Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Wallasea Island

I made yet another trip down to Wallasea Island today and wasn't disappointed as at least six Short-eared Owls, two Hen Harriers, a pair of Marsh Harriers, a Merlin and a couple of Great Egrets all showed well from about 1.20pm until the light dropped around 3.30pm.

These afternoons just sitting in one place watching great birds are a nice balance to the chasing around for year ticks and I'm pleased I get a good mix of both.

Year list still 302

Short-eared Owl at Wallasea
Short-eared Owl
Lunch time
Short-eared Owl
Hen Harrier not quite as accommodating at the Owls
Distant Hen Harrier
There are worse ways to waste an afternoon than watching these crackers.

Monday, 2 December 2019

300 up

I finally made it across the line with my 300th bird of the year today after finding the Siberian Stonechat at Hollesley. I've tried for 300 before and failed and to all those that think it's easy I'd
simply say TRY!

Siberian Stonechat at Hollesley Marsh
Siberian Stonechat
Hollesley Marsh
Anyway from Hollesley we headed up the A12 towards Waxham where we dipped the Red-breasted Flycatcher having shamefully dipped the escaped Eagle Owl at Winterton on the way up. Feeling a little down from this long slow run up the A12 we capitalised on our location with a visit to Buckenham Marsh where we eventually found three Taiga Bean Geese tucked in the distant grass by the railway line. This gave me tick 301 for the year and on the way home we stopped in the Brecks again to try again for Golden Pheasant and this time we got lucky when a splendid male bird came out of the brambles and strolled along in front of us before taking flight to escape our glare.
So after being stuck on 299 for a while I've piled on three ticks today to land on my absolute best total to date of 302 and with a few weeks to go it may well increase further.

Buckenham Marsh

Year list now 302


Sunday, 1 December 2019

Caspian Gull returns to Snaresbrook

News that the Caspian Gull had been seen on Eagle pond Snaresbrook during the week had me paying it a visit this morning. I've not seen the bird since 2017 so it was nice to see it finally achieving adult plumage.

Caspian Gull Snaresbrook
Caspian Gull 
Caspian Gull
Great to watch him today and to admire the change in plumage since my last encounter with him.

presumed same bird in 2017
Year list STILL 299 but the Norfolk Taiga Beans are back and with a Sibe Stonechat in Suffolk and a Red-breasted Flycatcher in Norfolk today just maybe I can finally put that 300th tick to bed this coming week.

Eagle Pond

Saturday, 30 November 2019

More Short eared Owls

Yesterday I spent an afternoon at Burwell in Cambridgeshire watching the Owls.

Shortie at Burwell
Only a couple of Owls were on view along with a pair of Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Common Buzzard and four Grey Partridge.

I have a real weakness for Owls as they just have so much character, it was great to see them hunting at Burwell again this year although it has to be said that the road in has got a whole lot worse and I'd recommend anybody going to use the car park by cock-up bridge and walk round or simply view from the bridge.

The year list has stalled and remains at a frustrating 299.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Nothing local

As you can see the search for year ticks is getting harder. A few about today but distance is still a factor.

Isle of White
Papa Westray
North Uist

not exactly on the doorstep but five of them would be life ticks so never say never.
Tick 300 will have to wait for now.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Tick 299 with the Glossy Ibis at Thornham

I dipped Glossy Ibis at Newport earlier this year and have resisted chasing another until today when I drove up to Thornham to get my 299th bird of the year just a few steps from the car park at the harbour. A young dull bird seen in very wet, grey gloomy conditions wasn't a great site but it's nudged me one closer to the 300 so I'll take it anyway.

Gloomy Glossy Ibis at Thornham
Thornham harbour
We enjoyed a chat with fellow year listers Graham, Geoff and Frank at Wells whilst watching a distant Rough-legged Buzzard and we watched a young Red-throated Diver in Wells Quay after spending four hours searching for the reported Lesser White-fronted Goose. We found two very large flocks of Pink-footed Geese but both were fly overs around Binham but despite seeing them coming down into the distance we couldn't connect with either group on the ground so failed to find anything in the flocks but hopefully the flocks will settle into a routine and we'll get another chance to see the Lesser.

Red-throated Diver at Wells
Red-throated Diver

A brief search for Golden Pheasant on the way up and down at Wolferton and Euston failed to deliver the 300th tick so that search continues.

Year list now 299

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Return to Wallasea Island

I decided to make a return trip to Wallasea Island this afternoon after enjoying yesterdays visit so much. Again I connected with two Hen Harrier, two Great Egrets, six Short-eared Owls and a Merlin.
Marsh Harriers, Buzzards and Kestrels added to the raptor count to make the whole experience fantastic again. I grabbed a few images in the fading light but the conditions were a little challenging as I tried to keep up with the birds in flight as the light dropped which is never easy but I do have a few keepers from today.

Year list still 298

Love the way they make eye contact with you
Short-eared Owl at Wallasea Island
It's behind you
Seeing off a male Kestrel
Hunting at dusk

Wallasea.....I'll be back!