Thursday, 22 March 2018

Bluethroat, Firecrest, Black Redstart and Dartford: full house in Suffolk!

Linda, Sue, Peter and I decided to take advantage of the unexpectedly good weather to drive down to Landguard. I must admit, I was unusually pessimistic about our chances of connecting with any of the reported 'goodies', but within minutes of arriving Peter found the first of two Bluethroats: a somewhat drab and unringed individual that refused to pose for a photo! A move along towards the Fort produced spectacular views of two gorgeous little Firecrests feeding close by the seawall in the sunshine.

After coffee we decided on a last walk around the dunes and immediately found ourselves enjoying fabulous views of a second Bluethroat! Loosely associating with a female Black Redstart, this was a much brighter, ringed individual.

We drove north for lunch at Minsmere, pausing at Eastbridge, where there was no sign of the Glossy Ibis - nor the water it was wading in when I last saw it!

Last stop was Dunwich Heath: by now the sky had clouded over and I had to wind up the ISO to 1600 - I really didn't think we stood a chance of a Dartford. Nevertheless, Sue picked one out just as we'd given up: obligingly it came really close and posed beautifully for us! Last good bird was a dapper little tierce Peregrine that charged across the Heath a couple of times!

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Adders on Buxton Heath...

Snakes: you either love them or hate them! Fortunately all three of the 'Summer Wine Crew' are massive fans of reptiles and amphibians, and during the cold days of winter we eagerly anticipate our first snake outing!

Today, given the bright sunny weather, we headed to a little-known section of Buxton Heath where we've always found Adders in the past. Today was no exception! After a longish walk (enlivened by a Woodcock, several Woodlarks and a distant Yellowhammer) we reached our usual spot. Despite there still being a few patches of snow, we soon began to find Adders on the south-facing litter by the track. Often in twos and threes, it was difficult to give an accurate count, but I'd've thought six or seven was about right.

The walk back failed to produce any Woodlarks to photograph, but we did see a mixed flock of Fieldfares and Redwings. A brief stop at Ranworth on the way home added a coy Kingfisher to the tally...

Buckenham Marshes

Just a few birds from Buckenham: still plenty of winter wildfowl, as well as a 'mini murmuration' of Starlings: there were three or four groups of this size - hopefully signs of a return to past numbers of these engaging birds.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Yare Valley Raptors

A morning at Strumpshaw Fen was surprisingly productive, with plenty of raptor action to make up for the chilly north-easterly. From Fen Hide up to six Common Buzzards were displaying - and mating - over the reedbeds. They were joined by similar numbers of Marsh Harriers, as well as a very dapper little male Sparrowhawk. The woodland path added Goldcrest and a single Redwing to the daylist.

Buckenham Marshes wasn't particularly 'birdy', although half a dozen Avocets fed among the remaining Wigeon on the pools. Nearby the female Peregrine was guarding her nesting tray, providing much closer views than the Cathedral pair.