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Wednesday 31 October 2018

Astonishing day in Suffolk: Red-breasted Flycatcher, Long-eared Owl and much more!

Linda joined Brian, Norman and me for a day on the Suffolk Coast. First stop was Southwold, where the long-staying Red-breasted Flycatcher gave views down to two metres : you had to be quick on the draw, though - the little sprite was hyperactive! A couple of Yellow-legged Gulls loafed along the riverside.

From there we moved on to Minsmere, making our first stop at the Island Mere Hide. Almost as soon as we entered an extremely obliging Bittern wandered out of the reeds to catch a large Rudd just five metres in front of the hide! A distant ringtailed Harrier drifted across the levels towards the beach...

The walk out to the sea was spectacularly punctuated by fabulous views of a beautiful, newly-arrived Long-eared Owl. Once we'd had a good look and taken a few photos, we trotted off to look for people with whom we could share this lovely bird.

Walking north along the beach provided fleeting views of Dartford Warbler and several Stonechats, while the our vantage point on the Sandy Path produced a distant Great White Egret.

After lunch we made a quick stop at Eastbridge, but the recently-present Cattle Egret was not in evidence: accordingly we headed north to Lowestoft, where a short search gave us Purple Sandpiper for the day. Last good bird was a Short-eared Owl, perched on phone wires by the Acle Straight.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Seawatching at Walcott: Shags, a Little Auk but not much else!

Linda and I drove across to Walcott at first light for a couple of hour's seawatching. The advantage of this spot on the north-east corner of Norfolk is that when it's pouring with rain (as it was this morning) you can sit in the car and watch from the open side windows: if something appears, you can jump out for photographs or a better look!

Somewhat disappointingly, very little was passing by, despite a howling north-easterly and high tide. Among the few birds we did manage, one was a distant Little Auk while the three closest were Shags - always good to see in Norfolk. A few flocks of Eider and Brents, but that was it, so we drove south to Horsey, where we added Pink-footed Goose and Fieldfare to the short day-list!


Monday 29 October 2018

White-tailed Eagle slips through the net!

I had lots of meteorite business to take care of today and only glanced at RBA after lunchtime: imagine how thrilled I was to find that a WTE had been reported from the Yare Valley!
I spent an hour or so in the garden but saw just this delightful Buzzard (being harassed as usual by corvids) and numerous large flocks of winter thrushes.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Early start seawatch at Cley

Leaving home before dawn, I was at Cley Coastguards by 7.30:  a large gallery had already collected and I filled the final parking space. The tide was almost at its highest and Gannets, Kittiwakes and auks were streaming past. I nearly missed the first really interesting bird: a Pomarine Skua that flew over our heads and off along the point! I managed a few distant auk shots, some of which turned out to be Little Auks: Gillies and Razors were far more numerous, and tended to be quite far out. A couple of birders kept calling out Sabine's Gull, but no-one around me latched onto anything other than immature Kittiwakes... Hundreds of Eiders swept westwards (including a flock of 26) as well as Scoter, Brents and Shelduck. Three species of Grebe headed eastward: Great Crested, Red-necked and Slavonian (the last of which I managed to photograph!) Several Short-eared Owls were called, but I couldn't pick them out: I did manage a Black Tern, however!