Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Suffolk – Bawdsey – 18th June 2011

We drove down to the coast around Bawdsey and stopped over at the pits to see if there were any Terns fishing off shore.  No luck with the Terns, but quite a large Swallow population moving in and out of the old coastal defences.

Here is what happened when a House Martin turned up!

East Anglia Year Count: 146
Life bird count: 403. Year bird count: 210. Month bird count: 82.
Photo: Barn Swallow & House Martin (Hirundo rustica & Delichon urbica)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Seasonal Wild Flowers 7 – Yellow Horned Poppy

Here’s another Poppy, found in the bare shingle, obviously yellow in flower and each flower lasting only a few days and its leaves giving a very waxy appearance.

Nationally it is rare, therefore it’s abundance in local areas does give a false view, it is on the protected species list.
East Anglia Year Count: 145
Life bird count: 403. Year bird count: 210. Month bird count: 77.
Photo: Yellow Horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Suffolk – Minsmere – 11th June 2011

Watch out for: Breading; Gulls, Avocets, Terns & Warblers

Such is their quantity, the sound of the Gulls and Terns on the scrape and levels can be hear from quite a distance as you walk down from the visitors centre.

In summer we always head for the hides on the coast first, to be greeted with Bearded Tits, Sedge & Reed Warblers from the path down, Common Terns returning from fishing trip just off the shore line and Black-headed Gull still bringing nesting material.  Once in the hide there is evidence of breeding Avocets, Barnacle Geese, Gulls & Ducks.  Waders are in short supply (only the Avocets & Black-tailed Godwits, when we were there), but also get great views of 3 Spoonbills and an escaped Flamingo!

We move along the coastal scrub, good evidence of a successful season for Whitethroat with numerous juvenile birds around.  Swallows dart in and out of the Sluice.

From the south hides we find several Mediterranean Gulls amongst the sitting Black-headed and there is a Hobby hunting over the read bed to the south.  Several Cetti’s Warblers are singing and we catch a good view of at least one.

East Anglia Year Count: 145
Life bird count: 403. Year bird count: 210. Month bird count: 77.
Photos: Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Suffolk – Loompit Trout Lake – 4th June 2011

Watch out for: Summer visitors; Warblers, Martins & Terns

It’s always good to visit sites in all seasons and this has been a good winter place for wildfowl & gulls.  However in the summer it changes into a site for breeding Ducks, Geese, Cormorants & Swans and a location for summer warblers that also breed.

On the water there were all of the following in good quantity; Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Graylag, Canada, Coot & Mute Swan.  In the surrounding reeds; Reed & Sedge Warbler.  Then in the near by hedgerows; Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Linnet, Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch & Blackcap.
Of interest, it is generally thought that whilst the Tufted Duck are sedentary, ie the birds you see in the winter are those you see breeding in the summer, the Pochards do move around between seasons.

The breeding birds in the UK will leave for the winter, going south into southern Europe and the birds we see in the winter here have bred in northern Europe or even in the Russian Tundra.

Also Ducks and Drakes migrate at different times, the male birds moult earlier whilst the females are tending to their young thus are a few weeks behind.  This is why you see large numbers of male bird gathering at places like Abberton prior to heading south with very few females.

East Anglia Year Count: 142
Life bird count: 403. Year bird count: 208. Month bird count: 56.
Photos: Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina); Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Seasonal Wild Flowers 6 – Poppy

An evocative flower, long being the symbol of both sleep and death, they cover many fields and road sides.  Their presence shows the arrival of summer and their increased number is thanks to the reduced use of insecticides.

What a wonderful sight they are!

East Anglia Year Count: 141
Life bird count: 403. Year bird count: 208. Month bird count: 36.
Photo: Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Norfolk – Cley – 28th May 2011

Watch out for: Summer visitors; Waders, Warblers & Terns

After a week of sunshine we set off at just pass 6 O’Clock in the pouring rain and slightly doubting our logic.

Thankfully when we arrived on the coast the rain had stop and during our visit we were not disappointed with the birding.  The star attractions were, 2 Little Gulls, over flying Spoonbills and Little Ringed Plover.  It was also good so see numerous Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage, a number of Ringed Plovers, Martin’s, Sedge Warbler & Whitethroat.

Plus off shore Sandwich & Common Tern.

East Anglia Year Count: 141
Life bird count: 403. Year bird count: 208. Month bird count: 117.
Photo: Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)