Archive | January, 2015

January 4th 2015

4 Jan

Quite excited as today Lynda and I are off to the Suffolk coast for a spot of birding. The morning is frosty but sunny and cold -1C.

Our first port of call was to be Dunwich Marshes but en-route I picked up 2 new species. By the old gravel pits at Withersdale Street I picked up 2 Egyptian Geese in a field and near the Blythburgh water tower a Song Thrush flew over the road in front of us.

We started walking from the beach car park in Dunwich at 10:20, already there were a few dog walkers out and about. It was strange walking on the shingle defense bank because it was frozen solid. Although lumpy it was actually easier to walk on. I have never experienced it in the state before.  Because of the hard frost most of the standing water on the marsh was frozen but there were still a few areas of open water.

Managed to pick up some new waterfowl for the year plus a few shorebirds but the bird of the morning was Hen Harrier, a fine male quartering over the marsh.

Black-headed Gull (10)
Great Black-backed Gull (3)
Carrion Crow (4)
Cormorant ( 4)
Common Redshank (20)
Skylark (10)
Pheasant (10)
Shelduck (4)
Reed Bunting (2)
Teal (50)
Rock Pipit (1)
Dunlin (20)
Snipe (3)
Greylag Goose (50)
Wigeon (10)
Shoveler (4)
Lapwing (10)
Meadow Pipit (3)
Mute Swan (6)
Herring Gull (6)
Little Grebe (1)
Gadwall (2)

After leaving the marsh we entered Dunwich Forest and returned to Dunwich village. Here we had views into the wood on our right but still had occasional spots where we could scan the marsh.

Chaffinch (2)
Magpie (2)
Carrion Crow (4)
Greylag Goose (6)
Mallard (6)
Lapwing (8)
Marsh Harrier (1)
Teal (8)
Snipe (2)
Long-tailed Tit (2)
Blackbird (2)
Shelduck (4)
Robin (1)
Great Tit (1)
Jackdaw (4)
Hen Harrier (1)
Coal Tit (1)
Pied Wagtail (1)

From here we drove to Shingle Street, this is one of my favourite places on the Suffolk coast. Today the parking bay was full, just too many people. It was mid afternoon when we arrived so fortunately some of the people were leaving. The tide was low revealing more of the shingle banks than I had seen before.  Being so late in the afternoon I was hoping for perhaps another Hen Harrier or a Short-eared Owl.

The first thing which was noticeable was a large gathering of Cormorant out on a shingle bank, 200 birds in total, there were a  few shorebirds in amongst them which meant getting a little closer to positively id even with the scope. Dunlin, Turnstone and Grey Plover. Continuing further along the sea defence bank we got closer and closer to the prison. As I was scanning around a caught a glimpse of a bird just before it dropped below the inner sea wall. I was sure it was a shorty but had to wait a while before it re appeared.  This time it cam our side of the wall flew along and back, occasionally flying much higher. It was a short-eared Owl as if one was not enough it was joined by a second bird and at times they flew together. Fantastic.

Suddenly the light dropped, I thought the sun had dipped behind a cloud, I turned to have a look but it was not a cloud it was a thick bank of fog, it quickly engulfed us the it became very dull and the temperature plumetted. that was pretty much it for the afternoon so we turned and headed back to the car.

Cormorant (200)
Grey Heron (2)
Turnstone (10)
Dunlin (50)
Grey Plover (6)
Herring Gull (10)
Little Egret (2)
Short-eared Owl (2)

This now puts me on 64 species for 2015. Back to work tomorrow but I will be scanning the roadside trees for Little Owl and the roadside fields for partridge and Golden Plover. Every little helps!

January 2nd, 2015

2 Jan

Happy New Year

This is my first posting for the new year. Yesterday was a crap day really, very dull all day with little to see and never moved from home anyway so just clocked 18 species from the garden.

Today, it was mild, glorious and sunny and after a night of strong westerly wind it dropped to a breeze. Lynda and I went for a walk around Redgrave and Lopham Fen in Suffolk, about a 10 minute drive from home.

Redgrave and Lopham Fen is the largest valley fen in England and one of the most important Wetlands in Europe. This special place supports a diverse range of plants and animals, but it’s not just a fen. You can also explore the areas of woodland, heath and even follow the river Waveney that rises here.

With over 270 plant species Redgrave and Lopham Fen boasts a diversity of plant life to satisfy the keenest of botanists. Those interested in birds will not be disappointed either. In the summer you can see hobbies skimming the pools catching dragonflies and an evening walk rewarded with the view of a hunting barn owl. In the winter you might be lucky enough to see the starling roost. In 1956 the fen was the first place the fen raft spider was found in Britain and is still only found in a handful of places.

The pools in the central region of Middle Fen are the habitat of the very rare fen inhabitant Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes Plantarius). You may be fortunate enough to see a spider at the water’s edge, with cream or white stripes down its sides.

We walked the Waveney Trail, taking us through Fen, Woodland and past some shallow pools very close to the source of the River Waveney.

Birds seen included;

Carrion Crow  (5)
Rook (12)
Magpie (4)
Jay (1)
Wren (2)
Dunnock (1)
Robin (1)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (4)
Water Rail (2 heard)
Grey Heron (1)
Shoveler (6)
Long -tailed Tit (12)
Blackbird (4)
Fieldfare (3)
Moorhen (20)
Mute Swan (6)
Kestrel (2)
Jackdaw (1)
Mallard (8)
Chaffinch (2)
Blue Tit (3)
Great Tit (2)
Pheasant (1)
Common Buzzard (1)
Linnet (1)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)