Monday, 26 May 2014

Back on patch and a photography present :-)

Pictures first for a change :-)


Garden Warbler

An intent looking Little Owl

Large Red Damselfly

Mediterranean Gull
The patch has been neglected over the past couple of weeks, so the list has no doubt suffered, I know I have missed another Red Kite at least! I did manage to add 4 HOUSE MARTINS (82) at the end of a guided walk back on the May 12th. Since coming back from Suffolk, I have managed a couple of walks, a CUCKOO (83) calling early on the 23rd was good, I was starting to wonder if I would get one on the patch this year. On Saturday from the house a couple of MEDITERRANEAN GULLS flew north and seemed to go down nearby. A walk Sunday morning produced 47 species which included KINGFISHER, LITTLE OWL, COAL TIT, a singing REED BUNTING. I also came across a family of NUTHATCHES and found a second nest with young in being fed regularly. The highlight was finally finding SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (84) although just one which is slightly worrying as we normally have at least three pairs here. There were a few Damsels and Dragons around, Beautiful Demoiselle, Blue tailed Damselfly, Large Red and Azure as well as well as a Four Spotted Chaser and several Downy Emeralds. Butterflies were scarce though with  just an Orange Tip, Brimstone and about 4 Common Blues. Back at home and 11 MED GULLS dropped into a field opposite us giving a chance for a couple of pics.

On Friday I attended a photography course that my Wife bought for me for my birthday back in December. The course was on how to take pictures of birds in flight and how to set-up etc.. It was a really enjoyable day and not sure how much I retained from the day but certainly it was good practice and I did use a different set-up to the one I normally use and will give it a go in the coming weeks. Here are a few results from the day......

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Suffolk Secrets....

There aren't really any secrets but the title is the name of the company we booked a little flat in Aldeburgh with, for our stay in the area from the 17th- 22nd May. An early morning walk after a five star Fish and Chip supper on Saturday night proved pretty productive. We walked towards Thorpeness and cut in onto the North Warren reserve. LITTLE EGRETS fed in the shallow lagoons and SEDGE, REED and CETTI'S WARBLERS all sung in the first few hundred yards, best of all was the BEARDED TITS whizzing across the reeds regularly and dropping into to what must have been their nest site. Along the disused railway line NIGHTINGALE, GARDEN WARBLER and BLACKCAP were all heard. The reedbed area was also very busy 4 HOBBY, 1 BITTERN seen flying flying low across reeds and a couple of MARSH HARRIER completed the scene. Later in the day a SANDERLING and a WHIMBREL were seen during a stroll along the beach.

Hobby just about to take an unfortunate dragonfly!!

Our next long walk was the Sailors Path heading from Snape Maltings back towards Aldeburgh, this wasn't quite as long as we had anticipated as an early morning 5 mile run had taken it's toll!!!!!  Despite the aching limbs we walked probably another 5 miles or so. A NIGHTINGALE was heard near Snape Warren where a WOODLARK was found with a beak full of food and a DARTFORD WARBLER called a couple of times otherwise it was fairly quiet but I did enjoy good views of GREEN HAIRSTREAK butterflies something I don't see often and a couple of CUCKOOS were calling on and off. An early evening visit to Hen Reed Beds near Southwold added a second BITTERN in as many days.
Green Hairstreak - Snape Warren

One of my favourite walks was the one we did Tuesday, we parked on Westleton Heath and walked on to Dunwich Heath followed by Minsmere to the Island Mere hide. There is always a lot to see from the large herd of RED DEER to DARTFORD WARBLERS and WOODLARK to AVOCETS, BITTERNS, HARRIERS and HOBBIES not forgetting a few SOUTHERN MARSH ORCHIDS. We missed Adder which I was hoping for and also missed the Purple Heron that appeared later in the day.
Dartford Warbler - Westleton Heath

Woodlark - Dunwich Heath

Sand Martins - nesting near the Minsmere Visitor Centre

The other thing I was really hoping to see was OTTER, so at around 5am Wednesday I walking to Island Mere Hide again and was going to stay there for approximately 3 hours with just Otter in mind. I arrived to find a couple in the hide who had seen Otter at 4.30am!!! this is a familiar story for me and Otters, by 7 am they left with no more sightings, although we had seen BITTERN in flight 7 times including 3 in the air at once and had been continuously serenaded by booming Bitterns, Bearded Tits and Water Rails. I stayed in the hide and at 7.25 a ripple on the left caught my eye then nothing..... until a couple of minutes later when my first OTTER came into view! brilliant!! not fantastic views but that didn't matter.
The last action of the break was another walk around North Warren where a HARRIS HAWK sat on the edge of the marsh and most excitingly a TURTLE DOVE flew through.
One of several Bitterns seen while waiting for Otters

Not exactly sure what this male Marsh Harrier had caught but a hearty meal, possibly a Little Grebe??

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Patch additions for the year

Dad got his first GARDEN WARBLER (79) on the 23rd April, I picked up one a few days later on the 27th. Several have now arrived, as summer migrants continue to slowly be added to the year list. A busy period at work meant very few visits last week and my first proper walk was yesterday morning. I did get an interesting report from a local lady of an Albino Heron in the week which flew up out of the stream, the lady knows Little Egret and has seen many, so was happy that this bird was much too big, Great White Egret? Who knows but always interesting to hear what other people are seeing and either way I would have been happy to see that.
So back to yesterday, the RED LEGGED PARTRIDGES were seen again, 2 pairs of SWALLOWS are now in residence and a pair of REED BUNTINGS were by the lake also a pair BULLFINCH flew up from here. A KINGFISHER flew from near the moat and the WILLOW WARBLER was still in song from its favoured spot, still not sure if it has found a mate though. The first of 2 NIGHTINGALES was seen and heard near the stream, the second was just off Digdog Lane and was shared with a couple who had never seen one before, most enjoyable for the three of us. Another chat with a regular walker around the castle revealed he had seen a Coot a week or so ago, another bird I haven't connected with yet this year here.
The second walk of the day, in the afternoon with Bec, started well when a HONEY BUZZARD (80) was seen over Park Field it drifted north being harassed by crows. Finally I found a Common Blue Damselfly and what I think is a Beautiful Demoiselle the first this year. A few butterflies were around 3 BRIMSTONE, 1 ORANGE TIP, 4 SMALL WHITE and  2 SMALL TORTOISESHELL. The last action of the day was 2 SWIFT (81) heading north before we headed home, 48 species today, some good weather and meeting some nice people made it extremely enjoyable.

Cold Play...............

Beautiful Demoiselle?