Sunday, 26 June 2011

Insects and Nightjar

With a long weekend off i finally managed to get down to Horsey on Friday to look for the 1st-summer Red-footed Falcon. After picking up mum and dad we headed off, near Hickling we saw what turned out to be the best bird of the day with a female Montagu's Harrier crossing the road and quartering the field. With that been the best bird you would have guessed that the Red-footed Falcon had gone. We took a slow pace down the track as this was the first time mum has walked any distance since her knee replacement, but this gave us time to admire the many butterflies and insects amongst the nearby flowers. 6-spot Burnet Moth were on every thistle, but also Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, a lone Gatekeeper and best of all 4 Dark-green Fritillary by the dunes. Back in North Walsham a short walk on Spa Common gave up a Great Spotted Woodpecker and my first Ringlet butterflies of the year, before we enjoyed a lovely meal a Skyton Goat Inn.

On Saturday Laura and i had a Chinese with Gary and Claire before heading out to see if we could locate Nightjar for Laura. Going to our normal site for around 9pm we expected a longish wait as it was rather light, and a nearby party was pumping out music. The music stopped shortly after we arrived and after only 5/10 minutes a Nightjar started to churr. Then from behind us a second bird flew over our heads and perched up. The bird flew a few circuits around us between perching in a Silver birch. The good light meant we could see all the features of the bird clearly. I counted atleat 4 birds in flight across the site before we left, with it still being light enough to see a late flying Hawker Sp. dragonfly.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A Green Surprise!

Since the Waxwing left my walk to work has been rather quiet, but yesterday i got a surprise. Cutting across Jenny Lind park close to where James and i used to live i over heard a couple "...oh they've got parakeets here like at home" they pointed at something and carried on walking. Well I've been to Titchwell recently and I've heard some bizarre ID calls by people with spotless Swarovski scopes and a pristine Collin's Guide. This said i had to look, without my bins i couldn't see a thing in the tree they pointed at, but as i was about to go sure enough a Ring-necked Parakeet flew over my head into a different tree. Whether the bird is genuine or an escape I'll probably never know, unless i spot a 'Lost Parakeet' poster on Monday morning, none the less a nice little surprise before work.

With today being Father's Day we took Laura's dad for a walk around Strumpshaw Fen. The cool breeze and occasional drizzle killed on the chance of seeing many dragonflies or butterflies, i only saw a unidentifiable hawker buzz past and single Blue-tailed Damselfly all the way around. Bird life was much more promising with many young fledglings in the reed beds and bushes seemed alive with warblers. Cetti's, Grasshopper, Reed, Willow, Sedge, Blackcap, Whitethroat, and Chiffchaff were all seen. The ducks all looked rather drab in ellipse plumage, not good when trying to give Laura's dad a lesson in Bird ID. At least 4 Marsh Harrier hunted over the reserve with a pair of Hobby zooming around amongst the hindrines. A Cuckoo was heard but couldn't be found and of the other small birds 2 Marsh Tit by the river proved the highlight. Kingfisher and Otter had been seen from Reception Hide but after 20min or so we decided to head home for lunch.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Supper: Roller, Breakfast:Swallowtail, Lunch:Osprey followed by cake!

I finally have had two days off work that have given up birds worthy of having their own blog, rather than a belated catchup thingy! Monday i was planning a day out to look for dragonflies and butterflies, but with the morning over cast Laura and i just pottered round the house. This changed when i checked Birdguides over lunch, 'Roller at Upper Hollesley Common', i need a lift as Laura was going to her mum's. A quick chat with Gary and a plan was drawn up, but the 3 hours i had to wait while he finished at work dragged on. Driving down was quite tense with Gary, Philip and myself all desperate to see the bird, and a quiet pager didn't help. We needn't have worried as arriving just before 6pm we watched the bird for about an hour, giving good views at mid-distance. A bird i will remember along time, sadly i couldn't get a photo.

On Tuesday Laura and i decided a stroll on the Broads was in order and headed to Ranworth. While driving over the Postwick Viaduct we had a Marsh Harrier flying level with us over Whitlingham Marshes, a new patch tick. At Ranworth, from the Maltsters pub i could see Common Tern, Great Crested Grebe, Egyptian Goose , Chiffchaff and Marsh Harrier to name a few. Walking the nature trail we were surrounded by warblers calling, mainly Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler but also Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Cetti's Warbler, all probably with young. A hobby also screamed past chasing dragonflies. Quite a few Black-tailed Skimmer zipped about and Laura picked out a Swallowtail not far from the path. From the info centre a located the long staying Osprey, before we went on a guided boat trip of the broad. It was very relaxing giving close views of the Common Tern, Marsh Harrier, Great Crested Grebe and the Osprey perched up, before catching a fish close by. c400 Greylag Geese are roosting on the broad while they moult and where joined by 2 escaped Bar-headed Geese. We got the ferry back into Ranworth village where a second Swallowtail of the day powered past as we sat enjoying a nice slice of Victoria sponge. All in all a very enjoyable 2days off.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A Quiet Month for Me

I haven't posted for nearly a month because well i haven't seen much, i had no luck with the Great Snipe, found few migrants, should have gone to look for the Broad-billed Sandpiper, Rosefinch and Bonaparte's Gull but didn't and yesterday i should have gone to see the White-throated Robin, but again work got in the way. I have managed to drag myself a few times but single trips to Cley, Salthouse and Whitlingham has been the limit of my birding adventures. A trip to Cley on the 13th May was probably the month's highlight. Although the Great Snipe was not showing i still saw the Lesser Yellow-legs, Temminck Stint, Wood Sandpiper on the pools, before finding a male Ring Ouzel along the back roads. A trip to Salthouse with Gary was rather windswept on the 15th. We walked the shingle and then the middle track before endulging in some 'Pub Bird Watching' A male Whinchat was probably the highlight on the track with a few Wheatear on the shingle and Whimbrel over from the pub. My net trip out wasn't then until the 5th June to Whitlingham. Being the end of half-term it was rather busy with boats and canoes every where. I soon found a pair of Spotted Flycatcher not far from were James had advised me to look but failed to connect with either of the two Cuckoo he had seen the previous day. A Garden warbler at the east end of the Great Broad was the only other bird of note, but Damselflies were everywhere along with a few dragonflies darting about. Walking down Magdalen Street it was nice to see a male Peregrine bombing over a rooftop level, if still a bit unexpected.