Went to Cantley again, bit of a longer walk round including the lagoons to the north of the railway just produced more GE's, 19 in total, with 8 CS, probably the same 2 Ruff and a single juv Redshank. 70 Lapwing didn't contain anything of interest.
Dared venture out into the Yare valley this morning. Seem to have completely forgotten how to do any of this birding malarkey. Pestered the crochety crossing guy for a pass to Buckenham first, only to discover that the greylags appear to have sucked every gram of water from the pools. A Barn Owl was desperately hunting along the river bank, obviously trying to push out another bunch of ghostly gawky Tyto's into the Norfolk countryside. Cantley was little better, 2 Ruff, 6 Common Sand and 8 Green Sand on the lagoons, the edges of which were completely infested by swarms of juv. moustachio'd tit-babblers devouring reed seed in the manner of a rampant horde of hungry orthopterans.
31st July. Moth of the night, as I've got my trap out and working again, was this Crescent. First for the garden.
26th July: First migrants, unfortunately still on the odonata twist, and baby's getting bigger...(pic below was 20th July)
My life in pictures, ain't it a blast...
Perhaps too much responsibility for a Kestrel? Surely it's not safe to let all these Woodlark wander all over a colliery?
Next generation 'throats.
Odonata special: Emperor, Downy Emerald in Dorset and Scarce Emerald Damselfly on the Isle of Grain.
Give it some song, it's your last chance this year.
Slow start, faltering. Managed to get clear of duties for an assessment of the north coast and found that Ortolan still exists, thankfully, and that despite one having made it to Cley westerlies do still result in no migrants on the hills. A Willow Warbler and a Wheatear were present, along with a dispersed family of Pied Wags and a Robin which may have been around all summer. Whimbrel were moving it all around the marsh with Common Sands and Greenshank scattering from any channel I chose to poke my boots into. Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl and the much depleted Kestrel family were the only raptors to be seen today. Did get a significant new mammal tick for my island list in the form of the unusually approachable Muntjac, pictured below:
Wearily rubbing his sore bones, our protagonist drags fraying ligaments across the gravel driveway up to the great mahogany door. "Anything about?" " Oh, I see you're back. Well, it's about time you did some work lad. Brass need rubbing, door needs shooting and the car needs a good grouting. Hop to it. Tomorrow you can get yourself to the shops and fill your boots with waders. Hmm, hang on a second. No, actually that's all. It's better that you don't know."
Went to the coast on a mission to destroy and recover. Habitat management if you will, laying the foundations for a Norfolk based assault on finders kinders autumn 2009. With sharpened machete I set about the task and Rubus fruticosus agg. was soon flying through the air as paths untrodden since '06 reappeared under my flashing blade. Unsuprisingly there was little by way of bird life to distract me. Three of this year's Marsh Harrier were patrolling the saltmarsh bothering this year's Kestrels while I bothered this year's Wrens. A Blackcap and a Willow Warbler counted as migrants, but the Turnstone out in the middle of the marsh was in exactly the same place as one I left there in May, more a saltmarsh ornament than a functioning member of the TT massive. Half a dozen Greenshank tuuted along the creeks. Quiet out here now, but the groundwork's done and across the palearctic a billion slightly rubbish passerines are feeling a bit restless and setting off for the horizon and crappy bits of bramble on the east coast of England. We'll see them soon...
Finally got a day off and got myself together to get out and do one of my BBS squares. Uneventful square, a Turtle Dove flew through and a couple of Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat singing away. So, out on the east side of the county with time and good conditions, I decided to trawl a few sites up towards the coast. In a rash move I took the turning to Aldeby tip and spent a few minutes scanning the marshes from there. No raptors, kites or otherwise, just a flight of three Turtle Dove and some gulls. Moving on across Haddiscoe Marshes to Burgh Castle where the tide surprise was that it was high. 3 Avocet and some other breeding stuff were here. I moved around to the rugby club where a selection of waders included Grey Plover, Knot, and Sanderling in cracking summer plumage. After exchanging pleasantries with Rich, on his lunch break during a hard day's lizard chasing, I ignored the waders I'd already seen and drove to Ormesby Broad. No marsh terns but a Bittern flew up from adjacent to the main road and plonked itself down into the reed fringe at the west edge of the broad. Further north at Martham a couple of Hobby were chasing four-spotted chasers and a Ringo was on the broad. Hit the coast at about quarter past one at Horsey Gap. Some feeling persuaded me that north was where it's at, so I shuffled off under the baking sun. No migrants at all, just nervous pairs of Stonechats and Whitethroats. Then, when attempting to get a couple of shots of a fine male Stonechat I kicked a big pipit. It went off with just one "tszshreep", flying inland but just before I thought it was lost it swung around and seemed to drop down onto the far fields of the caravan park. I ran around there, scoping each field in turn (three in total along the southern half of the site). Nothing. Not sight nor sound. I spent about an hour checking these fields, then widened the search by heading north through the dunes towards the pipe dump. Still nothing, then at the dump at 15:50 I picked up a falcon flying in fast from the south west. I guessed Hobby, got it in the scope then saw a bright ginger head contrasting strongly with very dark upperparts. It rolled as I followed it revealing a beautiful orange belly, and an isolated spot of dark for an eye. Female Red-footed Falcon. It almost made it up to the dunes just to the south of me, but about a hundred metres away it turned back inland and slipped over the hen barns. I lost it when it got somewhere over to the road. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
I phoned it out then after skirted around scoping in the vain hope the pipe dump held more of interest than the thousands of acres of prime wetland crammed with dragonflies, then mooched back to the caravan park. May as well check those fields again, I thought. Nothing in the first field then I got to the play area just into the second field at 15:30, scanned, scanned back and stopped the scope on a pale, plain-backed large pipit walking around. It was clearly the same bird, and clearly a Tawny Pipit. I tried to get some shots but the haze was hideous and the distance was too great. I got a bit closer and tried again, but still crap. I moved closer, stopped but then couldn't see it. I scoped, but it still didn't appear from a divot. All the other birds present a couple of moments earlier were still there, unconcerned. But the pipit wasn't. I phoned it out, figuring that if it had been here for at least 2 hours it would still be around somewhere.
So yeah, I never got better photos...
Sleep deprevation is finally getting to me. A half-two am start in some random Cambridge student's pokey bed followed by a damp and chilling pre-dawn vp (Time of first Skylark 04:55, almost 30mins earlier than 2 weeks ago) got me in the mood for some prolonged sitting once I got home. Having done that and produced possibly the most moving Black-headed Gull short ever seen (
February went rather fast, as it does even with the bonus day. Began some extreme early mornings for pre-dawn vp work checking out sites for GP manoeuvres in the dark, did some more Mucking, a bit of Southend and even some Tilbury, but without seeing a lot of note.
Here's the video of some dudeing wit' me Dad from New Year's Eve. Big production values, high quality soundtrack and bonus Shag at the end. Great.
Too many Avocet, too much wind, not enough sushi, not enough Tesco value shortbread rings and 4000 Dunlin. That's Mucking. After the hideous weather for the same survey yesterday at least today I could stand up. 8 hours of 1250 AV, 600 BW, 1 BA, 90 GV, 1 KN, 4000 DN, 220 WN, 170 T., 500 RK, 150 SU or thereabouts, all nicely spaced. Great stuff.
Everything is solved. Just take control. Lose the beer, the wine, the vodka, even the whisky. GO: to the gym, to the park, to the shops, to Southend-on-Sea. EAT: fruit, rice, beans, potatoes, otters. YOURSELF: deafer, myopic, arthritic, balding, numb, degenerate, incontinent. The world is fed up of waiting and will have it's egg foo yung with chips now.
As described amongst our lastest sights I actually found reserves of enthusiasm for a pure twitch, the ingredients of which were White-crowned Sparrow and Cley village. I like White-crowned Sparrow more than most yank Emberizids, which presumeably is why the prospect of a scrum twitch tittilated rather than repulsed as it has frequently in the recent past. I also haven't been on a twitch for a good while and wasn't doing anything of interest. Jolly good, it was. A fine air of general satisfaction was present, with few threats of violence and only a couple of requests for the removal of heads/telescopes. I got some views over a couple of hours and met some fine folk wot I had not seen for a period of time not longer than years but no shorter than months. Grand and charming indeed.
Lincolnshire again, wandered around the sight and pulled a Barn Owl out of an old pumping house it was trying to get some rest in. I had no sympathy, I kind of wanted to climb into the snug little gap behind the old water butt and sleep myself. I dragged my claggy boots round the fields then began the vp. I was softly accosted by a sneaking mass of mist, and was forced to abandon after only an hour and one Buzzard.
Back at work immediately this year, with yesterday in the office and now out in the Lincolnshire grand fens. Not much going off this time, a couple of Barn Owl and a few flights of Golden Plover but quieter than last year/two weeks ago.