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Sunday, February 27, 2011

27th February

Firecrest: the pair are still present in area 40, though were quite mobile today.

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Little Grebes can be seen and heard trilling around the lake

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Grey Heron coming into land and carrying nesting material

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Male (above) and female (below)

Friday, February 25, 2011

25th February

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Great putting skills and a hole in one

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Water Rail: one still present in rail ditch.

Rook: two birds flew east at 7.40am. This is one of the best periods in the year to stand a chance of seeing this corvid over London.

Jackdaw: seven were seen today 2 north 7.50am, 3 south-west 10.35am and 2 took off from area 7 and flew south-west at 10.55am.

Firecrest: no sign today, though not much time was spent looking.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

24th February

Nothing really to report as I have had today off. I did pop in this afternoon as the light was quite good for taking photos of the gulls on the lake.

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Red crested Pochards have started doing their aerial display flights.

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Lesser Black-backed Gull above, Herring Gull below.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22nd February

I have just spent the last three days up on the east coast of Norfolk visiting my mother in-law. The weather was far from perfect, grey and a very chilly wind. I only managed to do some brief birding, along the coastal strip between Happisburgh and Great Yarmouth, though mainly around the Horsey windmill area. The key birds seen were Red throated Divers (lots), Razorbills, Whooper Swan (8), Bewick’s Swan (21), Pink-footed Geese (100’s), Common Crane (3), Marsh Harriers, Red Kite (1), Barn Owls, Golden Plovers, Chaffinch (400+).

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The smaller size, shorter straight neck, small rounded headed, with egg shaped yellow rather than triangular yellow patch on the bill separate the Bewick’s from the larger Whooper Swan

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Red Kite is not a common bird in the broadland area of Norfolk this birds was following the coastline to the north

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I am not sure whether this Kestrel actually killed this Wood Pigeon

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Friday, February 18, 2011

18th February

Firecrest: the pair are still present in area 40. With a little patients and favourable conditions they can be seen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

17th February

I had a day trip to Norfolk yesterday, with an old friend of mine Dave W. We had a couple of targets species and weather permitting would try and get a couple of snaps of the odd bird or two.

Not sure what weather to expect when I left home at 5.00am I would make my decision where to start when we reached Fakenham. We arrived here as the sun was just above the horizon, Salthouse it would be with it’s wintering Snow Buntings. We parked up in the beach car park at 7.30am and scanned, looking for these fidgety little birds in their usual area. I could here them and they sounded close by. In fact their plumage camouflaged them so well on the shingle, we were surprised when as they took off at know more than ten yards distance. We took a few pictures and target 1 had been achieved. Next we were going to head to Thornham Harbour in the hope that the Northern Harrier would show. On route I pulled over on to the side of the road just past Holkham Hall. From here you can look out over the fresh marsh and with luck pick up something of interest. Lots of ducks, Lapwings a quartering Marsh Harrier, our 4th and 5th Barn Owls of the day. Then something caught my attention, so scope out. There on a gate post sat a Rough-legged Buzzard, I let Dave look and as he scanned the nearby fields he found another Rough-leg. Well that was worthwhile stop, so on to Thornham. We pulled up and there were five birders looking in all directions, never a good sign. Apparently there had been know sign of the harrier, although there were 4 Marsh Harriers, 2 more Barn Owls, hundreds of Pink-footed Geese, and a few other common salt marsh loving birds. The time was now 10.30, so we thought we would head to Titchwell, we might get lucky with the harrier there. We paused briefly in their eatery, as it was a long-time since breakfast. Hunger satisfied we ventured out on to the new look footpath. The new Parrinder hide stood out above the skyline, it desperately needs weathering in. Now where are the birds, hundreds of Lapwings and Golden Plovers, a few Ruff, Goldeneye, Pintails, Wigeon and other species that you would expect here. We got mid way along, and noticed a lot of people standing by the new hide. A raptor flying low over the salt marsh then caught my attention. It really hugged the ground, but I new by the size and shape, the dark face and barring on the wing and tail, the visible white rump what it was. I tried to get Dave on to it but it was impossible. I glimpsed it several times as it moved west towards Thornham Harbour, where it dropped down. We carried on towards the beach. Dave went to check out the new hide I went to the beach. Forty Twite were on the brackish marsh, while on the sea a large raft of Common Scoter were bobbing up and down, a few Eiders were a little closer in. I didn’t stay here long as we wanted to visit other locations. Just before I joined Dave all the waders on the pools got up, and the sky was full of birds. There must be a bird of prey somewhere I thought, but where. Then circling below the panicking mass of birds was a Peregrine. He didn’t seem bothered that he was upsetting every bird on the marsh. Joining Dave he said that it was the Northern Harrier that I had seen fly through. The crowd of bird watchers by the hide had seen it. What to do next? I thought that Thornham might be worth a look again and it was only five minutes drive away. Arriving there, the news was that the bird had gone down in to the vegetation out on the marsh but nobody new exactly where. We gave it an hour, before Dave J from work phoned to say that a Great grey Shrike and 1 Hawfinch has been seen at Lynford Arboretum. Decision made back in the car and off there. Once there it was soon evident that the shrike had flown. We did however manage to see one Hawfinch it was perched on top of a very high conifer and being buzzed by some Siskins. This was the last stop, well almost, we called in at Santon Downham, a site that can produce Lesser spotted Woodpecker, though it is still a little early in the year.

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Snow Buntings

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What is this?

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Mayhem in the skies and below the cause

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

12th February

Didn’t have time to do any birding in the park except for a quick look in the The Leaf Yard Wood, area 40.

Firecrest: the pair are still present with the female seen in trees by the boundary fence, while the male spent a lot of time in the native hedge (not viewable from outside the fence) though he did pop back to the Holme Oak and nearby Ivy covered trees. At one stage he chased a Goldcrest away from the hedge and briefly had a tussle on the floor.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

11th February

A really miserable day, with drizzle throughout the morning, drying slightly during the afternoon.

Little Owl: one sitting just inside one of the nest boxes in area 25.

Firecrest: the pair were showing again in area 40.

Goldcrest: four birds in area 40.

Water Rail: one seen in the rail ditch.

Eurasian Wigeon: a female is still present on the lake.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

9th February

Unfortunately for those birders that turned up to see the Firecrests, the little blighters were having an away day. If not that it might be the presence of several Goldcrests in to the area, with one male being very territorial.

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This bird was in the same hedge as yesterdays Firecrests

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

8th February

Firecrest: the pair are still present in area 40, although when I saw them this afternoon they were slightly further back due to The Green Gym volunteers.

Redwing: one was heard in the dark this morning.

Water Rail: one was seen in area 2 this morning, I haven’t seen two birds together for a while.

Common Teal: five in the Wetland Pen, area 32.

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Ten Goldfinches were in areas 31 & 32

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Herons are very active either displaying, nest building with some birds also sitting tight on their eggs.

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