Sunday, 28 March 2010

Weekend Hat-trick!
After my great afternoon at Cromer yesterday & my Alpine tick, I was not even thinking of birding today. However, hearing that the another Alpine Swift was in Kessingland, WITH the Pallid Swift I dipped yesterday was too much. Before long I was heading back through familiar territory & this time with Phil who was off work & Savannah. This time the birds were obvious as soon as we arrived & although the Pallid remained high, both showed well above the caravan park & coastal houses. We returned to Woodbridge for lunch & then to our local ringing site for an hour or so quite contented. After catching a few Lesser Redpoll, a text message on my phone alerted us that there was something we were clearly not aware of! A dash for the pager & the jaw-dropping news 'Lesser Kestrel at Minsmere'! The nets were furled in haste & then a mad rush back to the house for optics, then a petrol stop before we were racing towards Minsmere. Upon arrival with the masses it was clear that the male (!) Lesser Kestrel had been showing beautifully but had been chased off by (amongst other factors) a Kestrel & headed NW. I was further gripped by meeting the finder & his amazing images of it! We had a frantic search for about an hour before the bird was relocated on Westleton Heath. How the car was not damaged I don't know in the car grid-lock mayhem during that hour. After a sprint across the heath - finally we had the bird, distant but fine enough scope views - phewwwww! We watched it come in & out of view as it hunted on the wing & perched occasionally on gorse bushes before it seemed to go up into trees & possibly to roost. Quite a day! Quite a weekend! No pics but a fine British tick! Hope it hangs around a while!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

A Swift Decision . .
With a nasty hangover from an enjoyable friday evenings entertainment, I decided to get some air and try for the Pallid Swift in Kessingland, Suffolk this afternoon. However upon arrival at the sewage works the bird was not to be seen & had apparently departed NE an hour or so before. After some optimistic scanning I began to feel a dip coming on so thought of another coastal option - the Alpine Swift at Cromer! I might just make it before it went to roost in the church . . .
I arrived in Cromer as the sun broke through what had been a very grey day. I had heard the bird was showing well at the lighthouse so had a frantic time in the town trying to find where the lighthouse was and how I could get to it, not knowing Cromer at all. By 4pm I was stood at the lighthouse & met a local birder who pointed out the Alpine Swift to me, some distance away between the lighthouse and the church, feeding high & fast over the sea & coastal woodland. I was delighted as this was a British tick for me! I walked down from the lighthouse & up a small hill where I enjoyed this large swift for over an hour before it went to roost in the church. I left attractive, sun-drenched Cromer very happy & with a few record shots of my first 2010 British tick!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

All Fired Up . .
A memorable morning ringing in Woodbridge today with two superb female Firecrests being trapped & ringed. There are good numbers of these beautiful birds turning up along the east coast at the moment & it was great to get a sense of this spring movement further inland along the estuary here. Another highlight was flushing up & managing to catch by hand, a Woodcock, without damage to human or bird! Also controlled a Robin today & 3 Lesser Redpoll yesterday, so look forward to getting information back on these from the BTO at a later date. Popped to East Lane, Bawdsey in the early afternoon looking for my first Wheatear of the Spring, but found a nice Black Redstart instead - in the carpark. . . .

Monday, 22 March 2010

March Moths - An Update . . .
As of today our March garden Moth list stands at 14. The Plume moth below 1. A.acanthadactyla is the only micro of note, others have been: 2. Yellow Horned (which was a tick!), 3. Clouded Drab, 4. Twin-spotted Quaker, 5. Dotted Border, 6. Hebrew Character, 7. Chestnut, 8. Dark Chestnut, 9. Common Quaker, 10. March Moth, 11. Oak Beauty, 12. Pale Brindled Beauty, 13. Grey Shoulder Knot & 14. Satellite. . . .

Minsmere in March
Saturday saw an enjoyable few hours spent at Minsmere RSPB Reserve in sunny, mild conditions. Black-headed Gull's filled the scrape Islands with noisy interactions and courtships, 12+ smart Med Gulls were noted amongst them, most now in full summer plumage. Island Mere hide did not give us the Penduline Tits we hoped for but the sight of a Bittern, fully visible out in front of the hide was compensation enough! I got a few shots of it hunting and feeding - a real treat! A Jack Snipe bobbed about nearby too & Marsh Harriers jostled with each other & dived down into their reedbed nest sites. On the way back to the main cafe building for lunch we heard a Firecrest in deep scrub. I managed a few record shots of this little gem . . .

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Moths are Back in Town . . .
Moth trapping has begun again in earnest in our Woodbridge - Suffolk garden. Here are a few of our March moths so far, low in numbers and species but great to be Moth trapping again and for the first time in 2010!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sunshine Award
Many thanks to 'Shetland Exposure' blog follower 'John' from Taunton in Somerset for kindly sending me a Sunshine Award for my blog. John has a great blog 'WestCountryBirdingandWildlifeDiary' Please click here to view Johns blog from the westside!
I choose the following 12 blogs I enjoy following to give Sunshine Awards to:

If you have been nominated for an award above and would like to receive it and participate in the bird blog sunshine awards (or just keep your sunshine award!) please do the following ( I have cheated slightly by adding some website news update pages instead of blogs as I don't follow that many 'blogs'!):

Put the logo on your blog or within your post
Pass the award onto 12 bloggers
Link the nominees within your post
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
Thank the person from whom you received this award and link the Blog site.