Sunday, 25 April 2010

Rouzel & terns

A pretty good day today at Breydon Water after an uneventful walk round there on Friday. Friday produced the same migrants as before although numbers Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers had increased overnight.

Along Harpers Lane today there was anice mix of warblers including a Lesser Whitethroat (106). At Breydon there was a good selection of waders including 4 Whimbrel, 300+ Dunlin, 50+ Ringed Plover, 100+ Blackwits, 3 Knot, a Spotted Redshank, 10+ Greenshank, 7 Sanderling, 3 Avocet and a Common Sandpiper. Just as I was leaving 2 Common Terns flew past followed closely by Sand Martins (107 & 108). There was a distant Ringed Plover that got me excited briefly as the black breast band was incomplete. I had high hopes for Kentish!

Along the south bank of the river the now usual mix of warblers were very vocal but the highlight had to be the elusive male Ring Ouzel (109) near the farm. Also in the same field was a Wheatear and White Wagtail while a Yelllow Wagtail flew over. On the mud flats there were 2 adult Little Gulls (110) and 3 Sandwich Terns (111) roosted. The walk ended on a high as 3 Swifts (112) flew over my house.
Just a wee montage of 'white' butterflies. I normally find these hard to photograph so it was nice to get the three common ones today (large, small and green-veined).

Thursday, 22 April 2010


A pleasnt spring day (shorts on for the first time) and I was rewarded with some spring migrants along the river from Breydon to Burgh Castle. It all started with 2 Buzzards flying high over Bradwell, a suprisingly hard bird for here. At Breydon waders were relatively scarce but a small group of a ciouple of hundred held 4 Whimbrel, a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank. Sedgies were very vocal as was a lone Whitethroat and several Bearded Tits. While watching the Beardies a Hobby flew past heading towards Burgh Castle. Butterflies were everywhere, although I only noticed 3 species, Peacock, GV White and Small Tortoiseshell. 3 Marsh Harriers at Burgh Castle hassled the large flock of waders (600+ Blackwits and 80+ Avocets) constantly. Congratulations go out to Aberlady who is now on 110(ish), while I languish on 105!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


I finally decided to put a bit of effort into a seawatch today as there were a few common seabirds missing from my list. An hour was more than enough on top of Gorleston dunes with 2 adult Kittiwakes, 4 Common Scoter and a Bonxie all to show for my efforts, sea watching is going to be hard work here!! A Common Sandpiper near the pier helped beat the boredom. The walk home through the golf course, Hobland woods and Jew lane manage to boost my list to 99 with Willow Warbler, Marsh Tit, Red-legged Partridge and 2 Yellow Wagtails. A few Chiffs and Blackcaps helped bring a spring feel in the bitter NW wind. The walk ended with a Pheasant fight, its the first time I have been remotely interested in Pheasants!


The day after the Bay of Biscay, Mr Lewis, dodgy Davey and myself headed off to Minsmere to get the two tarts some ticks. First stop was Hen reedbeds, one of my favourite areas in the region. Quiet (or quieter than most places down here) and some good birds. Spring was definately there with Reed, Sedge and Cetti's all singing while Beardies pinged away. I managed to pick up my first Sand and House Martins of the year, at least a month after most people!! Minsmere produced its usual, far too many people and good birds including this Bittern. A Nightingale was equally tame near the car park, providing a little too much excitement for some! At Dunwich there was a couple of Dartford Warblers holding territory. It isn't until someone from the birdless north comes down here that you realise how good the birding is in East Anglia.

A whole heap of blubber

At the weekend I was on the Pride of Bilbao looking at all sorts of fishy things, although the jourvey out was pretty uneventful with more wee migrants on the boat than whales or dolphins in the water. Seabirds were just as scarce, as it was this time last year. Once at Bilbao (or St Tiruzzi?) the bird geeks amongst us jumped in a taxi upto a nearby hill where we immediately started picking out migrants. First call was 'Melody' from Mr Fat Paul Scholes and it just rolled on from there, a good mix of common/scarce migrants and the resident vultures and eagles didn't disappoint either. This Redstart has the white wing patch of a samamisicus Redstart but Mr Scholes reliably informs me that he has seen 'normal' Redstarts with this wing patch in south France.

The journey back on the ferry was very eventful, firstly with 1500 volcanically stranded tourists hopping on board and then a feast of blubber. During a 5 hour spell we managed to rack up 7 marine mammal species, including some close ups of Fin & Cuvier's beaked Whale and shit views of Sperm and Pilot Whale. Dolphins bounced around everywhere and I managed to get a snap of a partially melanistic Common Dolphin. Although this happens with birds I had never really thought about it occuring in dolphins, my second lesson of the day!!! Amidst all this fishy frenzy a couple of friendly stow aways were highly photogenic. The day was nicely rounded off by a flyby Black Tern. The last day was a lot quieter as we entered the English Channel, however the mirror like seas did allow us to add Harbour Porpoise and Minke to the cet list

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Spot the difference

Back to the patch and today was very quiet although I did manage to see a few migrants at Gorleston golf course, a male Blackcap and half a dozen or so Chiffchaffs and at the beach a Bonxie flew north just offshore.
The woods near Hobland Hill were alive with birds and the "highlights" were a pair of Green Woodpeckers, two singing male Blackcaps, a Nuthatch and 5 late Redwings. Along Jew Lane four Lesser Redpolls pushed my patch list along to 94.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Back again to a delayed spring!!!

After another month offshore, again being entertained by a few White-billed Divers as well as a few migrants like Black Redstart and Gropper, it was back to the almost migrant free local patch. A quick look around Burgh Castle didn't add much except a Whimbrel and a Grey Wagtail to get my list moving again. Aberlady is on 106, a good 15 species ahead of me!!