Thursday, 30 August 2012

I'm Still Here!

The normal British weather is still lingering over the UK, but I must admit, it is getting better. Every day of the week now, the local Chiffchaff is still calling and showing well by the rabbit hutch on the corner, and I have managed to get some more pics.......

Also in the garden this morning were about 10 Long-tailed Tits in the far bushes, but soon cleared off.

We all headed to Alton Water earlier this week, but unfortunately there wasn't much to see. A Common Sandpiper though was resting on one of the platforms, and plenty of Common Terns, Great Crested Grebes, and Passerines.

Common Tern

We having a weekend stay in Norfolk, and we're leaving tonight, and coming back on Sunday, and I know for a fact we are heading up to Blakeney Point, so wish us luck. Obviously, I will post about it when we get back. Happy Birding.

Monday, 27 August 2012

A Few Highlights!

A couple more Stowmarket Golf Tournaments gone by, and even when I play pants, the birds produce great sightings. On Friday, it was Stowmarket vs Haverhill, so, it was formatted in a Ryder cup way, called Match-play. There were 4 matches, and me and my playing partner won our game 5 and 3, which means, the other team couldn't beat us with 3 holes to play. That was the highest score of the day. We were over the moon. The final score was 2 each, so the match was tied. Anyway, on the 16th Hole, there are some dense trees on the left of the putting green. I happened to spot one of the local Tawny Owls roosting up againts a tree. Fantastic. I didn't see him with his putter though :)

Back in the Garden, we have had both the Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler back in the garden every day, but the Willow Warbler not quite so frequent.

Chiffchaff in the Garden taken on Sunday

A nice Peacock Butterfly shew well on Sunday

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Yare Valley Birdwatching!

Dad and I headed for Norfolk on Thursday to go Birdwatching with my cousin James. It was an early start, so getting up at 7am wasn't the easiest thing to do. We met  James near his patch, Surlingham, and after following him to his patch, we got off to a start. A great wader to start off with was a Green Sandpiper.

Green Sandpiper at Surlingham

Another interesting passerine to get, especially for Jim was a Marsh Tit.

Marsh Tit at Surlingham

A nice Peacock too, with several Common and Migrant Hawkers

Peacock Butterfly at Surlingham

We then moved on to Buckenham Marshes, not a million miles away from Surlingham. A Hobby flew over, and a very close Buzzard too - you can see these videos on the video page. We got to the Hide, and some distant views of about 4 Yellow Wagtails were feeding beneath the cattle, and another 4 Green Sandpipers were on the mud. Just a general sight of the Barnacles, and Egyptian Geese.

We then moved on to Cantley to try and get Wood Sandpiper. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way, but a lot of Ruff, a few Avocet and Yellow Wagtail, a group of about 7 Snipe, and a distant Water Rail.

Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits and an Avocet

Snipe on the edge of Reeds

The visit before Cantley was a brief one to Strumpshaw Fen, looking for the beautiful Willow Emerald Damselfly. After 10 minutes of searching, Dad spotted the first one, then I spotted a second, what a beauty!

Happy Birding!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

There's 2!

Monday morning, the day after all our great sightings in the garden, I'd thought I'd be a warden like person for the garden, but not for the first time though. About 11am, and The local Chiffchaff looked perky, calling and singing in the tree by the corner. Eventually, after about 15 minutes of singing - unusual - another bird turned up, incredible. I am fortunate to say that I was quite lucky with the camera, because some decent pics and a video really worked out. On the video, you can hear the Chiffchaff's singing. Maybe they are pairing up already for the winter maybe?

All 2 Chiffchaffs!

Monday, 20 August 2012

2 More Great Garden Migrants

From Saturday, the weather has really picked up in temperature, and with a bit of a south-easterly, its dragging in migrants across the country. Since Friday, I have been sitting in the garden all day, just writing down what I have been seeing. At least 3 Sparrowhawks, 10 Linnets, 30 Goldfinch, Green Woodpecker - a good sighting - Swallows and House Martins, Swifts and many other birds. Saturday morning I heard a "pueet" noise of 2 different tempos. I had my bins and camera, ready for it to appear. After about 2 hours, I located it in next doors big tree, and then, it merged into our bushes by evening. It was a Willow Warbler, incredible, a first for the Garden. I managed to get a picture and a video.....

Willow Warbler in our Red Tree.

Willow Warbler

Sunday morning was a much earlier start than usual, getting up at 6am. In my dressing gown, I wondered outside for any reappearance of the Willow Warbler. Sadly, it had moved on. But something else caught my eye. Another "pueet" came from the brambles, much higher pitched and at a higher tempo. I grabbed my bins from the utility and realized it was a different warbler, it was a Chiffchaff! Unfortunately, it was a bit camera shy, but it is still lingering about the area, coming into the garden after every hour or so, particularly in the evening........

This is the best I got I'm afraid. You can see his legs.

Onto other wildlife in the garden now, and another first was a Jay, which flew across the road about 0.2 miles up the road from us. This is the first ever Jay we've had in the area. The Migrant hawker still lingers. And yesterday (19th) we had this in the garden.....

Possibly a female Banded Damoseille.

Going to Norfolk on Thursday with Jim - - so I shall update you with that. Happy Birding. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Woodies Back!

On the morning of going to Lackford Lakes, I was getting my breakfast and noticed that the Great-spotted Woodpecker had come back to the peanut feeder. I couldn't believe my eyes. I hurried to get my camera from my room, switched it on to video mode, and here's what I got....

Great-spotted Woodpecker on our Peanut feeder early morning

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Lackford Lakes

Mum and I visited Lackford Lakes on Thursday, and we were hoping to get good pics of the local Kingfishers that roam the Lakes. Anything else that was about for the day would have been great too to see. So here's how we got on......

Days got off to a good start, with a few Red Admirals

Also some Tufted Ducks......

And some Egyptian Geese....

Plus, plenty of Geese and Cormorants too.

This was the hide where our cameras got switched on properly, Bills Hide. After not even a minute we spotted a Kingfisher doing a little fishing on the right hand side, with some Moorhens. 

Mums Pic of the Kingfisher

Here's my Pic! Only one winner really. My Mums, Don't you think?

We then moved on to the Double-Decker Hide, where some people with large Camera lenses gathered to view some Green Sandpipers. A nice sight.....

Mums Green Sand...

The other Green Sand, my pic.

Mum is definitely getting the hang over her camera! I need a bit more practice. Happy Birding.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A Day in the Garden!

My Grandmother came over for Sunday Lunch, so we sat in the Garden all day with my camera, binoculars and sightings book. It was an incredible day, with a few firsts too. Here's our garden, where all the wildlife was....

Our Garden
And here's what we saw....

Migrant Hawker, thanks James

Holy Blue Butterfly

Peacock Butterfly

Common Frog

Then, some swallows were flying over all in alarm. I happened to turn the corner, and this is what we saw....

We thought that it was a Goshawk at the time, because with great views, it had extremely slow wing beats, and the extensive white patch under the tail was showing well. After a while it had cleared off, but then, we let our rabbits out for a run in the garden.

Sooty - the Grey one
Jeri - the Brown one
Happy Birding!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Our Local Pipistrelles!

For about a year we've had Pipistrelle Bats in our garden, and occasionally there is more than one. They favour our back garden, but very rarely we see the Long-eared Bat. I'd though I'd show you the bats feeding in our garden at about 9:15pm. The chatting in the the background is us watching the Olympics, and then Dad talking at the end. This was taken through glass in our lounge, so that's why its not crystal clear. You need wary eyes as the bat flicks past the picture.

Pipistrelle Bat feeding at Dusk 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Once again, Minsmere's the Place!

Dad and I headed for Minsmere on Wednesday, looking for the elusive Ferruginous Duck, that has been lingering around Island Mere. We were also prepared for the local Spoonbills to show up as well, and maybe some other interesting species.

First we headed to Island Mere, hopefully getting the day off to a great start with the Ferruginous Duck. When we got in, people were still searching for the duck, amongst about 250 other ducks! After about 15 minutes searching, I revealed the elusive Ferruginous Duck!

The darker coloured bird, center is the Ferruginous Duck. I took this one. 
Here's Dads...

The one with the white bum is the Ferruginous Duck.

That was a great start, and one of my target birds of the day ticked. This was my first ever Ferruginous, Dads second, as his first came at Bosmere - I don't regret not seeing it as much now! We moved on to the Bittern Hide, and typically, we had been 15 minutes late of seeing the Bittern right in front of the hide! Within 2 minutes I spotted a distant group of 5 Spoonbills flying towards us......

5 Spoonbills

The pinging of Bearded Tits ruled the reedbeds, but not showing. We did however get a great view of a Reed Warbler right in front of the hide. A brief Sedge Warbler, and a squeaking Water Rail was upstream out of sight. Some Butterfly species were about, with Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper and some lovely Painted Lady's. 

Speckled Wood


Not Sure, possibly another Gatekeeper. 

We moved back, had lunch, and we headed around the scrape. Unfortunately, they were chopping down the vegetation, so all the wading birds were on Lucky Pool, so that's where we headed. 


The pool was packed. interesting birds included the 5 Spoonbills, Spotted Redshanks, Greenshanks, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Avocet and Little Egret. A few more waders came in off the sea and onto Lucky Pool. Here they are.

You may be able to see the faint circles on the furthest bird left, and the fifth bird from the right. The left hand side bird that is circled is a Curlew Sandpiper. and the one preening on the right circled is a Pectoral Sandpiper. It took me a little while to try and id this bird, but with a bit of help from the visitor centers sightings board, it soon clicked in. This is my first ever Pectoral Sandpiper, and the same with Dad. This bird wasn't there for long, and neither was the Curlew Sand. But the Pectoral Sand was seen again yesterday on Lucky Pool again. An incredible day. Happy Birding.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Weekly Catch Up

Because of the summer holidays, golf competitions have been flying out of the roof, so even on golf courses, some interesting wildlife can be viewed. We started off on Saturday, with a monthly medal at Cretingham Golf Club, which was Kingfisher full. I have seen these key fisherman before here, but not recently. We saw about 3 Kingfishers flying around ponds and over fairways. That was mainly it for that competition, which was made even better when I got a cut from 23,to 20, this being my handicap. As you may have gathered, I was quite a bit under my handicap (-4 to be exact).

The next competion was on Sunday, and it was a 9 hole course at Stonham Barns. I didn't play brilliant, but I went round in 37, with par being 29. My best round this course is about 32, so with a round like that, I would have won it. A nice sight though was a pair of Redpoll, mixed in with some Linnet, and Green Woodpecker families too.

On Monday, I was at Purdiss Golf Club, and another Kingfisher sparkled my round, but I still didn't play very well. Then, Tuesday was back at Stowmarket, and with the local Buzzard taking to the wing, it scared most of the other birds away. Another couple of Kingfisher at Ufford on Wednesday, and Rushmere produced plenty of Linnets and 2 more Buzzards. The next 4 days were all at Stowmarket, and a summary were Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Linnet and Kestrel. In two of these rounds, I came in the top 5, incredible.

I took Mum to the patch on Thursday, and the Great-crested Grebe pair have still got their 3 young, followed by plenty of Black-headed Gulls.

Great-crested Grebe with young


A few patch ticks were a Goldcrest, and 2 Treecreeper. We spent a bit of time looking for the Banded Damoseille too, and here's what I got.

Male Banded Damoseille

The last little thing is recently, I have been collecting egg shells, no, not eggs, just the shells. I have got 2 in my collection so far, one being a Woodpigeons, and the other one I need some help on readers. This ones the pigeons...

Quite glossy, a bit fatter than the other shell

Here's the other one, possibly a Collard Dove?

Please comment your suggestions. Thank you.

The day before this post was written, Dad and I went to Minsmere, so have a look at that to see how we got on, in a couple of days time. Happy Birding.