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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

27th March 2013

27th March 2013

A couple of hours before office duties along the North Promenade, had me running back for the camera! The Little Gulls were performing well on the high tide, too good an opportunity!

Secured 1-2 images but will head back & hopefully improve on todays efforts.

At least 10 Little Gulls & still good no's of others - images below & also  pictures showing why they are all still hanging around, the treasures of the shoreline!

Large areas of the beach look like this!!

Monday 25th March - Exclusive Birding day

25th March 2013 

Today was an exclusive days birding for a group of 3 persons.  The weather still unseasonally very cold, we spent much of the morning hopping from one location to another with short sorties to look for birds. We started the day with a visit to a harbour area & there was good views of Bar & Black-tailed Godwit including 1 "limosa & 7 Icelandica"  Curlew, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Brent Geese & other wildfowl also a smart pair of Red-breasted Merganser flew by. We then headed off to search some nearby farmland & were rewarded with lovely close up views of Brown Hare, 20+ Yellowhammer, c20 Corn Bunting, c30 Linnet plus 4-5 Brambling amongst the flock. 

We then searched the lanes nearby & soon we were having excellent views of 2 Marsh Harriers hunting & witnessed one catching a rat! We searched a another harbour area & had more close up views of shorebirds, before heading on to Titchwell, where we lunched.

After lunch we headed out on to the reserve, we were treated to some good views of several smart Brambling, shortly followed by real close up views of Water Rail. Out on the lagoons, it was as cold as any day this winter, an arctic cutting wind - we headed for the refuge of the hides! A real feature in the last week has been the massive numbers of gulls & this was evident here as well, with several thousand on the lagoon. We picked out Pintail, some superb drakes close to the hide, then the Long-tailed Duck flew in, shortly followed by a really smart drake Garganey! Probably wishing it had left it's migration a week or two later!! Ruff, Snipe, Curlew,  Dunlin, Bar & Black-tailed Godwit & Spotted redshank were all scoped & lovely views too. The Marsh harriers were up briefly - then it was time to work through the gulls - lots of 'em!

There was at least 1500 Gulls, mainly Black-headed & Commons, plus Herring, Great & Lesser black-backs amongst the masses we picked out a minimum of 5 Mediterranean Gulls & 1 Yellow-legged Gull!

The day was nicely rounded off on the drive back with 3 hunting Barn Owls!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

24th March 2013 Gulls - lots of 'em

A quick walk from the house along the seafront to the lighthouse & back - 3000+ gulls along shore at Hunstanton, 
many Commons, no Meds obvious but 3+ Kittiwake, plus c70 Turnstone

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

20th March 2013 Otters!!

We currently have Otters showing extremely well & over the last few days Josh Jaggard has been capturing some wonderful images. Josh recently completed a degree in wildlife photography & has been joining me on tours & workshops. He has great enthusiasm & good in the field wildlife skills.

He has been watching these Otters for several months & now has a real understanding of their haunts & habits, this with careful fieldcraft has enabled him to capture some lovely images.

Couple of images from this week below - 

Josh will be running trips over the next few weeks if you are interested then drop him us an email on joshjaggard@norfolkbirding.com

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Tuesday 5th March Two Day tour

Tuesday 5th March Two Day tour

We started the day at Cley, we bumped into David & Pat Wileman whom had just seen a Water Pipit off the West Bank, but despite several attempts it remained elusive or had moved on! On the Beach pool the 
Purple Sandpiper was still present & showing very well, along with a couple of Ringed Plover, plus Lapwing &
"littoralis" Rock Pipit. 
We picked off a few birds whilst looking at the sea, Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill & 2 Gannet. The best bird was undoubtedly a female Goosander off the end of the East bank, that was close inshore before flying off west. On Arnolds there was a good scattering of shorebirds,Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover,Grey Plover etc.Off the East Bank we had very brief views of Bearded Tit, plus 2 Marsh Harrier, lots of wildfowl & c1000 Brent Geese, including one leucistic bird.

The group made a unanimous decision to spend the afternoon trying to see the WT Sea-Eagle. This turned out to be my 2nd failed attempt!! However, it was glorious sunshine & we did have continuous views of 
Buzzard, a Red Kite, Nuthatch, Treecreeper & a briefly flushed Woodcock.

Without too much trying we had recorded 94 species over the two days.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Monday 4th March Two Day tour Day One of Two Goshawk & Woodlarks

Monday 4th March Two Day tour

Todays tour was mainly designed around seeing Goshawks. But we made an early start with a wander around Lynford, where there was 
Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Siskin & other commoner woodland birds but no sign of Firecrest or Hawfinch.

Although cold, the weather brightened & the sun was out, so by mid morning it made sense to head off & look for raptors. We started steadily with 
Buzzards up & down, not quite thermalling, but with up to 7-8 Buzzardvisible. 2 Kestrels were active, but no "accipiters" in the air in the first hour. Then the Buzzards became more active & we then eventually a male Goshawk got up & twice flew across the skyline. The second view was slightly more prolonged allowing able everyone to scope the bird & appreciate the size & wing action, with heavy slow flaps before & again disappearing into the trees. We decided to try one of the most regular sites, but access is still not possible from the South or West due to Forestry commission work. We did have 2 singing Woodlark here & 1 hunting male Sparrowhawk.

We took a late lunch at a 3rd site, but despite the sunshine raptor activity was slow, 
1-2 Buzzards & 1 Kestrel,plus 2 more singing Woodlark. We finished the day looking for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, we were a little late in the afternoon & we heard a Lesser Spotter Woodpecker drumming, but couldn't locate it before the drumming ceased. We did have lots of singing 
Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Great Sp Woodpecker, Brambling Treecreeper, 2 Kingfisher & Siskin.

Sunday 3rd MarchA recce with Nick Moran down into the Brecks produced a male Goshawk, displaying Sparrowhawk, several Buzzard & singing Woodlark.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Friday 1st March Exclusive Day tour

Friday 1st March Exclusive Day tour

We started the day at Sculthorpe NR, there was an excellent mixture of winter woodland birds, good numbers of 
Siskin, Redpoll, Brambling & Chaffinch, we also had lovely views of Long-tailed Tit, Treecreeper
& Marsh Tit.
 The feeder offered really excellent close views of around c30 Brambling, 6 Reed Bunting, plus apair of Bullfinch & great views of 2 Water Rail. We didn't manage to see the Bittern, but did have Buzzard & Marsh Harrier. We headed up towards the coast & stopped off for a lovely feeding flock of c40 Yellowhammer & a few Corn Bunting, plus 2 nice Grey Partridge.
We then lunched in a harbour area, nice views of Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Redshank & Little Egret plus many Brent Geese & wildfowl. We spent the afternoon with a great mix of waders, shorebirds & wildfowl. Lovely views of Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwit & Snipe.
We finished with a look a long the shoreline, a real nice selection & good numbers of Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin & big numbers of gulls. Suddenly, the shorebirds & gulls were in the air & a Peregrine appeared, swept through the flocks & stooped, it was soon clear the Peregrine had been successful with a shorebird hanging from it's feet. It perched up on a sandbar & sat plucking it's prey, it was a nice end to a couple of great days  - but not for the shorebird!