Monday, 7 May 2018

American Bittern

On 24th April I decided to go and have a second look at the American Bittern. I did see it in flight with a Great Bittern the day after it was identified, however a flight view was not quite sufficiant for me. 
I started work at 5am so had the latter part of the afternoon off. It rained the whole way to Carlton Marshes until I parked! I arrived at the small crowd and learnt that the bittern had been seen in flight briefly a few times in the past 4 hrs but not very well. Things didnt sound great. I got to the ditch that the bird had been showing in the previous few days and set up my scope, lifted my binoculars and found the bittern staring back at me.. result! it then walked straight towards us fishing as it went, then swam accross the ditch and started walking away. In all I was watching it for about 25mins and it offered fantastic views. If it had of ben a great bittern showing this well I'd of been very happy, but the fact that this was an American Bittern was even better!
I got back to the car and it started raining again, it did so all the way home too! 
So as twitches go it was pretty much perfect, great weather, zero waiting time, point blank views and some nice photos to show for it all.

In other news.... I found my third Savi's Warbler at Strumpshaw Fen on Saturday morning from Fen Hide, my first bit of birding on the reserve in ages without a group and I was very kindly rewarded!!
 









Saturday, 6 January 2018

Winter update

A quick pictoral update..

Christmas was spent in the Lake District with my parents sister, and of course Lizzie and Toby. After a very poor end to the year (for various reasons, but if bad things happen in threes, the week leading up to Christmas covered all very three well!)... a much needed escape was in order. We all had a great time and managed a few decent walks, one of which on the tops by Hawswater was particularly good in the snow. A walk around brothers water rewarded us with a nice great northern diver too.

Hawswater- where eagles once roamed





Unfortunately we left a few things behind at the cottage so my father very kindly offered to meet me halfway (from Essex, thanks Dad!) so we opted for Hazelwood in Suffolk so we could catch up with the arctic redpoll... this showed very nicely!






Finally most of east anglia seems to be flooded at the moment so its no great surprise that the fen has been quite badly affected too. I took the picture of the young pike on the middle of the footpath! A waxwing was also briefly seen along Sandy Wall, which was very nice.



a young pike on the footpath!

The path at Strumpshaw- its been flooded more than usual in the past 4 weeks!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Easterly wind, migrants, 2 good walks and a rare wood wasp

 A promising looking week with easterly airlflow made me book monday and wednesday off in the hope of finding some drift migrants. I was largely successful in finding the more frequently encountered migrants, but rarer species illuded me. I was surprised that there was nothing particularly rare found in norfolk over the week.

Blakeney point Monday 25th September
whinchat-10
redstart-4
spotfly-2
brambling-1
wheatear-1

A good walk from Waxham to winterton via sea palling
YBW-2
spotfly-2
redstart-5
whinchat-4
wheatear-15
brambling-1
redpoll-3
hobby-3
mipit-141South
willow warbler-2,
blackcap-3

Matt Stainthorpe and I had another visit to East Hills on 30th September, a very pleasant day, starting with a yellow browed warbler in the dell before making our crossing.

East Hills
YBW-3
ringtail hen harrer
chiffchaff-6
goldcrest-4
wheatear-2
pintail 1 over

The most interesting sighting of the day at East Hills was an insect, a wood wasp, sirex notilio. This is a rare insect not encountered frequently at all. It is unclear just how rare it is in Norfolk, or indeed if it haseven been recorded before in Norfolk! An amazing beast whatecver its status and a good spot by Matt, the insect is about an inch and a half in length!














Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Southern migrant hawker

On my way to Dungeness I nipped home as it was en route, I also had the chance to finally catch up with a new dragonfly...Southern migrant hawker.
The habitat, wedged between a tidal creek and busy Canvey Island road, did not exactly shine as being overly interesting, but the rushy ditch was certainly very appealing for the SMH. I got there quite early as wanted to spend the majority of the day at Dunge, I managed to find at least ten SMH's in around half an hour, one of which I found before it saw me (they were quite flighty, especially when warmed up).
As soon as I saw one in flight, I instantly knew I had got lucky, the amazing blue eyes, thorax side and very blue abdomen really stands out, far more even than the photos show. A truely stunning dragonfly, I hope they follow others and spread a little further North, would very much like to see these again.