Monday, 31 December 2012

A Summary of 2012

With this being my first year having a blog, it has been something that I should've started earlier. If it wasn't for Jim, I wouldn't have had this blog, so thank you! And also, a big thank you to you readers, I mean, for all your comments, it has given me confidence to think that my blog is a worthy website!

I will just mention that we spent a day at Landguard in Felixstowe yesterday (30th) with some friends, and we went for a walk round Landguard Nature Reserve. It was the first time I'd ever been round this place, and considering we weren't birding, just keeping an eye out while we walked our friends dogs - Peter, Brian and Benny - we saw a good number of Mediterranean Gulls....

Mediterranean Gulls at Landguard

Well, we started off the year with a Ring-necked Duck at Ranworth Broad in January, this being a lifer. Then Cranes, White-fronted Geese and a Merlin at Stubb Mill. Moving on to February, a Black-necked Grebe at Minsmere, with 7 Smew, a Goosander and a Greater Flamingo skating on ice. Very amusing. Late February was a trip to Lynford Arboretum showing good numbers of Hawfinch...

Hawfinch at Lynford Arboretum

I then had my French Trip with the school, which turned out to be a great Birding Vacation! Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Cirl Bunting, Great-Grey Shrike, Serin, Short-toed Treecreeper and Osprey were the hightlights...

Serin

We then went to Thetford Area on the 13th April, and we were surprised  to see a Cuckoo so early in the year, the earliest ever for me! Also a pair of Mandarin flew up river and into trees which was nice. Then, another Minsmere visit on the 7th May produced Wryneck, a pair of Black-winged Stilt and a Ring Ouzel...

Wryneck

And Ring Ouzel

I managed to pick out a Roseate Tern on the scrape on the 18th at Minsmere, before departing back out to sea. That was also a lifer! Then, Lakenheath Fen. Golden Oriole, a pair of Garganey with a Grasshopper Warbler. Bliss. Then, the Isle of Mull. Eagles, Auks, Passerines and Otters. Puffin, Manx Shearwaters, a Corncrake and a Dipper being the lifers of the trip. 

Puffins on the Treshnish Isles

Late June provided a 10pm start for Nightjars with a Stone-Curlew chucked in with it!

Nightjar

In mid July, Cley produced a Curlew Sandpiper plus the regular Spoonbills, the Sandpiper being a lifer. I was also pleased to see that there were 2 families of Little-ringed Plover with chicks on the reserve. Moving on to August, and Minsmere provided us with 2 lifers, Ferruginous Duck and a Pectoral Sandpiper...

Ferruginous Duck

And Pectoral Sandpiper

In September we had our Norfolk trip - 3 day stay at Sea Palling - seeing Common Scoter, Grey Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Arctic Skua and Yellow-legged Gull all new for the year. 

Purple Sandpiper at Titchwell

Then in October, we had Little Auk and White-rumped Sandpiper between Cley and Salthouse, both lifers.

Pathetic picture I know, it's the Sandpiper for gods sake!

Then, the 1st December provided a Richardson's Canada Goose at Salthouse with several other Geese. That was a day to remember, because obviously it was a lifer, but it was just because it was raining and we got wet, that was the good thing about it! (I don't know why really it's just an excuse). Then the Waxwings came into Stowmarket....

Waxwing in Stowmarket

That leads me into the next part because on Boxing Day, we saw another flock of probably the same birds with just a few more a bit further down the road towards Tesco...

Waxwings

Well, another year gone, and an incredible total of 205 birds seen in Britain this year, with 216 including the French Sightings. I wish you a Happy New year, with a bird filled 2013. Tomorrow we are hopefully going to North Warren to get some of them wild geese, and maybe a visit to Minsmere to see the Smew? Happy New Year. 

Monday, 24 December 2012

Dad's Week of Birding plus Another Great Day!

First I'll start with Dad's birding days on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, because I'm at school and Mums at work, Dad went on his own to The Strand. He went to look for either the Long-tailed Duck or the Velvet Scoter. He couldn't locate the Long-tailed Duck, but after a bit of searching at Freston at the Stoke Sailing Club, he found the female Velvet Scoter...

Digiscoped Velvet Scoter at Freston

On Tuesday, he visited Lackford Lakes. He saw Goosander, Goldeneye, Snipe, Goldcrest and Bullfinch. Here are some of his pics, all digiscoped...

Drake Goldeneye

One of about 4 Snipe


And some Goosanders

Moving on, yesterday (Sunday 23rd), we went to visit The Strand, and Alton Water. We first went to the Strand, to look for the two scarce Ducks that Dad came down here to see. Well, as soon as we pulled up, people with scopes and binoculars were looking at the Velvet Scoter, incredible.....

Dad's Digiscoped Shot

My poor effort!

Here are some other birds that were about...

Greylag's with Wigeon in the background

Mute Swans

We then went to Freston and I spotted this amongst the boats....

A female Long-tailed Duck. Incredible!

We then moved on to Alton Water, and already getting 2 new yearlies, (Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck), we were hoping to see the Great White Egret! Well, here's what we got....






video
Great White Egret at The Wonder

What we done was we parked in the Wonder car park, and went down the track that has the big map at the front, and followed it down until we got into a little clearing in the trees and viewed from 20 yards or so. It was brilliant. We also saw a drake Goosander fly over Lemons Hill Bridge, 2 Kingfisher, about 20 Little Egret, a Redpoll, a Goldcrest and plenty of Tufted Ducks. It was a great days Birding.

Thanks for reading and have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Incredible and Amazing!

After looking on Rare Bird Alert at 1:10pm, it said that there were 18 Waxwings in Stowmarket in the Cedars Estate. That is a minutes drive away from us. I told dad, and he agreed to go down with me to see if they were there. Boy were they! Enjoy the photo stream!


12 of them!



Probably the best one!



A bit blurred!

video
A Video of them feeding!

After 5 minutes, we drove back home, and got mum to bring her (better) camera to take some pics. When we got there, they were still there, but not showing as close as before. But hey, still some great pics from mum! As I say, these are what mum took....





Good aren't they?

Other birds about in the garden today was the sparrowhawk again briefly, with a Coal Tit too...


You never know, the waxwings might come into the garden as were so close. I'll let you know if they do. Off on a boat trip on the Stour Estuary RSPB tomorrow, so hopefully some good birds can show as they did last year - we saw Red-necked Grebe and Black-throated Diver last year!

Happy Birding!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Birthday, Coal Tits, Lynford Arboretum, 4 Possible Rarities plus a Cley Visit

I really need to take posting more seriously. It has been I think 4 weeks since my last post. I'm sorry ;(

I shall run through the title as in order so here goes...
You may have gathered that it was my birthday, on the 13th November, but unfortunately it was on a school day. I didn't go birdwatching until the weekend so I'll get to that in a minute. First though, its the invasion of Coal Tits in our garden. They are daily now, and sometimes, there are more than one of them.

Coal Tit in the Garden

Now, its the trip to Lynford Arboretum. Enjoy the pics and videos!


Nuthatches feeding

with a pair of Jays

And then a flock of about 15 Lesser Redpoll!

video
A Marsh Tit

video
And brief views of a Firecrest!

We did not see the reports of 2 Waxwings in the Arboretum though which was a shame. Here are some of dads pics....

Some of the Lesser Redpoll

And a striking male Bullfinch

Moving on, and on Thursday lunchtime at school, I was playing football with the lads when I saw 4 massive birds flying overhead. I raced to get a better look, and they were Stork shaped birds. When I got home, I went straight onto rare bird alert, and no-one had put in a report of Cranes / Storks going over Bacton. So that was a miss. I still haven't got a clue what they were. They weren't Swans, and I don't think they were geese? 

Now, it was a visit to Cley on the Saturday just gone....

Brent Geese on Arnolds Marsh

with a Little Egret



and some handsome Widgeon

 We then moved on to Salthouse, where the big shock of the day came....

Turnstones with a Common Gull on the beach

1 of 2 Common Seals

Plus a flock of thousands of geese, Containing a Richardson's Canada Goose!

We were fortunate enough to get a group of about 50 Canada Geese come in and land near Gramborough Hill, and I was scanning when I found the smaller Richardson's walk in front of a common Canada. It was amazing to see. My best bird ever!

A quick mention, this was in the garden Sunday lunch...

A Sparrowhawk with its kill

Happy Birding