Tuesday, February 26, 2008

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Suffolk & Norfolk 18-21 Feb (72)

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The annual pilgimage for Leo and I.
Day 1: Minsmere 18 Feb (51 in the day)
Marsh Harrier, Bitten, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-Tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, Starling, Pigeon, Magpie, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit (at the Sluice Bushes, which we hadn't visited before), Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Black Tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover, Coot, Mallard, Moorhen, Teal, Wigeon, Turnstone, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Snipe, Stonechat, Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Wren, Cormorant, Herring, Black Headed, Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Crow, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant.
We went to Hen Reed Beds to look for our traditional Barn Owl, and Leo saw a Bitten twice, plus lovely Marsh Harrier views, then a Grey Heron and then wonderfully 3 Egyptian Geese flew in (my favourite goose!) and landed in the field next door. But no Barn Owls by the time we decided to head off to Cley. Note for future, 5pm is the right time to turn up for the owls.
Day 2: Cley
Overnight at the George, which is (very - half price on weekdays) cheap and basic accomodation, but very good food and an outstanding local ale. Started at the impressive new visitor centre, which doesn't open until 1000 so we were not alone in waiting outside for the doors to be opened. however there were lapwings, black headed gulls and golden plovers to look at. Note: great views from here for lunch, but the family running the café don't exactly operate to a London metabolism. We walked the full 3.5 mile circuit and saw: coot, moorhen, Brent geese, greylag geese, wigeon, teal, shoveler, shelduck, black tailed godwit, avocet, pintail, stonechat, Dunlin, redshank, skylark, marsh harrier, grey heron, little egret, mute swan, oystercatcher, turnstone, greater black backed gull, herring gull, common gull, greenfinch, goldfinch, dunnock, wren, mallard.
The lady at the visitor centre was rather dismissive of the famous white crowned sparrow 'find the Swallow pub and then it will be obvious'. Indeed it was, apparently there are constantly birders there in all weathers. We joined them. Rumour was that it had not been seen for several days but there were still a dozen folk standing there looking at a bush (robin, chaffinch, house sparrow, blackbird). We got back in the car to leave when we saw them all rush to look at something. So we ran to join them. 'There it is !' they were crying, but we couldn't see it. So it seemed the closest we would get would be to have seen people who were seeing it! Then after another 20min, there it was right in front of us. Great view.
Then we snuck off to Titchwell
Also seen at Cley:Brent Goose, Little Egret, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Pintail, Avocet, Bl Headed, Common, Herring Gull
New for the day: RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE seen in a field from the car, WOODCOCK, on/off beach Bar Tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Goldeneye, Merganser, Curlew, Ruff, Cormorant, Long Tailed Tit, Dabchick, Pochard,
Overnight in Hunstanton - not a mistake I will make again, though the curry house boasts Beadle and Tarrant as previous vistors, and was actually rather good.
Titchwell: New for the trip 7
Kestrel, a flock of Snow Buntings,on the sea: Eider & VELVET SCOTER, Brambling, Linnet, Reed Bunting
Other 23 Marsh Harrier, Cormorant, Merganser, Black Headed Gull, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Coot, Moorhen, both Godwits, Ruff, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck, both Redshanks, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Avocet, Snipe, Goldeneye

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Palm Beach 2- 6 Feb 2008

To The Breakers in Palm Beach for a conference. Flew into Miami then hired a car for the 90 min drive. Only Rock Doves around the airport, then loads of Great Egrets at the car hire place. On the drive tantalising over-flies by herons, egrets, ibises and vultures.On Sunday I had a free morning so drove up to the Macarthur Beach State Park and joined the guided bird walk there. Little blue heron white phase. Pictured: Great Blue Heron. Mourning Dove, Osprey. LAUGHING GULL. Turkey Vulture. Black Vulture, ANHINGA, Brown Pelican, Great Egret or Great White Heron, White Ibis, Double Crested Cormorant, Ring Billed Gull (Pictured - at last a gull with a name that helps identify it), Belted Kingfisher, Butterflies: Julia, Zebra Longwing (the state butterfly) a Sulphur and a Fritillary. Lots of the non-native Brown Anole lizard.

From the Hotel, a stroll on the beach saw a wader, pictured, which I think is a WILLET, even though that is down as an uncommon visitor to the Macarthur park. And around the pool loads of BOAT TAILED GRACKLES, where the female (pictured) is extraordinarily different from the male.

At sunrise, going for a run, I saw a cute little Sanderling beetling around the wave edge.Next day we had an outing to the Everglades, which was actually rather birdless except for Grackles, Vultures, Ospreys and a Belted Kingfisher. At Flamingo Gardens, a brave GREEN HERON was sharing the Alligator enclosure and WOOD STORK were taking advantage of the Flamingo food.