Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Insects @ Strumpshaw

I first walked down to Carey's Meadow in Norwich to take some photos of the Bee Orchids i had seen in bud last week. While there a Brown Hawker flew through and i also saw my first Meadow Brown of the year. With the day warming up i thought it would be worth a trip to Strumpshaw to look for Dragonflies and Butterflies. Normally I'm over optimistic about what i might see but today i saw far more than i expected, 6 species of dragonfly, 5 species of damselfly and 12 species of butterfly. A Norfolk Hawker was the pick of the dragonflies and Swallowtail best of the butterflies. Bird wise i heard all of the normal warblers inc. Grasshopper Warbler but only saw Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler and Sedge Warbler. From the Tower Hide, a Hobby, 2 Common Tern and a distant Bittern in flight were the birds of note for the day.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Cuckoo Hunting @ Whitlingham

A morning stroll around Whitlingham started with a female Bullfinch by the Little Broad, a Kestrel over the meadows and a Great Spotted Woodpecker nearby. Walking the river bank i saw many young fledgelings including Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. From the bird hide i picked up my first Great Black-backed Gull at Whitlingham this year. Thorpe Marshes had little of note so i thought about heading home. I then heard a Cuckoo calling in the direction of Whitlingham Woods and had to go investigate. I walked through the woods stopping near the pines to investigate a small flock of tits and in the same tree i also found my first Goldcrest on the patch this year. Stopping to see if i could still hear the Cuckoo i found a Spotted Flycatcher, perched up in the sparse pines. A new 'patch life' bird. Leaving the woods i sat on a bench by the river and Cuckoo then appeared, flying across the river and over Thorpe Marshes, capping off a nice morning. An evening trip to Cley Marshes NWT, failed to show the Chilean Flamingos that had been present the previous, but a summer plumage Spotted Redshank was nice to see, and from the Visitor Centre mound a distant Spoonbill was a year tick, but not the most satisfying.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

An evening at Cley

The late run of migrants has now dried up, so with a day off work i stayed at home, tidying the garden and house. A Spoonbill and Roseate Tern had been seen at Cley, so when Laura suggested an evening stroll, Cley was our destination. We parked at the Coastguards and walked over to the North Scape. The Spoonbill was long gone but consolation was in the shape of a Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. 2 Little Tern rested on one of the spits and large number of Black-tailed Godwit fed, along with Avocet and Knot. Terns dropped in frequently and i was delighted when a Roseate Tern appeared, Common Tern and Sandwich Tern also stopped off. A lovely evening, which also turned up a few surprising birds.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

What's the (Blakeney) Point?

A week after (to late) the Subalpine Warbler had been seen on Blakeney Point, Gary, James and myself decided to stomp out across the miles of shingle to go and see nothing! Well in fairness when i say nothing i mean, a Reed Bunting, a few Meadow Pipit, a Great Crested Grebe, single Gannet and a load of Sandwich Terns. This Spring's migration may have been rather late but i admit that walking Blakeney Point during the 2nd week of June for migrants, is only something the dedicated or fool hardy get up to.....I'll let you decide which we are?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Black-winged Stints

After travelling back from Kent in the evening heat today was going to be a nice lazy one at home. The alarm went off at 8.30, followed by a text at 8.32 from Gary "5 Black-winged Stilts at Titchwell". Initially i said no, but Laura said we should go, we quickly dressed, grabbed James and left. Every car we meet was going slow, but we eventually joined Gary at Titchwell RSPB where we viewed the Black-winged Stilts, albeit a little distant. We didn't really want to hang about long in the heat still tired from yesterday. A brief look about also gave us a Little Gull, Red-crested Pochard and the usual waders etc. it was nice to see a large Knot flock on the Freshmarsh also. A few photos of the Early Marsh Orchids on the Fen Trail and we headed back home.

3 Days in Kent

A short break with Laura saw us traveling down to Kent, basing ourselves in Maidstone. A mini-holiday to take in Leeds Castle and Dungeness RSPB reserve. Travelling down we detoured via Waldeslade to pick up the Iberian Chiffchaff, a bird i saw at Colney a few years ago, but a life tick for Laura. We hadn't planned to do much on our first day, but a trip to a Butterfly Farm took us close to Dungeness. We drove down to the visitor centre just for a look around, knowing we would visit on Friday. We then had a 30min watch of Denge Marsh, from a road that boarders the reserve and were lucky enough to see a Purple Heron in flight. Thursday was spent at Leeds Castle, no bird watching, but the Avery provided some good photo opportunities. I also saw my first Banded Demoselle of the year while walking in the water gardens. Friday morning was my birdwatching time at Dungeness, but the day was blistering hot not ideal. Seeing the Purple Heron earlier in the week saved us spending to long in the sun (the reserve has little cover), we headed straight for the far end of the site, eventually picking out the 1st summer Red-footed Falcon hawking around with 12 Hobby. Very few little birds seemed to be around and i only saw a single wader, a lonely Redshank! Along with a welcome pint at The Britannia in Dungeness i added Buzzard and Linnet to my 'pub list'.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Cley Again.

What was going to be a relaxing day, before traveling to Kent tomorrow, started as planned. Laura and i first walked around Carey's Meadow in Norwich looking for Bee Orchids and Early Marsh Orchids, but none are yet out. We then had a nice lunch at The Village Inn, Little Melton before an after lunch stroll around Sparham Pools NWT. Here we saw the nesting Common Terns and Littlr Ringed Plover on the island, a Grey Wagtail, Spotteded Flycatcher and various other small birds many with young fledglings. We then also watched a pair of Grey Wagtails from the bridge. A short walk around Sweet Briar Marshes also failed to produce any Orchids or Dragonflies. Returning home i heard of a Marsh Warbler at Gambrough Hill, so after grabbing a few holiday vitals in town, it was back to Cley. We arrived in Salthouse beach car park and headed to the hill. Meeting Gary with other birders we soon located the Marsh Warbler, but had to wait a while for good views. My second lifer in the area within days. We then quickly stopped near Cley Coastguards to view a Red-backed Shrike, which sat nicely on a gate post close to the car. A Med. Gull flew east over the West Bank. We decided not to visit Walsey Hills where an on off Nightingale/Thrush Nightingale debate has gone on all day, they probably just want my money!