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Monday 30 June 2014

Still lots to see at Strumpshaw!

Despite the usual Summer lull where birds are concerned, there's plenty at the Fen to occupy a genuine naturalist with a camera!

There were lots of excellent dragons today: Emperors, Norfolk, Brown & Southern Hawkers, Scarce Chasers, Common Darters and lots of Black-tailed Skimmers. In the new log pile on the riverside, three Grass Snakes were sunbathing as an Osprey flew over, while along the Woodland Trail several White Admirals were sipping bramble nectar! An Essex Skipper was new to the Fen for me....


Saturday 28 June 2014

Not birding nor life!

Not a bird, but a terrific sight! This beautiful 70 year-old KLM DC3 ('Dakota') just flew over Blofield Heath, presumably on finals to Norwich Airport!


Still turtling!

We assume the Turtles are feeding young: they arrive separately and feed for quite prolonged periods, really filling their crops....

Friday 27 June 2014

Just for the record....

....I thought I'd post here (but nowhere else, apart, possibly, from James' Whitlingham Lane Bird Report) my sketches and notes of the Booted Eagle / Black Kite / Scotch Mist (depending on whose posts on BF you read!) that I made in the car and as soon as I got home (five minutes!)

Just for the record: I won't be submitting it!


Thursday 26 June 2014

Odonata tick!

A trip down to the Brecks began with a long walk around Thompson Common (We took the Pingo Trail by mistake, adding an unnecessary 4 miles to our stroll!) Once we were in the right place the Sun conveniently chose to shine and we soon found a number of Scarce Emerald Damsels, including a copulating pair. That takes me to 28 species, all in Norfolk!

I've inserted little close ups of the two most critical i/d points in case anyone out there fancies a bash! Other Dragons included Emperor, Southern Hawker, Four-spot and lots of newly-emerged Common Darters. We also found a lovely little family group of Blackcaps: aaaaah!


Wednesday 25 June 2014

Full house in the Yare Valley!

Fantastic day at Strumpshaw and Cantley: lots of odonata photo ops. and all but one of the Fen's 'Famous Five'!

A walk around Strump produced a distant Red Kite, Otter, Kingfisher, Bittern and White Admiral, as well as Southern Hawker, lots of Scarce Chasers and my best ever photo of a Variable Damselfly.

Kim & I left Norman & Brian in Tower Hide and moved along the valley to Cantley. Here we soon located a smart little Peregrine, three Buzzards, a flock of nine Little Egrets and lots more Dragons, including Norfolk and Brown Hawker.




Tuesday 24 June 2014

Mixed bag of North Coast goodies!

Martin was keen to add Red-veined Darter to his Norfolk list, so we headed back to Kelling, stopping first at Holt Lowes. No Keeled Skimmers today, but lots of Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals as well as a good flush of Common Emerald Damselflies. Our favourite find, though, was a neat baby Slow Worm.

The Quags produced the desired Darters: different individuals from yesterday, these being a little paler and a lot more pecked! Coffee at Cley was enlivened by the sight of at least eight Spoonbills before we moved to Holt Country Park. In short order we located - and photographed - Silver-washed Frit and White Admiral, as well as a Four-spotted Chaser.

Monday 23 June 2014

Red-veined Darter & Keeled Skimmer!

A sixty-mile round trip to see two new Dragons.... Was it worth it? You bet! The Red-veined Darters took a bit of finding at Kelling Quags, but I eventually found four sunning themselves on the path. A long-hoped for species - to see (and photograph!) four individuals this well was just terrific!

A brief coffee stop at Cley added a flock of twelve or so mobile Spoonbills to the list, but instead of chasing them around the reserve I decided to have a try for Keeled Skimmer at Holt Lowes. A really enjoyable walk produced not only the hoped-for Dragon shots, but also four Silver-washed Fritillaries and a White Admiral!

Sunday 22 June 2014

Filby Lesser Emperor!

Linda & I snatched an hour at Filby to look for the long-staying Lesser Emperor. I had assumed the 'boardwalk' mentioned online was the one that runs out to the little platform / screen to the north of the bridge, but half an hour spent looking at every possible spot drew a blank. There were several cars in the carpark, so it seemed logical to check the south side of the bridge (which is not so much a boardwalk as a group of fishing stages.)

Anyhow: we bumped into a couple of familiar faces who had seen the target dragonfly shortly before we arrived. A little patience and Linda & I enjoyed good views (but a single poor photo!) of this fast-flying vagrant. Having observed the characteristic glowing blue saddle, I am much happier that Brian I saw one last week at Gun Hill...

There were several other species to enliven the long waiting periods between fly-bys: Emperor, Red-eyed Damsel, Norfolk Hawker and Black-tailed Skimmer being the most abundant.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Second brood!

Our garden is absolutely teeming with young birds at the moment: today the pheasants introduced their second crop of chicks: ten or a dozen to add to the three remaining from the first lot! The Turtles seem quite unfazed by all this and enjoy the protection of the male pheasant, who saw off a Sparrowhawk this evening, allowing the Collared Dove it was covering to escape!

Saturday @ Strumpshaw!

Linda & I had a brief walk around, picking up LOTS of Norfolks, Broad-bodied & Scarce Chasers, Browns, Hairies and two Swallowtails (as well as three Cuckoos together, a Kingfisher and various other bits & pieces!)

One interesting bird was the long-staying female Marsh Harrier with a white ventral patch: I've had this pointed out to me as a surprising number of rare species!