Friday, 13 September 2013

Where to start??!

Since my last post I have done a fair bit, but I'll condense it into 1 blog with some photos just so I can get back to the present....

To start with back at the begining of August I went to Scotland for a week with my parents Lizzie and Toby, we went near to Fort William for a couple of nights and then on to Skye for a week. Needless to say it was as fantastic as Scotland always is, with the expected highlights of Golden and White Tailed Eagles, fantastic mountainous scenery and great walks! Apart from 5-6 new moth species I had just 2 ticks, in the form 1000's of Scotch Argus of 2 Minkie Whales- these were pretty impressive even if just seen distantly! I was quite hoping that I would get a few new odonata but there was relatively little on show while we were there. At the first location we did find a acid bog pool with a good number of Common Hawkers flying around, however they would not stop moving and photography was pretty much impossible- (So thats why I never see them at Winterton!!)  Also I have included a picture of an unidentified dragonfly- it could possibly be a female Common Hawker blue form? could it be Azure Hawker?! any ideas please let me know..

Common Hawkers mating

Cuckoo taking advantage

Scotch Argus

Any ideas???

Back in Norfolk I had my annual quest for Icterine Warbler, on what was a very impressive fall I managed to see 2!- however it is not all smiles the first one I saw was at Cley, it was seen by a few people in front of me in the willows by the hides but I was looking at a Reed Warbler thinking  -these guys dont know what they are talking about- however the Icky was apparently just below the Reed almost on the floor. I did say I saw it though- I did- I saw it fly out of the willow it had been in for 24hrs and fly very strongly over my head and away inland!!! No I could not tell it from a melodious on that.  2 days later an Icky had been showing at Gun Hill- great! As I arrived I could see people watching the bird, I got to 50m away and suddenly everyone disbanded and walked off saying it had just flown, but it was showing really well...thanks! 5 and a half hrs later after quite literally bashing the sueda I saw the bird perch up right in the open for about 1 second and then dart off into a Elder, while in the Elder I could see the branches crashing about with its movements and between clusters of little black berries I saw its eye moving..... that was it....another hour and I called it a day, unsuccessful again. (the bird was seen the next day showing well for most of the day according to the pager!)  Moral of the story if you are twitching an Icterine Warbler and I turn up you may as well leave!

Just to make things a little worse on my way to gun hill I got a phone call letting me know that there were two Wrynecks on the Strumpshaw rivebank!! It was pretty much dark by the time I got home so had a slightly uneasy nights sleep in anticipation of wether it/they would still be there. Luckily for me at least 1 was!

Wryneck, Osprey and Little Stint have been added to the patchwork challenge list giving me a current total of 149, my highest total so far ar Mid Yare in a year- hopefully a few more will come along and boost it further. It puts me in 15th place out of the whole of the UK, so I'm pretty chuffed with that (although given this autumn I'm sure the coastal locations will be raking up the scores shortly!
Little Stint

Tower hide and the water levels in general have been pretty low this year, mainly due to the lack of rain compared to previous years. (We don't put river water into the fen from the sluices in the summer as it is more likely to do more damage than good as the quality of the water is extremely poor)This has meant that the fen has had a great chance to reinvigorate its abundance of mud dwelling inverts as well as giving the flora the all important boost it needs to grow without being underwater. The fish have all been in the deep water refuges that run throughout the fen (not visible from paths), the Osprey's certainly found where the fish were hiding and by the looks of it had quite a lot of luck fishing (quite literally like 'catching' fish in a barrel). Another great thing that has come out of it is waders! Tower hide has been really good throughout the dry spell with regular Ruff numbers exceeding 20, Black Tailed Godwits putting in regular showings, Dunlin being present quite frequently, even Curlew have visited and as far as I know it yielded the first Strumpshaw Fen records of Curlew Sandpiper (2) and Little Stint (as far as the records dictate anyway)! The recent heavy rain has now increased the water level a little, so it is looking a bit less muddy than it was, providing yet more wet edge feeding opportunities for waders and maybe even a Spotted Crake might be out there.

A trip to Titchwell on Monday to check out the new trails was a good move. We had a great day and got to explore new sections of the reserve which offer excellent alternative views to the fresh marsh- perfect for those sunny mornings! We did it all with a pushchair too which was so so good, so many places are not accessible for pushchairs which is really annoying but there we were about 10m away from feeding little stint curlew sands, dunlins etc. We also saw a pec sand and a spoonbill. Congrats Paul on the water levels spot on. Loads of waders right in front of the hides!

Tuesday saw an early (4am) start to get to Sheringham to do some seawatching. The going was relatively quiet rarity wise howevermy totals were- 78- Arctic skua, 24-Bonxie, 8 sooty shear and 22 Manx shear.

And Finally, (just yesterday!) I went out in search of the Great Green Bush Cricket, I have been meaning to have a look for this critter for the past couple of years and yesterday I got the chance while the sun was shining to go. I managed to see/hear at least 27 individuals of this fantastic species. Looking at the weather forecast it may well have been the last chance to see them this year, glad I went!
I wish I could rotate on blogger!

In full stridulation!

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