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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Rough-legged Buzzard at Ongar Hill

Rough-legged Buzzard, juvenile, Ongar Hill, Norfolk, 23/2/14
A touch breezy along The Wash today. I arrived at 8:30 and the first bird I saw was the Rough-legged Buzzard hovering over the sea wall. Unfortunately the sea wall is also a popular place for walkers with dogs and the Buzzard did tend to get pushed around. It is a wary bird anyway, all of the photographs were taken at between 200 & 400 metres. The R-LB was also mobile, hunting over the sea wall, or going north over the saltmarsh and at 11:30 flew east over the river to Lynn Point & Wootton Marsh Farms.
There were a lot of supporting species on show: 2 Peregrines, juv Merlin, 7 Marsh Harriers, Jack Snipe, 2 Kingfishers and 3 or 4 Pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Crossbill Crazy

Parrot Crossbill, male, Edgefield, Norfolk 22 Feb 14

Parrot Crossbill, female, Edgefield, Norfolk 22 Feb 14
15 Parrot Crossbills were seen at Edgefield today, along with a similar number of Common Crossbills. Also on view were 2 or 3 Siskin, Woodlark, 2 Red Kites and up to 8 Common Buzzards. Finally got some decent pictures of the "Parrots".
After Edgefield I headed to Lynn Point to look for Rough-legged Buzzard. Not a sign. There were however, 6 Marsh Harriers, more Buzzards and 4 Pale-bellied Brents (hrota) amongst the hundreds of Dark-bellied Brent. There were also 3 Twite on the Saltmarsh by the boardwalk.
Common Crossbills, male & female, Edgefield, Norfolk
 Common Crossbill, male, Edgefield, Norfolk

Common Crossbill, sub-adult male, Edgefield, Norfolk
Buzzard on carrion, Lynn Point, Norfolk

Saturday, 15 February 2014

My Bird Myrtle + Green-winged Teal, Otter & others.

Myrtle Warbler, Shincliffe, County Durham
Yeah, I know, it's not the best photo in the world but given the light & weather conditions on Saturday I'm surprised I got a shot at all!
I stayed with my parents for the weekend, in Blyth, just so I could get an early start. I was at Shincliffe for first light but the bird didn't show until 7:30 and then very briefly. Later, however, it did start to show quite well at times, allowing views of the bright yellow rump and the white tips to the tail feathers. The white eyebrow was also quite obvious when the light was ok. Very nice. I gave Myrtle the time she deserved and headed North to Wideopen to try for the Green-winged Teal. By now the heavens had really opened but the bird was soon found on the North side of the lake.
Green-winged Teal, Big Waters NR Country Park, Northumberland
There were a lot of Wigeon & Eurasian Teal but I also scoped a female Scaup.

Scaup, Big Waters NR Country Park, Northumberland
I headed off to St. Mary's Island to look for Purple Sandpiper but the tide was up and there were no waders on the shore. As I left, however, I noticed a large, mixed flock of waders on the putting green. There, in the middle of Golden Plover, Oystercatchers, Dunlin and Redshank, was a lone Purple Sandpiper.
A quick stop by Blyth pier and docks failed to provide the Great Northern Diver but did have a few Eider, Guillemots and a Dabchick.
Today (Sunday) was much brighter. My first stop was East Chevington. The North pool quickly provided me with a Red-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebes and 3 Long-tailed Duck. A pair of Stonechats provided the passerine interest.
Long-tailed Duck, East Chevington, Northumberland
From East Chevington I headed to Cresswell. I had some nice views of c20 Twite at Bells Farm. At Cresswell I was surprised at how much the water level had dropped since my last visit. The track to the pond still had the numerous Tree Sparrows and a confiding Song Thrush.
Song Thrush, Cresswell Pond, Northumberland
Truth be told, there was not much variety to the bird life at Cresswell compared with other sites visited. The exception was a Water Rail at the entrance to the outlet.
The big star at Cresswell was mammalian, rather than avian. An Otter, which I find hard to come to grips with at the best of times, was feeding in the pond. No fish was safe as he caught several nice sized Flounders. Most of time he would take his catch to a reed bed to eat but once he came out on the sandy shore and gave everyone there a real show.
Otter (& Flounder)
Otter (no Flounder), Cresswell Pond, Northumberland
That was the weekend over, except for a few Red Grouse on the way back to Kings Lynn.
Cheviot & Hedgehope covered in snow, from Cresswell, Northumberland

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Great White Egret on Nar and a thank you to RBA.


Great White Egret, River Nar, West Lexham, Feb 2014
A week or two ago I lost my pager at Blackborough End. "Gutted" you might say...and you would be right. I searched high and low for that thing! I rang the RBA and spoke with Peter who suggested that he sent a message to the personal folder so that the pager would make a noise. Someone might then pick it up and tell RBA. I decided to go back to Blackborough End myself. I got out of the car and immediately heard this screaming sound. Behold! my pager in the long grass by the path. Massive relief.
Thank you RBA, especially Peter, for their help.
Glossy Ibis, Cley, Feb 2014
Common Buzzard, Blackborough End, Jan 2014