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Wednesday 30 July 2014

A Purple day in Suffolk!

Linda & I enjoyed a terrific 12-hour crawl of the wildlife hotspots of coastal Suffolk with our friends (and neighbours) Sue & Peter.

First stop was Theberton, where literally thousands of Migrant Hawkers had taken up residence: one bush must've held over a hundred, while the sky was filled with their aerial ballet. Other dragons included Brown & Southern Hawker and a pair of Emperors.

We had, of course, visited the wood for butterflies and weren't disappointed: despite an early start to their flight season, there were still several fresh-looking female Purple Emperors in the clearing and we all 'enjoyed' occasional views of Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Hairstreak. Birds included a Buzzard, a distant Goshawk and a Hobby.

A move across to Minsmere and a walk right round the reserve was, perhaps, not so productive, but there were some juvenile Stonechats and Lesser Whitethroats along the beach. The East Scrape held  plenty of waders and a few Little Gulls...

Last stop was Dunwich Heath where we all managed good views (but not photos!) of two family parties of Dartford Warblers and a Green Woodpecker. Grayling was new for the day's butterfly list.

Supper and a few glasses of Pinot in the White Hart, Blythburgh was a great way to round off the day!


Monday 28 July 2014

Strumpshaw record Egret haul!

Having been told by BT that our broadband had a line fault which couldn't be repaired for two days, I grabbed a quick walk around a rainy Fen: needless to say, no snakes and few insects - just a female Southern Hawker patrolling the riverbank. One interesting moth (?) posed on a nettle leaf: any ideas?

By the reception centre the fennel plant held several Swallowtail caterpillars, leading to some speculation as to their (continental?) parentage.

Nothing from Fen Hide, but Tower Hide produced eleven +1 Little Egrets, a Common Sandpiper, a Kingfisher and a Water Rail.

Couldn't resist another photo of the dozey Little Owl: what a cutey!


Sunday 27 July 2014

More garden Dragons!

Firstly, let me just say: GET IN, LEWIS! What a man! (As in Hamilton, not Ben!)

Today, despite the odd cool periods and dampness, there were lots of Migrant & Southern Hawkers in the garden: I'm pretty sure a pair of Emperors took a quick look at the pond, too....

Butterflies included Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Large & Small White, Peacock and Gatekeeper.

A scarce bird here was a Carrion Crow that plucked a baby Magpie from its nest, much to the anguish of its parents.


Friday 25 July 2014

Cantley Craik!

A morning at my favourite little carp lake near Cantley was totally lacking in angling success, but we saw some great  wildlife: a large Grass Snake taking a dip, hundreds of Large Red-eyed Damsels, three Kingfishers, a Green Sandpiper, most of the usual Hawkers and several dashing Sparrowhawks.

On the way home, we checked out three Little Owl sites, one of which provided fabulous views!



Thursday 24 July 2014

Garden-ful of Dragons!

We have a couple of ponds in the garden and we're halfway between the Yare and the Bure, so it's not surprising that we get a few dragonflies dropping in.... Yesterday & today, however, the garden is full of them! Lots of Brown, Southern & Migrant Hawkers, as well as Common Darters. Hoping for something really special from the continent now!


Wednesday 23 July 2014

Upton Fen - and one that got away!

An early start at Upton Fen with Norman & Brian was pleasantly productive, with good views of the usual odonata (hundreds of Brown Hawkers, a few Emperors and Southerns) as well as good numbers of freshly-emerged Migrant Hawkers.

A stroll along the raised wall produced Wall Brown and a very tatty Painted Lady, as well as a delightful adult Crane.

Walking back to the carpark, we noticed a very large, very dark dragonfly with bright yellow rings all the along its body. Sadly, it didn't settle, whizzing past and away at high speed....


Tuesday 22 July 2014

A day out with Martin!

An early start and a long day out (8.5 miles walked!) produced some lovely birds and insects, firstly in Suffolk, then closer to home.

At a regular breeding site we found four Stone Curlews - typically distant in the heat haze, but calling constantly and good to watch through binoculars. Overhead, Buzzards, Kestrels and Hobbies patrolled the skies: we missed a female Goshawk by a couple of minutes.

A little further on we enjoyed terrific views of a family of Black-winged Stilts: two adults and four young....

Norwich Business Park's delightful pool-side café was a welcome 'fuel stop' (the lattes were sensational!) before finishing off at Strumpshaw, where we added two Willow Emeralds, Scarce Chaser, Southern Hawker and Ruddy Darter to the usual odonata suspects!



Sunday 20 July 2014

Come on: you know you can't resist!

I know what you're thinking: "He's a bird-watching Astronomer - can he REALLY play that pre-CBS Strat?"

Only one way to find out! See you there at 1.00pm!


Friday 18 July 2014

Old Rockers never die - it's all the late nights make them look like that!

If anyone in the Blofield - Brundall - Acle area wants the living proof of this, three friends and I - all ex-semi pros - will be rocking away for a couple of hours on Sunday. Outside if dry, inside if not!


Thursday 17 July 2014

Rails! And no patchwork guilt!

In view of the precipitate departure of the GK from Breydon, I spent the morning at Strumpshaw with Brian & Kim: and a great time was had by all!

I managed my best-ever images of a Water Rail and one of its young, pleasing pictures of Norfolks, Southerns and Browns, as well as more Swallowtail caterpillars, Brown Argus and Essex Skippers.