short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

short eared owl - Thorpe Marshes

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Big Birding Day Out-14th may 2015

On Thursday 14th may me,Yorkie,Steve,Tony and Phil set out on our annual Big Birding day out, which we have done for the last 5 years now. I picked up Yorkie at 3.40 and we were with the others by 4am & on our way down to East Wretham. We started here for a change as we had been told of where to pick up Tree pipit,Woodlark and also that Redstart were back. Well let's get this out the way now.... We drew a blank on all 3 , that's not to say they weren't there though. What we did get was :- Song thrush,Blackbird,Wren,Chiffchaff,Robin,Chaffinch,Blue,Great& Coal Tit. Also on the water Little Grebe, Pochard,Egyptian goose, Mallard duck, Oystercatcher,Lapwing & Shelduck. Then as we walked round some more picking up Curlew,Herring gull, Lesser blacked backed gull, all fly overs and Mistle thrush, Wood pigeon and Corvids . We left for Santon Downham.

East Wretham
 As soon as we were out of the car Common Pheasant, Magpie, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail. Then from bridge :- Grey Wagtail, Mandarin Duck & Collar Dive. We decided to not go all way down for a slim chance of Lesser Spotted but to walk to the bend and back. we soon had a very showy Garden Warbler, followed quickly by Common Whitethroat , Sedge Warbler and Blackcap among other common birds.

Grey Wagtail

Then I heard a Tree Pipit( a target bird for the day as not usually seen on the day out). After a bit of time Tony managed to pick it up on a tree top along the railway line-Luvly jubly!  As we made our way back to car we also picked up Nuthatch ,Kestrel, Moorhen,Goldfinch,Jay,Swallow & Reed Bunting. We left Santon at 7.35 to Lynford but a quick stop off at a location given to me by James. A nice spot with some clearings which gave us another closer view of Tree Pipits and nice looking Yellowhammers( forget sometimes how stunning these fellas are) but unfortunately not the hoped for woodlark this time. But as we were about to go  we the got a bonus bird in Goshawk! We all got on it as it slowly made its way across . Now I was happy!
Now to Lynford-8-45am- target bird was Firecrest and possible Hawfinch if we were really lucky , well we weren't but nice views of the expected Firecrest . Also Swift, Long tailed tit and Marsh tit picked up quickly with Tufted duck on the water.  Then as we turned to walk back to car park I heard and then saw Siskin. As we all got on it Yorkie picked up a Spotted Flycatcher high on the tree tops - now to the lake & as soon as we caught sight if the water it was evident there had been a large arrival of Hirundines.  We quickly added Sand & House Martin along with Great crested grebe and cormorant on water . As we leaving a Gt. Spotted woodpecker flew across . We were now on 56 species and on our way to Weeting Heath, picking House Sparrow as we drove.
Weeting Heath- 10.40am. We quickly were treated to probably the best views I've had of not only 1 but 5x Stone curlews! As we watched with the bonus of no heat haze( a first for me) we also picked up a Wheatear and Mistle Thrush. As we left a Green finch sung .

Stone Curlew
Lakenheath,11.30am. BHG, Cettis,Common Tern, Shoveler, Hobby,Stock Dove,Little Egret, Gadwall, Grey heron & a very showy Reed Warbler were all added quickly . Then as we walked up towards the 1st huge reed bed a Bearded tit was picked up by Phil. We all got on it just before it dropped down. Then 1 of a couple of Marsh harriers were noted before we told of a Great White Egret that was seen on the river a few moments before we arrived. So a quick walk back to the river and within minutes it took off and flew past us . A bird I was not expecting today so well chuffed!
Back towards the car and Dunnock was now added to list. We then stopped on the bridge in hope of hearing the reported Gropper . No sign but one of the lads then shouted Kingfisher, which flew low across the main road. I was in the car on the phone to the misses at this time but it didn't stop me turning to see the rear end of the Kingfisher and then pick up a perched Sparrowhawk!
  Now the longer drive to Flitcham , via Roydon common where we added just the one bird to the list , Grey Partridge.  We arrived at Flitchem at 2-30pm ( later then planned ) and soon was watching the Little owl which was well hidden among the truck of the tree. Soon after we picked up Red legged Partridge & Tree Sparrow.

Red Legged Partridge
Tree Sparrow
From here we headed to Hunstaton to pick up Feral pigeon,Common Gull & Fulmar. We arrived at Choseley Barns and tony showed us where to park to view the Dotterels. We were treated to super views to 18 in total ( the most I've personally seen together) and quickly added Yellow Wagtail  in route to Titchwell-4.15pm.
A few of the 18x Dotterels

Fulmar on nest
  At Titchwell we picked up Red crested Pochard, Little Tern, Little ringed plover, Black tailed Godwit, Little Gull, Dunlin , Turnstone,Common& Green Sandpiper ,Avocet ,Sanderling ,Redshank,Grey Plover,Linnet,Meadow Pipit & Brent Goose
Red Crested Pochard
We then decided to head towards the beach while we could as dark clouds and the ever increasing wind was getting worse. We picked up Gannet, Sandwhich Tern & Common Scoter from the sea along with Golden plover on the shoreline. Then as we walked back to the parrinder hide I spotted a flying Spoonbill cross and then land in the pool. We were now on 117 species for the day and soon made it 120 with Temmincks stint, Ringed Plover & Wigeon . We were not sure what to do with weather getting worse , fading light and time not on our side so we decided to miss out Cley and go to Salthouse Heath in hope of Nightingale & possible Nightjar. But although Barn Owl was picked up along Holkham, we were unable to see or hear anything else to add to our day list . We ended on 121 birds seen and 3 more heard only (Green Woodpecker, Tawny owl &Turtle Dove) giving us a total of 124 birds for the day. I had aimed for 130 before the day but weather was not great and lost time yet again was probably to blame as Cley was missed out this time. A great day as usual with the lads and enjoying what great birds this part of the country has to offer. Thanks for Steve for sorting out the day & Phil for driving_Already looking forward to next years!
 Happy Birding,


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Twitching a Finch!

   So last sunday me , caterina and the kids were on our way to Pettitis animal adventure at reedham when news broke of a Citril Finch at Holkham pines west end. A call from my mate Matt saying that he was on route , followed by a mass of activity on Twitter over the course of the morning had me thinking of where I would be at come late afternoon . But family first and after a picnic ,many rides on the Train, cup & saucer & pirate ship, we were on our way home. I decided to check what James, yorkie and Jim were up to. Before I knew it I was on route to pick James up and waiting for Yorkie to arrive at my house. Meantime a phone call from Matt got me very excited as did another phone call from Jim, as they both had been treated to super views & were both on way home. We hit the road & in no time we were driving down Lady Anne's drive , picking up some flying  Brent geese & Oystercatchers over. But these weren't even really noticed as it was a yellow/green finch that we were all thinking about . As we walked along the Pines heading for the west end we would see many birders passing us heading back to there cars all saying it was showing well, we speeded up our walk to now more of a fast walk/slow run . We were greeted to around 20+ people ,among them Steve & Tony who kindly pointed out where it was and then showed us in there scopes. Wow, a stunner! It was out in the open with the sun shining down on it catching its green,yellow and grey.

Citril Finch
We stood there watching it feed around 50 minutes before we decided to go . It wasn't as busy a twitch as I had imagined( hey I'm not moaning it was nice to have some room ) with the drive, walk up and then bird it self was probably the most enjoyable and relaxed twitch I've done so far. Any way that's no.263 on my life list and who knows the way things are going it could be 264 come June!

3 very happy lads!

Happy birding

Monday, 11 May 2015

Patch visits and Buckenham Gold!

   So a few patch visits over the last week to note-
 I decided to head to Careys  meadow before hitting the marsh . As I head round ,I picked up - 7x Swift over ( year tick) then a family of Bullfinches(luvly jubly), also 2 x singing garden warblers 2x Cettis warbler, then a very nice Lesser Whitethroat singing . Notably 5x Common Whitethroat among plenty of Blackcaps too, it really was a place in  song! Then 2 x pairs of Mistle thrush over among the trees as I left.

Garden warbler

A evening visit to the patch later in week with Yorkie & we were treated to Both Nightingales singing ,no Gropper heard but Cettis,Reed,sedge all vocal plus 7x Swallows east.

Little Ringed Plover

 Another visit to the patch gave me my first ( and a little over due ) Little Ringed Plover!There were 2 on the shingle bank . Delighted to see these little fellas return (From conversations with Justin, Probably breeding nearby  as in previous years) again Hobby over west as on last visit here around the same time. Then I had 2x Common Terns drop in .They settled for a while next to the pair of Lapwings before fishing on the broad and leaving east. A nice count 13x Sedge , along with 3x reed warblers ,2x cettis & 2x reed bunting . As I left a calling Female Cuckoo (bubbling) into trees as light was starting to fade was a proper nice way to end the visit .

Common Terns and Lapwings

   Now before I get to my Buckenham Visit I ll just mention a coupe of nice garden ticks. On the 3rd may my first Swift on the street , joined by 6 more on the 5th may . On the bank holiday weekend also a Common tern passed over the street heading south a nice garden life tick.
  Now a trip to Buckenham marshes was a good one . After watching 3x Hobbies over the main pool I was soon looking at a Pectoral sandpiper - a lifer for myself.

a poor record shot of Pec Sandpiper-262
After half hour I decided to head back but a phone call from Mr Bradley stopped me in my tracks. He wanted help getting on it..........from the otherside of the river!  The cheeky boy was pushing his luck for a patch tick! After alot of   " can u see the Redshank near the fence post"  and   " u know... Near the Canda goose, near that BHG nest"  he some how got on it, result!
 As I write this I've just returned from Holkham pines ...... Save that for my next blog post I think!
As usual, Happy birding