside. I picked them up soon after , 17 in total and very obligin they were too !

Poor light but that didnt bother the Waxwings
As we made our way up to the Tower hide we picked up a passing Kingfisher along river , a flock of Fieldfare, Marsh Harriers , redwings and a rather showy Cettis  . From the Tower hide we meet David who showed us the area the Jack snipe was last seen , so we begun to wait for it show again-Well it didn't, at least not for us , but there were plenty of Common snipe of hand ( 22 at one count) but not the Jack I wanted to see.Also  lots of Teal on the water with a good number of Shoveler and of course  the ever present Marsh Harriers overhead.
We decided to walk back and check out Buckenham marshes. We picked up a nice Siskin among a flock of Gold finches( my first of the autumn/winter and a huge amount of Wigeon along with the regulars but No sign of the hoped for Peregrine or Merlin . 
As we had a snack ,we saw that the Jack snipe was being reported again at the Tower hide so we made out way back there. 
Again seeing the waxwings on route ( what a striking  charismatic bird) .
At the hide I immediately checked out the area we were told about from earlier and there it was ,a Jack Snipe ,out feeding near the waters edge , but not for long as it disappeared behind the reeds and sadly not to appear again.
What was unusual was a Rainbow appearing over the fen as it got dark which made for a nice picture .
Rainbow over the Fen
We had a flock of around 40/50 Greylag drop in and at least 7, possibly 8 x Marsh Harriers coming in as it got dark and as we walked back we saw a Chinese water deer on the path, heard a couple of Water rails along with some Bearded Tits pinging.
A great afternoon and good way to catch up with me mate Matt too .
Happy birding 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Who needs the coast when i have the Patch !

Ok, so i would really have loved to have gone to the coast to witness all the super birds that are on offer(i havent got there since july!) but work was calling so a trip to the patch it was and it meant dodging the rain and hale too!
I Heard just the one Cettis as I approached the marshes and soon picked up the meadow pipit flock of 6/7 . 40+ teal were on the flooded marsh and a single common snipe & a kestrel over head. The broad was a bit better then mid week with wildfowl numbers  starting to climb ( probably from  whitlingham ):
7x gadwall ,
10 x teal
and 5x Pochards .
As I walked back 80+ redwings over was nice. 
I nipped into Careys Meadow and  all was quiet until a kestrel on the ground caught my eye. As the rain started again and as a cracking rainbow appeared, my favourite bird ,a male bullfinch took to the sky and then dropping only a couple of feet away. I was rewarded with sticking it out in the horrid weather with some cracking views. 
Rainbow over Careys Meadows (& if you look really hard theres Bullfinch flying over)

A super ending to a wet but pleasing day.
 Happy birding,

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Work sightings & patch visit.....

  Lets start with what i saw while at work on Tuesday at Keswick. First interesting thing of note was a massive amount of Ladybirds in the air and all over the windows i was about to clean! These were the black ones with orange spots on.They were every where in there hundreds among the mist & fog. This was confusion as i thought these were usual active in the summer? What was also really unusual was the Gulls and Corvids catching them out of the air for a quick snack (not much of one though i guess).Plenty of Redwings and Fieldfare over head which confirmed Autumn was here and migration was under way. Also some nice moths which were hiding away in the door ways-i took a picture of one of them but hope that someone can tell me what it is?! Also a beautiful little butterfly which i was told by James and Jim is a Small Copper.

Small Copper

any ideas what this is ?

Later on that day i popped to the patch(finally!).
  I noticed how overgrown it had become since i last was here in August.I immediately headed for the Marsh and picked up 2x Cettis on the way. I picked up 6x Tufted Ducks which soon took off and set the scope up to take a better look.I soon picked up 5x Snipe resting up on the waters edge. I also saw a nice little flock of 5x Meadow pipits which beat my highest count here of 3.

Resting Common Snipe

As i made my way to the hide via the marsh to the east i flushed 2 more Common Snipe up as I made a totally of 7( very nice).
A single Pied Wagtail flew over as I scanned the broad.It was very quiet with just a couple of Mute Swans and a Great Crested Grebe of mention. I scanned the shingle and it was also bird-less but I did find this chap which wouldn't have helped matters!

Mr Fox

As I walked back another 2x Cettis was heard bringing my total to 4 and a nice flock of 23x Fieldfare over head as I reached the bridge, which brought some evidence to Norwich that migration is happening. As I pulled up at home a mixed flock of around 50+ Redwings and Fieldfare went over and a nice end to my day.
Happy birding,

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Shakys back... Back again.... Shakys back tell er friend...

So where have i been? With the euros, tour de France , Olympics and the start of the premier league( yes I'm watching now my beloved west ham are back !) I've been some what preoccupied , but have been making a few visits out. Mostly with Jim who often lets me jump in if I'm able to. A super trip out to Cantley in August produce some rather smart waders , most enjoyable was a close in counter with a Wood Sandpiper. A trip to Buckenham gave me a lifer with a nice view of a Honey Buzzard along with the ever regular Common Buzzards . While at work near poringland I had a pair  of hobbies fly over along with a another hobby in catton both in august . 
The garden list has gone up by two with pair of Grey herons Flying over and too a rather delightful little bird which has now become a regular to the feeders, a Coal tit.
This last sighting brings me to one of my most special moments :

A morning to remember-

Just wanted to share my experience from a saturday morning in September.
Little George(11 months old at the time) woke us up at 6.15 am and i made our way downstairs and immediately heard alot of noise coming from outside the front of house. Me and George pulled the blinds to see a full on feeding frenzy was taking place. We both sat and watched as 9 x gold finches ( 7 of which were young) , 2x great tits, 3x blue tits and a new garden tick in a very busy coal tit,  were all making there way through our selection of feeders ( not bad for a terrace house in the busy city street with only a few nearby trees for company) 
The joy of seeing my little sons face  light up with excitement has left me with a huge beaming smile and a moment to cherish forever. 
It shows that persevering with feeders pays off as I've been waiting for them to come to our small front hedge all year ( since i placed the feeders up last October) and now look forward to waking up every morning and coming downstairs with George to see whats tucking into our array of feeders next , something that I hope will be the start of a very enjoyable hobby for the both of us to share for many years to come . What's more his first word ,after mum and dad was Bird... So it's looking good!
Happy birding,

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Visit to the Catherdral and to the patch...

A lunch stop at the cathredral to catch up with the Peregrine chicks was a good choice!
As i arrived i looked up from the car park of the Adam and Eve pub to see not two but three Peregrines in the sky.I watch as the parents landed and noticed they were getting agitated .I decided to investigate more and drove round towards the main entrance.I then soon got on one of the young Peregrines on the lower part of the building- this expained the parents concern. These two chicks had only just fledged .The young that I was on was the male and looking smart and ready to take to air any time soon.

A quick trip to patch produced 2x LRP on the scrape along with 6x stock doves( cracking bird) 2 mallard duck families-1 with 7 ducklings and the other with 6. A pair of Garden Warblers were in the shrub along the path and a male Marsh Harrier hunting over the marshes .2x Cettis singing & a willow warbler and Chiffchaff were both singing along the railway line. Then 7x Lapwjngs flew over the marsh as made my way over the bridge.

Happy birding

Monday, 11 June 2012

Patch tick

  Saturday evening i nipped down to the patch with the sun shining after a miserable morning.I had Cettis at the bridge and then was greeted at the footpath by a reeling Grasshopper Warbler.

Grasshopper Warbler reeling

Grasshopper Warbler

 Super, cracking views of it out in open ( this was my best ever views of this species) also lrp on scrape and a low flying cuckoo over the marsh path. But star bird for me was a hunting Barn owl which was a patch tick for me and bringing my total for here to 94 !

 It was a Beautiful evening and ended of with a Cettis out on show at the bridge as i left- lovely jubly!

Sun breaking through the clouds over Thorpe/Station  Marshes

Happy birding,

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Work sightings, Crossbills & finally a patch visit !

  Last week was a busy week at work and full of new fledglings every where!
While at work at cringleford on Monday last week I had a Kingfisher over bridge & at the river 2 x Grey wagtails attending a single juvenile at nest.
Grey Wagtail young at nest
At Keswick on Tuesday I had an afternoon watching a pair of  Hobbies hunt . They were going through the Swifts and one even went for a Pied wagtail . Also at Keswick a Common Buzzard over head . On Wednesday i had a fly over Hobby , Thursdays highlight was a rather unpleasant one as i watched a Jay kill a newly fledged Blue Tit & on Friday i had not a bird sighting but my first ever sight of a Mole!

Ive picked up a new garden tick as well in a Common Buzzard. Been expecting to get this species ticked off for a while now so it was a pleasant surprise to look up while taking George out for a walk.
Also last week one evening me & Jim went to Colney to see if the reported Golden oriole was still around- the simple answer is it wasn't but we did get to see a Grey Heron, Common Tern ,Oystercatcher and a cuckoo so a good little spot!
 Now back to the patch (finally!) along with Jim on a beautiful spring evenings yesterday -all was very quiet . There was Swifts galore in the sky above and a pair of Pochards on the water were a pleasant surprise(didn't have a June or July record for them being here from last year) along with couple of Tufted ducks . Then I spotted a Hobby whizzing through the air giving great views in the sunlight. We continued round and with my 2 week absent from the patch one thing that really stuck out was that  everything had grown and the pathway was as narrow as I can ever recall. Round at the scrape I had another summer visitor over head , a Cuckoo & again great views. As we made our way round back to the bridge a Sparrowhawk and a hoovering Kestrel were picked up .
Jim suggested we set off in search of our own Quail( a bird I had never seen or heard) . We found some suitable habitat and begun to walk and listen out for a call. Plenty of Red Legged Partridges about, getting noisier as the  sun was setting and then a lovely Hobby flew over as a Tawny Owl called . We never did get to here a Quail but this is will worth a future visit to hear one.As we left Jim spotted a nice Barn owl hunting which flew over the road in front of us.

 A trip to strumpshaw fen today gave me great views of 16 + crossbills. (2 flocks of 7 and 9)  and some rather nice pictures too!(not bad for digi scoping)


Crossbill in flight

All in all a good weeks birding!
 Happy birding,

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Just the one patch visit-im slacking!

With becoming a Dad my time is being taking up (im not complaining though as its the best time ever)so im finding less time to get out to the patch.So with only the one patch visit from last weekend to report (i know its a bit slack) but it was a rather rewarding one in the sunshine.I decided to do a count on how many territories were being held by potentially breeding birds here (i.e-Cettis, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Sedge and Reed Warbler,etc). I had a good idea roughly where they were from the last 5 visits so i slowly made my way round.
 Cettis- 3+.
 Common Whitethroat-5/6.
 Reed Warbler- 3.
 Sedge Warbler- 5+.
 Reed Bunting- 4/5+.
 Willow Warbler-1/2?.
 On the Water there is at least 1 pair of Tufted Ducks, a pair of Gadwall ,a pair of Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Mute Swans .
While walking round i had 2x Common Sandpipers on the spit and a single Common Tern along the River Yare. A new patch tick with a pair of Garden Warblers in full song too-Lovely Jubly!
Common Sandpiper

A pretty naff record shot of a Garden Warbler
A few fledglings were seen too -my favourites being the Moorhen and Reed Bunting chicks of which i got a few pictures of:
Moorhen chick

Reed Bunting
 So plenty happening , just need to find some spare time to get back there......
 Happy birding,

Monday, 14 May 2012

weekly catch up

 Bank holiday morning was spent at the patch with main targets being returning Reed Warbler and any passing migrants over. Me and Matt were joined by Simon on route to the broad.It was quickly evident that there had been a large fall of migrants in over the weekend and the broad was full of Hirundines and Swifts-too many to number ! As we scanned the spit Simon noticed the Swallows were alarm calling and up above i picked up a passing Hobby over. There was 3x Common Sandpipers were on the spit, and a good number of Blackcaps & Whitethroats along the path as we made it round to the Marshes. A pair of Shovelers was a nice sight and a Yellow Wagtail over (thanks to Simon's Sharpe ears).I picked up a nice showy Reed Warbler in the reed edge  which was my patch tick for the year as was the yellow wag.We finished off with 4x Cettis Warblers, 1x Kestrel, 1x Sparrowhawk and a total of 4 x Reed Warblers.
My work sightings have been interesting over the last week too.Ive had a pair of Grey Wagtails tirelessly feeding there newly fledged young along the river Wensum in Norwich.I witnessed them feeding two and then watched as a 3rd dropped out from under the sluice where nest was and into the water .I waited for what seemed ages but it never appeared. But the two that had made it to bank edge were being well fed by the parents.

Grey Wagtail feeding young
 While working in Old Catton on Friday i had a Hobby over , this was actually my first ever Hobby away from water so a very nice experience. Alot of nest building and young feeding as been going on as you would expect this time of the year in all the gardens i come across and with that alot of drama. I witnessed young Coal Tits caught by Cats to a pair of newly fledged starlings being caught in the gusty
 winds on Friday to which ended in one being fatally blown into a wall and the other into a car,luckily it survived and was tended to by its frantic parents .
 At home the Gold Finches have been making more visits to the feeders so hunger mouths must be calling! A Greater Spotted Woodpecker passed over a couple times and the Great/ Blue Tits have been emptying the feeders! My regular pair of Collar Doves too have been looking a little ragged which is not surprising with this weather and young to tend too. The Swifts had gone from 2 to 10+ by Wednesday and over the weekend were numbering 30+ so fingers crossed that finally this year they will choose my roof to nest.While taking George out one morning i was treated to a male & female Bullfinch, my favourite british bird.They were going backwards and forwards from a bush on the other side of a green, so it looks like me & George will be walking this way more often!
 The weekend i was busy with the family taking advantage of the beautiful weather but i did spend an hours birding Saturday evening at Strumpshaw Fen.As i made my way up to the Tower hide i had 3x Chinese Water Deers and 2x Kingfishers perched-what a bird!


 At the Hide i watched the Marsh Harriers return with food and a couple of Cuckoos calling (one flying across and landing).I  was also treated to a beautiful sunset as the noisy Black Headed Gulls started to roost up.A cracking evening which was topped off with some nice views of a family of Foxes including some rather cute cubs- super stuff!

Sunset over Strumpshaw

 Happy Birding,

Friday, 4 May 2012


 After work today i shot down to Whitlingham after hearing a Nigthingale had been seen/heard there.
On route i picked up a family of rather cute Long Tailed Tits and a single Bullfinch along the walk to the observation area and then had a couple of Common Whitethroats as i passed the path towards the bird screen. I stood and listened out for that explosive song..... nothing.I continued a bit further and after a bit i heard a quick burst of song.I was in the right area now.I would hear it sing on and off for around 30 minutes before i got a brief flight view.I carried on scanning as it sung and amazingly picked it up out in the open! This was my first good view of this bird as the one before was a rather sulky affair! Super bird and thanks to the person who found it and who put the word out of its where abouts(and cheers James for passing on your detailed directions)A very satisfying picture of a smart Nightingale below:
Nightingale- Lovely Jubly!

As i walked back i saw a couple of Common Terns over the great Broad and a mass amount of Hirundines .In fact quite a few Swallows (tired ones no doubt) were resting up on the boats on the water. As i watched a boat  2x Common Sandpipers landed on it among the Swallows-super!
Swallows and Common Sandpiper

 A good bit of local birding and one very happy essex boy!

The Patch & Surlingham evening visit......

The weather was so good on Thursday after such a run of awfull weather so i decided today would be a rewarding day for some birdwatching! So i started off at the patch and i had only stepped out of the van a few seconds when i looked up to see a Peregrine going over thunder lane towards the city.At the water I had 2 x Common Sandpipers on the Broad spit and a couple of Great Crested Grebes . 5x Common Whitethroats,1x Grasshopper reeling and 5x Cettis Warblers were picked up along the way round. Migration was really happening here with large amount of Blackcaps and Sedge Warblers too. I got back home to bath the little one and nipped back out to Surlingham Marshes for around 7 pm. I had only walked down a few yards along the river to hear a Cuckoo! I quickly got on it as it called from near by tree top.

I continued on and heard plenty of Blackcaps and a couple of Cettis as i arrived at the Lagoon.A few  Gadwall and  Teal were present with a lonely lapwing.Over head was a soaring Common Buzzard. i then scanned out again to see the Cuckoo which now come closer and then saw a Hen Harrier (ringtail) go over towards Rockland. As i got round to the start i decided to go round again as it was such a gorgeous evening.As the sun set a Grasshopper Warbler begun to reel .Perfect end to a great bit of birding!

Surlingham sunset

 Happy birding,

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

weekly round up!

A catch up with my sightings over this last week.A wet day last week on the 25th i decided to have my lunch with a coffee at whitlingham car park.I pulled up in front of the main ramp and was drawn immediately to a large amount of Swallows in the tops of the trees.Around 50+ were all resting in the pouring rain.An unusaul sight to see indeed!
Swallows gathering in the tree tops

As i looked out over the section of the broad i saw nothing but some Black Headed gulls and then a wader dropped in right in view of the van & me-it was a Common Sandpiper. I watched as it just made its way along the shingle .
Common Sandpiper
 Also of note were  3x House Martins Later on that day i also nipped down to the patch and had the Grasshopper Warbler reeling which again was sulking low down ,not viewable.
  Thursday 26th I had my first swifts - over the broad , i had been expecting these any day now with the swallows and martins all ready been here & especially after James had seen one over whitlingham . There were at least 30 but as i left many more seemed to be appearing . I had heard the Grasshopper  Warbler reeling but decided to leave this till later so i walked up and scanned the spit and broad . Immediately i spotted a nice common sandpiper along with a single LRP.
As I made my way round the south side of the broad i had 3x blackcaps all singing . As i stood listening and watching i heard a Common Whitethroat . No views as the rain was becoming to lash it down but i did however enjoy views of a stunning rainbow over the marsh.

As i begun to think about heading back it stopped raining so i continued on. A single snipe was seen feeding at the spit edge among the vegetation and the Mute Swan was still sitting tight on her nest. I checked the marsh to the west- nothing but a Grey heron so on to the cattle pen and the cows!
These cows have been a blessing as they have stopped most dog walkers ( no I don't dislike or have issues with dogs but only those who seem to persist on allowing them to run every where including on to the marsh and scrape where the delightful LRP s are) . I scanned away at the marsh and flooded over scrape to find only a pair of teals and a pair of gadwall. Interestingly 10x Greylag were among the vegetation and the ever regular pair of Canada geese had the heads high.As i scanned the marsh I heard a calling Kingfisher, I hadn't had one this year yet believe it or not. ( although everyone seems to see one) . I approached the footpath and to my surprise it was perched on a branch over hanging a dyke! I watched as it called away, and then it took off only to return again. Super views !
As I walked back I heard the Grasshopper Warbler reeling again as i did at the start of the walk but this time it seemed alot closer . As I stood listening I see it fly across to a reed. I watched as it reeled away and then flew across the path. At this point I meet Paul , a very nice bloke indeed and we both watched and listened( and a bit of good wildlife chat too) as it made its way through the reeds.

Common Sandpiper

On sunday i walked into the city with George and as i walked out of the front door i looked up to see my first returning Swift to the street! Such a great bird and looked rather lonely in the rain.A
local Sparrowhawk then dived into the feral pigeon flock on the old hospital ( over a 100 now if not more!). My walk was finished off with our ever singing Song Thrush from the local park.
Now back to the patch .On the 30th i had the following, starting on the broad:
1x Common sandpiper ,2x Oystercatcher ,A Juvenile Grey heron,2x Great created grebes
A nice Pochard then flew over which drew my attention to the sky.3 x Swallows were counted and then a noise came from Whitlingham broad .It was a pair of Terns.I watched & studied them and it was soon evident they were Artic Terns-my first for the patch.I watched as they spent a few moments over the broad and then back over to Whitlgham. Along the path i had 2x Common Whitethroats and a single Blackcap.One of the Whitethroats was very showy and made for a good picture. As i continued round i had a passing Marsh Harrier and a soaring Common Buzzard.

Common Whitethroat

At the flooded Marshes i had the usual pair of Canada Geese and 6 Greylag Geese.One pair had 3 young with them and i watched as they paddled through the water-proper cute!(im a sucker for little goslings) A mute Swan was on the dyke and i saw a Water Vole swim across the same dyke too.Reed Bunting calling and Willow & Sedge Warblers singing it was feeling like summer.I finished off with a Kestrel over the railway line.

Happy Birding,

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Grasshopper warbler

A very late trip to the patch today was a pleasant one as a reeling Grasshopper warbler was heard from the bridge. I'll be back tomorrow to check if it's still there ( they stuck around last year so fingers crossed)
Happy birding

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Brecks comes up with the goods......

 Some pictures from a great trip out to the Brecks on saturday with Jim.
A fantastic day that gave me 2 new birds : Golden Pheasant and Tree Pipit as well as some great views of Goshawk,Hawfinch, and a Harris Hawk( a likely escapee but living very wild!), along with a huge list of birds. Check out Jims Blog for full report at .
 Heres a few pictures from the day:
Common Tern

A calling Nuthatch from church roof
Hawfinch- what a bird!

A super day and a big thanks to Jim for driving .
 Happy birding,

Friday, 20 April 2012

Busy couple of weeks......

  So it's been a manic 2 weeks so a quick up date on what I've seen!
I've only managed a couple of patch visits. I got my first Sand Martins of the year on 8th along with my first  Willow Warbler, 5x Cettis Warblers and the 2x LRPs still. On the 10th I had 55x Tufted ducks on the broad which was a nice count for the time of year, along with a few more Sand Martins over head-(also a Chinese Water Deer in among the reeds).
 On Tuesday this week I had my first Swallows over the patch with a total of 6 and 2x Cuckoos! (A week earlier then last years) . I watched from the bridge as they flew south west over towards Whitlingham. Also 3x Sedge warblers, 2x Willow warblers and single male Blackcap and 2x common Buzzards were of note.
singing Willow Warbler

Now back to last week where I got my first Swallow of the year over Marston allotments & managed to nip off to blofield for Ring Ouzel which was feeding in a field along with 2x Fieldfare and also a male Marsh Harrier over.
I got to see the very showing Hoopoe too - As soon as i stepped out the van in the car park i had a Short Eared Owl being mobbed by a few gulls. A stunning Stonechat along the way to the caravan site was a joy to see but not was all the birders telling us it hadn't been seen who passed us by . I was joined with a local birder named Clive at this point who i meet in the car park & we got gassing as u do and hoped our luck was in (he had been lucky earlier in the day with views of the Osprey at Ransworth).We then noticed a few birders up on the dunes and got chatting .Tara & Andy both had not seen any sign of the Hoopoe so all scanned away and as I watched a group of gulls cross over in the distance I picked it up on the ground .Very distance views but at least we knew it was here.
We all got a littler closer but still not great views but then it took to air after being spooked by a dog only to land right in front of us. A real picture moment !
An absolute stunner & a lifer for me so I was well chuffed:-)

Stonechat (likes the National Trust)

Also picked up the Bewick's swan that has been in the river Wensum for few days. This was my first view of one actually in the water as I only ever had them in the fields up at Catfield so nice bird to see and a good lunch break tick !
Bewick's Swan

 Happy Birding,

Monday, 9 April 2012

What's that bird? And some Sand Martins for lunch

Started off with a walk to our local park, Heighem park with little George . I've been regularly watching the bird life here and with the drizzle of rain I enjoyed the number of blackbirds and robins feeding on the tennis lawns. As I listened to a goldcrest I was drawn to another sound. It was a mixture of different songs . Sometimes a warble and then a sharp call or even  mechanical noise. It was clearly a bird mimicking other birds. After a while I noticed it was coming from some small trees at the rear of park. It was a Jay! In fact 5 were all together. I listen & watched as one seemed to be displaying to the rest of the group. I did some research when I got a chance last night and read that groups sometimes form in spring as a ceremony for  unpaired birds and a way of attracting a partner . I admit that as beautiful as a Jay is i  have usually only thought of em making that horrible alarm call of a screech they do. But now I will be looking and listening for this delightful song more .
 A quick walk down to Thorpe  river after lunch with my family & father inlaw was a good idea as around 10-15 martins were over the broads. Fairly low due to the weather conditions. No binoculars on me so I nipped back a little later and had 4 x Sand Martins & im assuming that the earlier ones were too -also 6+ Chiffchaffs , 5x Cettis and a common Snipe in the air.
 Another earlier arrival then last years recording for this species . Now I await for the house Martins and swallows to return ! 
 Happy birding,

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Another returnee .....

 It was a rather cold and overcast start to my patch visit yesterday afternoon & i started by scanning the broad first.I noticed that the Gadwall numbers were up from 2 to 4! Also 2 x Tufted ducks  and the usual resting Common Snipe which were numbering 4. I was pleased to see the lonely Great crested grebe has finally found a mate. I watched as the "weed ceremony" started,they both regularly rising from under the water with some fine selections of weeds greeting each other in a vertical position , breast to breast. This was much to the interest from the nearby nesting Mute Swan.
Great Crested Grebes

 On to the spit and nothing but a Moorhen and then 4x noisey Oystercatchers dropped in to liven things up. I walked round to the marshes & counted 3x Meadow pipits and a few Gold finches over head. On the muddy scrape the 2 x Canada geese we're still present & then among the vegetation 2 x Lrp s appeared . They were busy doing there  'foot tapping' , in search for food.

LRPs doing the 'footloose'

 I carried on making my way back to the van and was stopped in my tracks by a sound of a returning warbler - a Sedge warbler ! Beating my record from last year by a week. I watched it sulking low in the reeds never showing well but enjoyed listening to that familiar sound  of which o so reminds me of summer days here.
 I made my way back ,hearing my 4th Cettis of the afternoon and 3rd Chiffchaff both from the trees along the railway line.
  Happy Birding,