Monday 14 February 2011

valentines day 2011 Monday

   Quite a bright day today so Russ Sherriff and I started at the concrete barges where we saw quite a number of the usual Redshanks resting on one of the iconic hulks with a few lapwings and one oystercatcher keeping them company.  Out on the river we could see gulls as far as the eye could see and one Common Sandpiper not as far as the eye could see, nice to see this little wader bobbing it's way along the shore.  Next stop was at the RSPB where we did a clockwise route round the reserve.  Plenty of wildfowl on the scrapes with a few curlew and a good number of Snipe out from the green hide.   A pair of Stonechats were feeding along one of the fences in their usual alternate down and back up fashion.   Back to the centre and the carpark and off to finish the day at Belhus.   Here we saw some of the birds that have been showing well for some time,  the regal looking Red-crested Pochard and the obliging Marsh Tit,  both among the more common of their breed.


Wednesday 9 February 2011

Visiting the Grandchildren in Norfolk

What a thoughtful thing my daughter and her husband did to move to Downham Market in Norfolk where we can go and visit the grandchildren every 8 weeks or so,  and everyone being realistic and kind, allow me to indulge in a couple of days of birdwatching.   So after arriving saturday and spending the rest of that day and sunday enjoying the family I planned to go birding monday and tuesday.  Monday wasn't a good forecast and it was right.  Another day like most of this month but I did manage to spend the day going to Mayday Farm then on to Santon Downham and from there to Lynford Arboretum,  beautiful places, terrible weather.   Strong blustery wind, overcast skies, but no rain.  No birds either, well, not as many as there should be there this time of the year.   Saw and heard some Crossbills,  quite a few Siskins,  saw a male Bullfinch that had been drinking in the Ouse, and some Redwing.  A few Goldcrests showed well at the arboretum.   That was about all. No Hawfinches.    Now, tuesday was a completely different cup of tea. It was spring like with wall to wall blue skies and, no wind.  This time I was off to Salthouse and Cley which is just over an hour from D Market.   Having nearly collided with a hare on the way I arrived at Salthouse beach carpark at 8.30am.   What a magnificent coast line this is, well everywhere is great when the sun shines.  Being one of the first to park there I had the whole area to myself, a couple of other guys rolled up and we spent a little while watching the Snowbuntings flitting here and there.   There was plenty going on, Hundreds and hundreds of Geese going over with some coming down nearby.  Some waders were dotted about and a few Shorelarks flew past.  After a while because of the sun the carpark eventually became full with birders all over the place, much to the annoyance of a few professional bird photographers.  I eventually moved on to Cley where I was told some Shorelarks were feeding along the inside of the shingle bank.  I soon picked them up at the said place and watched them for an hour before moving along the beach.   The scrapes had a number of the common waders feeding in them,  Blackwits, Dunlin, curlew, Lapwing and plenty of Golden Plover giving a flying display every now and again.   There was one immature Spoonbill in the last scrape which I had to see, (what a long walk) lucky i'm super fit?   Other sightings,  a common Buzzard, and so I was told although I didn't look for them,  about 60 Red-throated Divers had flown past.  A most pleasant day.

Thursday 3 February 2011

A quiet couple of days

Yesterday I had a walk around Cranham Marsh mainly to see if the Lesser Spotted was there this year, and to see like always what may turn up.  It wasn't what I expected when I got there.  There was some heavy equipment putting down some new paths round the site, and the noise was in competition with the usual noises of the Jackdaws and the Parakeets.  On top of that only half of the woods was accessable because of dangerous trees,  which will not be felled while they are full of Bats.   These small ancient woods are still very beguiling and while in the thick of one of them I could hear the soft calling of a couple of Bullfinches,  then a snipe shot up and away from the edge of the marsh which I could see through a gap.   I made my way back and round to the far end of the marsh and woods and from there watched a territorial dual between the parakeets and Jackdaws,  a dual I am afraid to say where the Parakeets are making substantial gains.  On my way back I saw Green Woodpeckers and Great Spotted Woodpeckers but not the little blighters,  this time anyway. One needs to be patient.    I also took a trip to Limeric gdns to see if there were any Waxwings still there, I did see three, so they are hanging around.     Russ has had a couple of Tawny Owls calling about 6 o'clock in the evening in the area of his back garden,  watch this space.  Tomorrow morning I am going to the local park to follow up dog walkers sightings of Owls there.   Saturday we are off to Norfolk for a week to see birds the grandchildren. (thanks Jono).