Sunday 16 December 2018

20181216 Common Crane Thurne

Common Crane
Flock of 18 East of Thurne village.
Initially the birds were feeding in a game cover crop belt, quinoa or maize type.
They may have been attracted by the grain from game feeders along the edge of the belt…?

Common Crane
The flock were flushed by 'gamekeepers' in buggy and a Chinese Water Deer dashing across the field from within the game crop, then flew WSW towards the Bure and Upton Marshes.
Common Crane
One of two 1st winter birds in flock. A successful breeding season just gone.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

20181027 Siberian/Stejneger's Stonechat Salthouse Marshes

Stejneger's Stonechat

Stejneger's Stonechat
Siberian Stonechat
Showing off white throat patch and collar well.
With wintering pair of torquatus out in the middle of Marsh on 19th.
Stejneger's Stonechat
20181031 bird moved very close to gates and in low morning light.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

20181023 Willow Emerald Damselfly & Little Egret Roost RSPB Titchwell

Willow Emerald Damselfly
Status rare at Titchwell...
2 males on Dragonfly Pool.
Little Egret
9 of 14 at pre-roost gathering on Patsy's this evening.
Max of 15 Harriers into the Main Reedbed, but we had to leave before dark....
20181113 Little Egret
Pre-roost gathering on 13th November, a fine evening with the birds using the dead trees prior to moving into Willow Wood.
Highest count to date of 58 birds, over 30 in Patsy's Pool at dark.

20181127 Little Egret
Grey dull and nasty evening with a moderate ENE wind.
56 Egret  counted from the pool into Willow Wood.

Saturday 6 October 2018

20181004 Red-necked Phalarope Wells Woods Boating Lake

Red-necked Phalarope
Juvenile bird down to 1 metre.

Red-necked Phalarope
Two grey 1st winter scapular feathers emerging on both sides.

Monday 17 September 2018

20180917 Caspian Gulls Sheringham Beach

Caspian Gull
Classic juvenile.

Lurked down steps onto beach to photograph a 2nd winter Caspian Gull and came upon (face to face with) this Juvenile bird. Arguably the ultimate juv Caspo shot on shingle...!?
Bare parts: Bill brownish black with paler marbling. Longer straighter and thinner than Herrings with shallow gonys angle. Eye black and set high in head on this bird.
Legs paler pink than nearby Herring with hint of yellow mid tarsus. Longer and thinner with more tibia length also.
Head and body: Off white base tone, whitest on forehead with dense obvious streaking on nape and breast sides. White hanging hind belly to vent noticeable. Small headed and high chested.
Upperparts: Obvious tertial step and solid brown in tone with only white tips. Greater coverts strongly white tipped . Scapulars and mantle moving towards 1st winter with anchor shapes appearing. Striking white rump and black brown tail band seen in flight.

Friday 7 September 2018

20180907 Booted Warbler Lowestoft Denes

Booted Warbler
Bird frequently raised crown as in most following shots.

Booted Warbler
The bird stayed faithful to this end clump of tamarisk.
The sea wall provided the twitch with an ideal platform.
Booted Warbler
Paler outer weds on outer tail feathers.
Booted Warbler
Long claws noticeable on darker grey feet compared to dull pink legs, but not really booted...

Booted Warbler 
Immerged with large fly.

Booted Warbler
Head on hippo look but with white breast in belly standing out in sunlight.
Squared off iduna shaped tail with notch in centre cf accros.

Booted Warbler
Flushing away note tail shape and paler outer web of outer tail feathers.
Overall greyer milky tea-coloured upperparts should set all alarm bells ringing.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

20180904 Great White Egret RSPB Titchwell

Great White Egret
Fishing technique demonstrated on Patsy's Reedbed Pool.
Much leaping about and foot stirring of the substrate to flush out fish. 

Great White Egret
The bird has been regularly feeding here for over two weeks.

Great White Egret
Major success! The fish is a Common Rudd, red fins and green and golden body.
Image from RAW
Great White Egret
Image from in camera jpeg
Great White Egret
Neck expanded to at least twice its normal width as the fish slowly went down.  

Tuesday 24 July 2018

20180724 Black Darter Dersingham Bog

Black Darter
2nd visit and only the one male seen.

20180719 Emerald Damselfly 
RSPB Dragonfly workshop on 19th at Dersingham Bog
20180719 Emerald Damselfly

Tuesday 17 July 2018

20180717 Lesser Yellowlegs RSPB Titchwell

Lesser Yellowlegs
Adult breeding from Island Hide.

Lesser Yellowlegs
The ultimate pose except for tibia deep water...

20180731 Lesser Yellowlegs
On 31st the bird stayed out in the middle of Freshmarsh but is still identifiable on leg colour
through the heat haze. 
19970829 Lesser Yellowlegs
29th August 1997 Ryan's Field the Hayle Estuary.
(Named to celebrate the birth of a NT warden who latterly toiled on The Lizard and NNCoast) 
Also an adult with retained breeding plumage.
An over baked acrylic....
Ian's excellent field sketch and notes from 17th.
The Yellowlegs performed well and gave us the ideal rare bird field sketching session.
Performance under pressure from a busy Island Hide, failure was not an option...

Ian's considered studio pencil sketch of the bird.
At one with his subject following great dedication.
Next we invade Poland with colour.

Monday 9 July 2018

20180709 Little London Corpusty Telephone Box display panel

Little London Corpusty.
Telephone Box display panel featuring the Corpusty plough, railway station tearooms, message bearing Swifts, Yellowflag, Otter looking back through time, 19th century view of hamlet, the well on The Street and Common Mallow.
Display panel production crew.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

20180703 Colour Ringed Black-tailed Godwit RSPB Titchwell

Black-tailed Godwit icelandica
2 CR birds on Freshmarsh became the subject of the sketching class.
Strangely neither bird has been recorded at Cley, but the left hand birds right leg ring colours are not well determined.
Ringing data returned if the off white was once lime green indicated an individual not seen for 10 years... so doubtful.
No data as yet on RNR-YGY, but should be more conclusive.

Black -tailed Godwit
This bird looks to have a data logger on its left leg.
Also lettering on white ring right leg.
CR Avocet also in shot.
20180717 Black-tailed Godwit
Bird with aerial for satellite tracking seen on the 17th...? 
Has a name and has returned from Iceland, more data to follow.

Sunday 1 July 2018

20180701 Kestrel on Little Tern chicks Blakeney Point

Kestrel appeared hovering briefly over west end of enclosures putting up all Little Terns, about 60 birds. 
Then flew low East along ridge whilst being mobbed.

Little Tern grabbing and striking Kestrel but fails to divert it from its attack run.

Kestrel took one hop on the ground then grabbed chick.
Appeared to be able to see chicks from low level flight.

Very small chick in left talons.

Male Kestrel then flew a short distance and landed within enclosure amongst sea-blight cover.
Over 7 Kestrel visits were recorded to the colony the previous day!?

Kestrel sitting on deck in shade of sea-blight and still being mobbed by Terns.
Bird seemed very bold and would not easily flush away from the colony.
Noted an abundance of Kestrel attacks in log over last two days and communicated with wardens.
The eastern enclosures colony has been wiped out.... by Kestrel??

From a very positive position as reported in last month's article the Little Tern colony on the Blakeney Spit has met with a major setback this season. From the 20th May Kestrels were recorded about the colony enclosure and their interest grew throughout June. Each visit by Kestrel  causes all the Little Terns on the shingle to rise up as one to meet with and mob it as it hovers and swoops over the colony. Unfortunately this does not deter  the raptor from its intended attack route and surveillance run low over the shingle ridge.
 By the 30th June over six visits daily were being witnessed by volunteers , during the monitored middle period alone, involving  two if not three Kestrels. The 1st of July saw the end of any nesting activity in the eastern enclosure and a few pairs desperately defending chicks left in the western enclosure. A male Kestrel now using the site as a drive through and sitting on the deck within the colony digesting its take away. A week later and all chick rearing activity had stopped with only two pairs of Little Tern feigning nesting rituals on empty scrapes.

It is widely known that  Avian predation is harder to manage than ground predation at tern colonies, as aerial access to the nest scrape has to be maintained , so allowing predatory birds in as well. In Britain, Little Terns nest in fairly mono-specific colonies so predation from other species sharing a location is minimal. Nest boxes have been tried for a number of species and the success has been mixed. Roseate Terns seem to take to these most readily, as on Coquet Island, but this is possibly because they prefer nesting in dense cover and nest boxes provide  a familiar alternative, unlike the minimal open scrape nesting of the Little Tern.

 It is also well documented that Individual avian predators that specialise in, and fixate on predation of terns often account for most losses at a tern colony. It may be that the most effective management is to target them specifically and Kestrels are top of the list in this respect. Supplementary feeding of Kestrels has been attempted with some effect in the past so as to provide an alternative prey source and decrease attacks on the tern colonies. It has been difficult to prove the effectiveness of the method and it may artificially maintain a high predator population producing a detrimental impact on the terns in future years. Kestrels have habituated to human efforts to deter them, static or active as I found with the male on the 1st July which would not flush away from the colony until the third attempt. They have also been recorded extracting chicks from funnelled shelters provided for protection but in this case chicks had not moved from their nest scrapes when the kestrels located them and attacked.

Lethal control of predators has frequently been considered but most conservation bodies shy away from this approach on humane grounds and to avoid negative publicity... This season the NT made every effort and went to great expense to create a secure site and also identified the rogue predators at the earliest possible juncture. Unfortunately and without due care and attention a timely managerial response, specifically targeted to the threat, was not forthcoming until after the predation event was over....??