Monday 21 January 2008

Abberton, Mistley Quay & The Orwell – 20th January 2008

Sunday was a very grey day but thankfully not raining, ideal conditions for testing out the focus tracking fix for the camera, not so great for birding. First stop Abberton, with the wind at near gale force across the causeways, great to see Smew, 200+ Pochard, 50+ Ruddy Duck and 2 Goosanders. We then drive north, but still in Essex to Mistley Quay. Much more sheltered here and good views across the Naze estuary, Pintail, Black Swan, Mute Swan, Brent Goose, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Black-headed Gull & Common Gull, great flight photo opportunities. Finally, a quick stop at the Strand on the bank of the Orwell for Wigeon, Teal & 50+ Little Grebes.

Just one antidote I really must add. I’d like to mention the gentleman who drove his car up so close on Mistley Quay it touched my leg, when I enquired as to what was going on, he put his keys back in and drove off…… nothing stranger than folk!!

Life bird count: 359 Year bird count: 81 Month bird count: 81

Tuesday 15 January 2008

Cley & N. Norfolk Coast – 13th January 2008

Now when a rare bird arrives in your back yard (Norfolk that is) despite your adverseness to twitching and even though you know there will be hundreds of people there because of the press coverage, you really do feel obliged to have a look. So off to Cley we trot, White-crowned Sparrow (life bird) tick, actually a very nice bird and it must have been truly enthralling to discover. Thank you very much too all those in Cley who are looking after such a rarity on these shores. From there we moved along the coast with the aim of picking up a Richard’s Pipit at Terrington Marsh (miss it on this occasion) however en-route we saw largish numbers of Ruff, Golden Plover, Curlew, Pink-footed Goose and Lapwing.

Life bird count: 359 Year bird count: 69 Month bird count: 69

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Ipswich & Trimley Trout Lake – 6th January 2008

An altogether local outing today, with the light just perfect it was time to give the scope a rest and go for some photographs. Our first stop was Ipswich Park for Moorhen, Mallard, Jay, Long-tailed Tit and Sparrowhawk. Some good views also of Black-headed Gulls doing what they do best…. feed! Next we moved on down to Trimley Trout Lake, large numbers of Brent Geese, Widgeon, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Coot & Mute Swan. Plus Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Meadow Pipit, Little Egret and Grey Heron. For the detail there were single Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls in the raft of Black-headed, Herring and Common, but we only identified Yellow-legged and a Black Brant was reported amongst the Brent, but again not personally seen. Life bird count: 358 Year bird count: 63 Month bird count: 63

Bawdsey, Lynford & Minsmere East Anglia – Christmas Break 2007

The Christmas break resulted in three birding trips, Bawdsey, Lynford Arboretum and Minsmere. The first was all about wildfowl and produced a life list bird in a Tundra Bean Goose grazing in a field, this spit is always difficult to pin-point but the bill pattern and orange legs were good enough for me. Also on the same land were 4 Bewick’s Swans, Mute Swans and a large number of Greylag Geese. On the lagoons we saw Pochard, Tufted Duck, Widgeon, Canada Goose and Snipe. On the periphery there was Meadow Pipit, Green Woodpecker and Lapwing. Our second trip was to Lynford, where many common species were in view including Greater Spotted Wood Pecker, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Nuthatch. Also the less common Willow Tit was heard and seen deeper into the wood and there was an Egyptian Goose on the river. On the near by “old“lake there were 4 Goosander along with Greylag Goose. Finally, on new years day we headed for Minsmere and did the whole reserve, highlights being, both Whooper and Bewick’s Swan, a very large number of Snipe, Treecreeper, Marsh Harrier, Common Gull and Red-throated Diver out at sea. It was disappointing to the scrape so flooded and therefore the lack of waders, only the longer legged Black-tailed Godwit hanging on in there! 2007 Year End List: Life bird count: 358 Year bird count: 304 Month bird count: 86