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Wednesday 31 December 2014

Yare Valley highlights, 2014

Yet another year draws to a close: once again, it's been a terrific twelve months on the patch, with a final total of 168....

The highlights for me were the 'nearly breeding' Cranes at the Fen (five miles north I found a pair that did raise a chick!) the extraordinarily confiding Desert Wheatear at the Yare's mouth in Gorleston and the successful breeding of two pairs of Turtle Doves in my garden: this is the eighth successive year that this has occurred!

Peregrines nested at Cantley, and it was a terrific year for Water Rail, Bittern, Kingfisher and Bearded Tit at Strumpshaw.

New birds for me at the Fen included Garganey, Crane, Little Gull, Goldeneye, Slav Grebe, Penduline Tit, Grasshopper Warbler and Little Owl.

Personal note: many, many thanks for the help and friendship of Martin Read, Brian Tubby, Norman Tottle, Kim Breddy and, of course, Ben Lewis!

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Last birds of the year at Strumpshaw: Red Kite and Otter!

A 7.15am start saw me in Fen Hide in time to catch the Marsh Harriers leaving their reedbed roost. In total I counted 24 Marshies, a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel and - a surprise!- a Red Kite, which perched distantly in a tree.

A Kingfisher flew past a couple of times, while a dog Otter swam down the River Yare, pausing to stare at Brian and me before continuing his journey! Overhead, a couple of Snipe were displaying....

Woodland birds included Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Song Thrush and Coal Tit.



Monday 29 December 2014

Parakeets & Kites: must be Berkshire!

A two-day visit to Maidenhead was predominantly a family catch-up, but - as always - there were some excellent photo opportunities!

For the first time a flock of Ring-necked Parakeets visited my Mum-in-Law's garden, as did numerous Red Kites and a flock of Redwings. (Note the pair frolicking under the mistletoe!) On Sunday a trip to Marlow for lunch delivered more of the same: again, I don't recall seeing RNPs there before, despite dozens of visits.

Back home through the frosty motorways, hoping for something special in East Anglia!

Happy New Year to anyone reading this!

Thursday 25 December 2014

Astronomy domine!

Two passes by the ISS tonight and a lovely crescent Moon, too! In the east, the Pleiades are a splendid sight this time of year....

The ISS will go over again tomorrow night, but will be a little fainter....


Wednesday 24 December 2014

Raptor roost!

Just to enjoy the crisp, chilly late afternoon, Linda & I walked out to Fen Hide at Strump, arriving around 3.00pm.

No-one else around, so we enjoyed the tranquility and beautiful sunset, as well as the sight of 26 Marsh Harriers, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk coming in to roost....