Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Minsmere fill-up: Groppers, Savis, Firecrests and much more!

Norman picked up Brian and me at around 7.30 for a run down to the Suffolk Coast. We were sort of hoping for a Ring Ouzel, but that was in fact the only species we failed to find!

From Island Mere we had somewhat distant views of at least four Bitterns, while - to our amazement - there were two Savi's Warblers reeling away! The walk around to the Sluice Bushes added Bearded Tit and Grasshopper Warbler to the tally, while overhead Mediterranean Gulls gave their strange Eider-like calls.

Looking for the reported Firecrest in the Sluice Bushes seemed a little 'needle / haystacky ' but Norman beat the odds by finding it in just a few minutes! We all enjoyed super views of this ultra-confiding bird.

The walk back along the beach gave us Dartford Warbler, Stonechat, Sandwich Tern and Bar-tailed Godwit, while (courtesy of a ranger's scope) we added Stone Curlew to the yearlist.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Yare Valley tick: Wood Sandpiper.

Funnily enough I'd never seen a Wood Sandpiper in the Yare Valley before, so today's bird, although far too distant, was very welcome. It was stooging about with a couple of Redshanks and a Snipe on the recently-mown area opposite Tower Hide.

A walk around with Brian and Adrian added a few birds of note, including the first Cuckoo and Common Tern of the year. I also caught glimpses of a Grasshopper Warbler, lots of Cetti's and a Chiffchaff with a very unusual trill at the end of its usual disyllabic call. Two Bitterns were booming all morning, one of which flew across in front of Fen Hide: the photo is Brian's.

The Moon and Jupiter

A beautiful conjunction in the southern sky at 4.15 this morning: also, a really 'peachy' dawn.


Monday, 22 April 2019

Hobby over the Heath!

Last week I thought I'd seen a Hobby at Winterton while looking for the Hoopoe: in the event it turned out to be a small male Peregrine. Today, however, while cleaning out the pond filters, I glanced up to see a definite Hobby wheeling high overhead. Just time for a single photo as it hurried southwards, but good enough for jazz!

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Norfolk Showground Antiques Fair: a couple of incredible bargains!

Linda and I left home early and were browsing in the sunshine before 8.45. Almost the very first stall produced the finds of the day: a one metre museum replica Ichthyosaur skeleton and a huge slab of Barytes crystals (around 50cm, with a mass of 2kg) The skeleton cost just £15: online it sells for £150 - £200, while the crystal slab was just a few pounds more! These are already installed in the garden (too large for indoors) and look really terrific.

Antique fairs are held twice a year at the Showground: typically it's cold or pouring with rain, so today was a pleasant change! Lots to look at: Linda bought some jewellery and a few more 'bits' for the garden. We were tempted by a wrought iron plant stand and some antique glasses to add to our small collection, but resisted in the end!

Saturday, 20 April 2019

'Pink' Moon

Last night's beautiful full Moon rose in the east just after dark. It was called 'pink' by the media: apparently this is the name given to an April full Moon by Native Americans (But which Native Americans?) Something to do with the colour of wild flowers. Hmmmm…

It was, as usual, orangey as it rose (because of dust and refraction) but still a gorgeous sight.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Our new tenants have moved in!

After a few days checking it for suitability, a pair of Jackdaws have begun building a nest in our owl box. Obviously we'd have preferred owls, but Jackdaws run a close second! They are absolutely delightful to watch: their courtship involves presenting each other with sticks as well as ritual feeding. Watch this space for updates!