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Post Info TOPIC: Suffolk


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RE: Suffolk


Minsmere.

A good day here in sunny if sometimes brisk weather.

Fairly quiet from Bittern Hide in the morning with two brief sightings of a Bittern and one Hobby arcing out across the reed beds from the right of the hide. A Cetti's Warbler and a handful of Bearded Tit darting across channels were the other birds of interest along with quartering Marsh Harriers and a steady passage of Mediterranean Gulls. A Glossy Ibis was seen distantly along the drain leading from The Sluice, mobbed by gulls, before turning back towards East Hide, so we headed around to view the Scrapes. Lots of Mediterranean Gulls (34 breeding pairs here plus non-breeders) and a group of 10 Kittiwakes proved to be the main birds of interest (discounting the feral Barnacle and Bar-headed Geese), We made our way around the Scrapes and back along North Wall to The Pool, catching up on some of the reserve's other wildlife.

After the obligatory cake and refreshment we headed in the direction of Dunwich Heath to check out a site for Nightingales and were rewarded with several bursts of sub-song and a brief glimpse as a bird changed locations in the trees. Updated news from Bittern Hide had us heading back to see another couple of Bitterns, a very close fly-past from a male Hobby and a good view of the sub-adult Purple Heron as it channel-hopped. The bird disappeared behind a curtain of reeds but we eventually spotted it giving 'head only' views from half way along the channel. It was too windy to have any chance of hearing the elusive Savi's Warbler near Island Mere Hide, so we gave that a miss and headed off for an evening meal in Dunwich. A good selection of plants and wildlife seen today.

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Mike Chorley wrote:

Started our East Aglian long weekend at Weeting. The eastern end of the reserve is gradually becoming overgrown, perhaps due to the scarcity of rabbits compared to recent years and the western end pair are again mostly down the hill, but we had good views of a pair 'over the road' together with their youngster this afternoon. When we called back this evening, these birds were out of site , but one of the west end birds was foraging in view, eventually flying off with a large worm.
Also here were at least 1 singing Woodlark and a Hobby.

From here we headed into Brandon to Gashouse Drove. After sitting out a downpour we had cracking views of the Wood Warbler as it rocketed about over our heads singing, Always a great bird to see and hear.





Edit for late night brain freeze. " the western end pair of Stone Curlews"

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Started our East Aglian long weekend at Weeting. The eastern end of the reserve is gradually becoming overgrown, perhaps due to the scarcity of rabbits compared to recent years and the western end pair are again mostly down the hill, but we had good views of a pair 'over the road' together with their youngster this afternoon. When we called back this evening, these birds were out of site , but one of the west end birds was foraging in view, eventually flying off with a large worm.
Also here were at least 1 singing Woodlark and a Hobby.

From here we headed into Brandon to Gashouse Drove. After sitting out a downpour we had cracking views of the Wood Warbler as it rocketed about over our heads singing, Always a great bird to see and hear.

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As is customary on our January trip we headed to Lowestoft for Saturday lunch at Ness Point. The tide was quite high, with waves breaking over the sea defences along one stretch, which didn't bode too well for our target waders, but we managed to find 4 Purple Sandpipers in a sheltered area between the sea wall and the defensive line of boulders. A Rock Pipit was here and 20+ Turnstone were in the vicinity.

Hearing that the Waxwings in Beccles were showing well we headed back into Norfolk that way and discovered that the two birds had now become four.

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Cliff Swallow at Minsmere. 5/11/2016

Late Friday afternoon, around 4-30pm, I got a call from Mark K, he said, There is a Cliff Swallow at Minsmere. Apart from being a bit shocked an Eyebrowed Thrush had also been discovered in Northumberland (it was never refound). Just as we all had thoughts of this bird rich autumn finally running down this happens! Talk about a dilemma, we firstly got a team together, then had various discussions about whether to go overnight or wait for news. We decided to go overnight and arranged to meet at Fairburn Ings at 3am, Darren W, Nigel S, Mark K and myself and Bob K, who drove, all headed down the A1. After leaving the A14 at Stowmarket the usual 30 mile slog seemed to take an age on small twisty roads and the Satnav also seemed overworked.

     Upon reaching Minsmere the car park already looked quite full and lots of birders were milling about in the early morning gloom. We headed off towards the Bittern hide area through the wooded part of the reserve when lots of birders were seen heading towards us, some at great speed! The Cliff Swallow was still present and flying about with 8 Barn Swallows over the Sand Martin colony. We made good progress amongst the masses and all had a brief look at the bird flying above our heads. Success again for the, Strike whilst the iron is hot brigade. What a really nice bird the first winter Cliff Swallow is! We headed into the area known as the Stone Curlew field (they are summer visitors) The bird returned to the same area after about 15 minutes and was on show for around 30 minutes perched up preening, flying around with its Barn Swallow mates and sometimes landing on the ground, it showed really well. We all had the customary handshakes and decided on a return to the car for some food and a drink. Whilst at the car, a gentleman was in such a rush to see the Cliff Swallow that he slipped on some wood right at the side of us and fell to the ground with a right crash. I just said, Man down he did not see the funny side but we all did! We returned to have seconds of the bird but it was only seen in flight and was spreading itself out over a bigger area. I had time to have a chat to Steve Gantlet (the very top lister in Britain) which was quite informative. Even Lee Evans was in attendance to watch this rare American bird. We had a walk down to the East hide to watch the 5 Berwicks Swan`s and lots of wildfowl on the reserve.

     It was still only 11am when we headed onto Dunwich Heath to try to find the Dartford Warblers that reside there. When the sun came out around 4 birds were seen by the team and a few pictures were taken. With not much more rare bird activity in and around Suffolk / Norfolk we decided to head off home. Our trusty Satnav took us home via Norwich and the A47 and onto everyones favourite road the A17. We stopped at The Farm Café near Sutton Bridge and all enjoyed a good meal and had a laugh about our best visits to this café. We dropped the lads of at Fairburn Ings and both got home around 6pm. We all had a new bird and Bob K had something special to celebrate, his 500th species on the UK400 club, well done Bob! Thanks to both drivers Bob and Darren and to everyone, thanks for your company and lots of laugh`s that we always have. Great, memorable day`s birding.

Dave O.



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Bad Times and Good Times (and a rest in between). 31/7/16 & 2/8/16

  I dont often chase after birds that might not get accepted by the great bird gods, but, I had a lapse and thought about the Dalmatian Pelican in Cornwall. I saw a message from Dave W, from Huddersfield, on RBA asking for a lift or offering transport to see the bird. Steve K has always wanted to do a silly night trip to Cornwall, this could be a chance? Along with Bruce from Stretford we all piled into Bruce`s car at around 4am and set off for Restronguet Creek, just south of Truro. We arrived around 10-30am and searched this beautiful part of England for the pelican, without any luck. We met a few locals who told us all about the bird and one kind lady showed us a picture she had taken! It became apparent that the pelican was not in the area. At 2pm a local birder told us that the bird had flown off around 2-30pm on Saturday and a few minutes later a message came on RBA news repeating the same. We all said we would not have made the journey if we had known this earlier. A few Whimbrel on the creek didnt really soften the blow for the journey home. But the news of a Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere, Suffolk had us all thinking. Good company and a good day out in nice sunny conditions was had by us all. A new bird for the dip list then. We reached home by 10pm.

   Monday morning dawned and a tired dipper woke up to find that the Western Purple Swamphen at Minsmere had been elevated to a mega!! Mark K in York was contacted and a team was put together with young Ellis from York our third member. A 4am meet at Fairburn near Castleford was arranged with myself at the wheel. The journey down was fairly uneventful with scattered rain and mist in patches. The oil on the road kept me on my toes as we slid our way towards Minsmere, the news on the Swamphen was positive, this added a couple of mph, and we reached the premier reserve at around 8-45am. A damp spell welcomed us as hurried to the south hide area, about 30 birders were watching something, and it was the Western Purple Swamphen. The bird kept close to the reed fringes, disappearing for short spells, but showed really well at around 100 yards distance. We all watched, what is potentially a first for the United Kingdom, for about an hour and enjoyed watching the birds feeding habits. Along with a squealing Water Rail we all enjoyed the moment and exchanged handshakes as is the norm, when you get a lifer. In other parts of the reserve we saw: - Stone Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and lots of other types of waders. After catching up with a few old birding friends at Minsmere we had a drive up onto Dunwich Heath and saw about 3 Dartford Warbler`s, what smart little birds they are. They carried food to their nestlings and must have had a good breeding season as it is likely to be their second brood at this time of year?  The journey home was made a bit more interesting by the driver of a Post Office articulated vehicle trying to push me off the road. The A14 by this time was full of waggons and was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, upon reaching the A1 we stopped for a nice coffee, then pressed onto to Fairburn. At 5pm I dropped the lads off and got onto the M62 which looking more like a car park, finally reaching home around 6-30pm. The journey home always seems easier when you see the bird though, excellent trip out. Need a rest now, but what`s this, a trip to Cornwall again next Sunday to try for the pelican, well go on then!

Dave O.



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Well done Chris, great to see you both yesterday smile

Gotta admit it was a twitch for me, my first of 2016, but with a potential first for Britain on offer it would have been rude not to!!

Did the 500 mile round trip with my best birding mate & we saw the Western Purple Swamphen immediately on arrival at its favoured pool, 'South Girder' behind South Hide. This Frankenstein's Moorhen showed well on the back edge of the lagoon in the sunshine giving a few Mallards the frights of their lives as it appeared behind them out of the reeds, very comical! On the same lagoon a Water Rail showed on the reed edge too and a Bearded Tit skimmed over the reeds. From the coastpath viewpoint we watched Spotted Redshank, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets and a few Little Gulls on the lagoons. Further round two Stone Curlews showed well on the fields specially managed for them. Nearby a Hobby flew over. We had a good explore of the reserve and added some good non-bird sightings too (see other thread). Great fun in the sun and well worth the effort (just don't mention the M6 furious ).



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Not really a "twitch", but managed to wangle a few days down in Suffolk.The Western Purple Swamphen, ( what a name! what a bird !) showed well at times ,behind South hide at Minsmere.We'll go and explore Dunwich and Westleton Heaths tomorrow.A few pics below.

Cheers Chris



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May 19-23rd.

Highlights included Black-winged Stilt and 2nd Summer Caspian Gull at Minsmere.

Nightingale, Dartford Warbler, Woodlark, Stonechat and Turtle Dove at Westleton Heath.

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Plenty of Turnstone and 8 Purple Sandpiper along the sea defences at Ness Point, Lowestoft.



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Visited Lowestoft on Saturday for lunch during our visit to Norfolk. The area at Ness Point seems to have had a good buffeting since last year and it took us a while to find our target - Purple Sandpiper. Eventually, as John Rayner focused on a Rock Pipit, a Sandpiper displaced it and we found 5 close in on the rock sea defences. 25 Turnstone were on the breakwater as well

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May 18th;
As part of our East Anglian long weekend Riggers, Karen F, Mike Ausberger and I visited the Minsmere area this morning. We toured Dunwich and Westleton Heaths before the reserve opened, ticking off several Dartford Warblers, Tree Pipit, at least 2 Wood Larks and moving Garden Warbler onto our seen list. On the reserve Spoonbill and Curlew-sandpiper were our self-founds for the day, Little Tern, Cetti's Warbler, Bittern and 3 Sanderling were the best of the rest. Plenty of Cuckoo's about too. biggrin. A burst of song from a Nightingale brought the car to a sudden (but safe) stop on the way off the reserve, as we headed up to Horsey to connect with the Dotterel there. Although the bird continued to sing within feet of us it remained formly on the heard list.

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I had to visit my mother in Lowestoft this week and as we left to set off for home in Lancashire we saw a waxwing in the tree by the A12 in the Moron Church grounds. Luckily my husband had to wait to get out of the road so i could have a good look at the bird. So far this year I haven't seen any waxwings in our area of preston

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Super Suffolk Specialities


Originally posted by Alex Jones:



Took a trip down to East Anglia this week and managed to get some incredible birds including Golden Oriole, Black Winged Stilt, Black Necked Grebe, Woodlark, Darfrod Warbler, Cuckoo, Bittern, Little Gull, Nightingale, Hobby, Cetti's Warbler and much, much more from some great sites. Without having to write it all out and post pictures on here,

Please take a look at the trip report and images here: http://www.birdingnorthwales.blogspot.com

Alex


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RE: Suffolk


chrisdorney wrote:

Spent 3 days at minsmere and the first day in particular was a treat(very wet and windy the other days).got there at 5.30 and went to island mere hide and within the first hour a pair of otters appeared right in front of the hide,a water rail was showing just as well,water vole swam across the channel,5 bearded tit working their way along the reeds,cetti's warbler seen,bittern in flight and 4 marsh harrier in the air at one time.on the walk to bittern hide a cetti's warbler popped up and was singing in a small tree right above our heads!two green woodpecker(which were everywhere)also perched in a tree and a cuckoo calling then getting mobbed and seen off by a group of small birds.
A walk round the scrapes produced over 20 common 5 sandwich 1 little and 1 arctic tern and finally after searching through,say,a million gulls found a Mediterranean gull.as I was filming it a grey plover walked past!also present on the reserve were red deer an escaped flamingo avocets turnstone(3 one in summer plumage)redshank barnacle and Brent goose dunlin(sum. pl)4 bar tailed godwits(1 sum. pl)swift sparrowhawk buzzard pintail nuthatch treecreeper hare stoat muntjac(1 fine looking male) lesser whitethroat and a nightingale singing feet away from us near the work centre but frustratingly out of sight.lots of other stuff about but would take far too long.one more memorable thing was a bittern coming out into the open right in front of island mere for over an hour.special.
Dunwich heath produced red legged partridge green woodpecker kestrel wheatear stonechat and finally the rock star that is the Dartford warbler.Mel managed to get some nice 'legs akimbo' shots of it aswell as some other nice ones.also nice to see it perform its song flight.a really memorable trip all round...





sounds like a cracking 3 days there chris,shame about the nightingale being out off sight but i bet that song is still singing in your head
nice one with the dartford warbler,jealous now

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Spent 3 days at minsmere and the first day in particular was a treat(very wet and windy the other days).got there at 5.30 and went to island mere hide and within the first hour a pair of otters appeared right in front of the hide,a water rail was showing just as well,water vole swam across the channel,5 bearded tit working their way along the reeds,cetti's warbler seen,bittern in flight and 4 marsh harrier in the air at one time.on the walk to bittern hide a cetti's warbler popped up and was singing in a small tree right above our heads!two green woodpecker(which were everywhere)also perched in a tree and a cuckoo calling then getting mobbed and seen off by a group of small birds.
A walk round the scrapes produced over 20 common 5 sandwich 1 little and 1 arctic tern and finally after searching through,say,a million gulls found a Mediterranean gull.as I was filming it a grey plover walked past!also present on the reserve were red deer an escaped flamingo avocets turnstone(3 one in summer plumage)redshank barnacle and Brent goose dunlin(sum. pl)4 bar tailed godwits(1 sum. pl)swift sparrowhawk buzzard pintail nuthatch treecreeper hare stoat muntjac(1 fine looking male) lesser whitethroat and a nightingale singing feet away from us near the work centre but frustratingly out of sight.lots of other stuff about but would take far too long.one more memorable thing was a bittern coming out into the open right in front of island mere for over an hour.special.
Dunwich heath produced red legged partridge green woodpecker kestrel wheatear stonechat and finally the rock star that is the Dartford warbler.Mel managed to get some nice 'legs akimbo' shots of it aswell as some other nice ones.also nice to see it perform its song flight.a really memorable trip all round...


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Gary nice to meet you it was myself and rob thorpe tagging along with ian and jimmy.getting an education in birdsong and wind tolerance.

cheers geoff

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Spent the last week on holiday in Suffolk. Very cold and windy but no rain until Friday.
Nice to meet Ian Woosey and Jimmy Meadows again at Minsmere plus two others I didn't know. I realise now that one was Geoff Hargreaves who I'd not met before and the other I'm guessing might have been Rob Thorpe.

Highlights (can't begin to compete with Sean's trip)

Minsmere - 63 species including

Nightingale - good view in North Bushes
Spoonbill - over Scrape
Cettis Warbler
Mediterranean Gull
Bittern and Bearded Tit - flying over Island Mere
Little Tern and Little Stint - on Scrape
Marsh Tit in woodland

Westleton Heath - Hobby, Dartford Warbler and Stonechat

Snape Maltings - Garden Warbler

and finally Cuckoo from the cottage we were staying in.

Waiting to read what the others saw.

Gary

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