Suffolk tick, Norfolk tick…result!

After some very quiet days things suddenly picked up! We were planning on a lazy Sunday afternoon but a beep from RBA (rare bird alert) announced that a Blue throat had been seen in Lowestoft. We were planning to spend a couple of days in Norwich later this week but that was easily brought forward. So a case quickly packed, binoculars and cameras loaded into the car and we were off.

Once we found the place, just yards from Ness Point,Lowestoft, England’s most easterly point, we heard that the Bluethroat had been showing well but was now missing! Thankfully within the following half an hour she re-appeared, a life tick for us both!IMG_6249

Being a female she lacks the stunning colouring of her male counterpart but she was still a lovely little bird. We stood watching her with our backs to the sea and I assume she had just flown in. Chatting to a local birder there it would seem they have had several cracking birds there!

She was just a bit too far to get decent photos but none the less I was pleased to be able to get the ones I did manage.

We were certainly pleased we had decided to give up a lazy afternoon for this bird and we knew we had a shot at another lifer too. So we decided to go back into Norfolk, to Breydon Water to try for a Caspian tern that has been there for a little while, but we had no luck. It had been showing well until about ten minutes before we arrived when it had flown off! We decided to try again in the morning and we had more luck then. We walked as far as we could to get as close as we could to the bird but it was still a very distant view. Sorry about the photos, they are record shots nothing more than that.

At least it is an unmistakable bird, by far the largest tern and it has a heavy weight bill on it! I think if it was Caspian terns that ‘attacked’ people on the Farne Islands there would be far fewer visitors!!!

Next stop Stumpshaw fen where we hoped to see a Swallowtail butterfly but I can tell you now we failed at that. We did however have a lovely walk and saw some interesting things and a couple of smashing dragonflies. First a few of the bits and bobs, some I can name, others I can’t, not yet at least.

This little one was on a path and we think it is a baby bank vole.

A selection of the bugs we saw and also some Peacock caterpillars. The orange and black one is a Froghopper and the green one is a thick-legged flower beetle (thanks Alan).

I am hoping someone might be able to help me to identify this dragonfly nymph, the bird I do know was a Sedge warbler.

The weather had been disappointing but then out came the sun and with it some rather nice invertebrates. I haven’t seen a Ringlet butterfly for some while so was very pleased to see this one.

This year is the first time we have bothered to ty to identify dragonflies so as far as I know it i sthe first time we have seen these two. The first one is a black-tailed skimmer, it kept dashing by us and we thought we wouldnt get a proper look at it but thankfully later one landed, briefly, nearby.

This second one and in my opinion a far nicer one, is a scarce chaser. We saw a few of these in one small area which we happened upon just as the sun was out shining again.

On our walk we had a nice female pheasant with a couple of youngsters, she seemed unperturbed by our presence.

All in all an excellent couple of days, we were particularly pleased we went for the Bluethroat promptly as it hasn’t been reported again since. That brings us to 235 birds including 20 life ticks!

 

Norwich

 

On our way into Norwich we detoured to a friends golf club where a Short eared owl has been frequenting. We had a lovely walk there but no sign of the owl that day, never mind, thanks Di for the tip.

Since I first saw a murmuration of Starlings on TV I have wanted to see one for myself and word had reached me that there had been one (albeit a small one) over the centre of Norwich lately. So off to Norwich we went with the opportunity to stay a couple of nights in a good friends flat (thank you!). We waited patiently and eventually saw just a few Starlings fly in but we were beginning to think that was it as it seemed to be getting much later than we had thought. Suddenly several larger groups of Starlings arrived and almost instantly they moved around the sky as one group.

Musical accompaniment would have seemed fitting but the only one to was the traffic, people going about their business.I wish I could show you photos that captured this but sadly they are a poor attempt, I do have video so as I meet you I would be happy to show you. Although they were a relatively small group it was a brilliant thing to see and has made me really want to see one of the larger more dramatic murmurations so I am on the look out for that!

The next day we went to Strumpshaw Fen RSPB reserve where we saw Jack snipe, such illusive little birds. There were a couple of them and they were foraging among the cut reeds just popping out briefly now and again making photographs impossible! We enjoyed watching a Marsh harrier flying and she was later joined by a second one.

 

Ian’s favourite duck are Gadwall so these picture are for him!

A Canada goose and a Greylag seemed to be firm friends, maybe they are the wildfowl version of ‘The Odd Couple’

We went on to Hickling Broad hunting for Cranes but were not lucky, never mind I am sure we will come upon them later in the year. It was like spring and we have really enjoyed these couple of days away and Jack snipe brought our bird total up to 153.

 

Tonight the moth trap is set up so lets hope that produces something as the next few days don’t look very inviting to go birding!