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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Local & work wildlife

A Chiff- Chaff singing over the fence at Fallowfields this am, a Peacock butterfly & showy Dunnock just outside Burrage Centre, JPUH Hospital (alas no camera) & saw a Muntjac deer on Fallowfields this evening walking just past the vegetation just past the back garden fence.

American Bittern in flight

On Monday April 16th, the American Bittern seen for the first time today at Share Marsh, Carlton Marshes, at 7.15pm (15 second view), 7.20pm and 7.23pm it flew out of the usual area flew to reeds behind cleared area where it had been displaying last Saturday.

Male Redstart at Gunton Memorial field

On Sunday 15th April, thick fog happened birding in the morning, but I went out to Gunton ORT to twitch James' Redstart and in the memorial are I briefly saw it before it flew to the ORT. A Redwing flew in. The fine male Redstart popped out and was seen on the track before it flew back to the ORT. Later on it flew out and was seen using the plastic coiled tree protector coverings to hunt for food. Further along the rail track, I heard a Firecrest and Jake G and gang had seen a Hawfinch but alas we didn't see it.

American Bittern again

A trip down Carlton Marshes on Saturday 14th April and I eventually saw the American Bittern emerging amongst the Juncus in the cleared area just east of the dye usual area, it stick its head and breast up and the snuck down and slunk amongst the Juncus and then into the reeds all for a magnificent 5 seconds. It showed a brown head a white super cilia and dark thick stripes down its breast. I shouted it out as I was the only one to see it but it did later emerge amongst the edge of the reeds slightly further east by the clear field.

Monday, 9 April 2018

American Bittern after 7 hour stint

On Sunday 8th April, having just 4 hours of sleep after getting home at 12.30am after Rob & Erin's wedding reception celebrations (a wonderful occasions and so please dot be able to share their special day with them and many mutual friends), I was up at 4.30pm and put in 5 hours and 10 minutes in the hope of seeing a totally unexpected but very welcome American Bittern that had been superbly photographed by Gavin the previous evening at 6pm. He had posted it on twitter as a Bittern and then this had been correctly id'd by Rob H and others. It was a very overcast day with initial spells of light rain. Praying in the main car park, I had a brief chat with Matt & Rob H. There was absolutely no sign of the bird during my first stint. However Matthew D spotted a distant male Ring Ouzel perched on top of a distant tree. A Kestrel also perched on top to the right of the bush was causing the Thrush to pump its tail in alarm. The white breast crescent clearly seen and a great indicator of what the bird was from this distance. I left at 11.10am during light rain. Inevitably tweets came through of the bird showing at 12.32pm and 1.25pm and by 2.30pm I was back. This time I had to park in the overflow car park. The field to the swest of the old dilapidated barn where there was already some 40 cars. I joined a throng of 160 or so birders. We had several sighting of 10+ Swallows flying past including a group of 5. Chinese Water Deer seen occasionally. Finally at 4.32pm after a long cumulative wait of just over 7 hours the bird was called seen in flight I initially got onto a Crow but then switched to the bird, an absolutely fantastic American Bittern and huge relief all round! What stood out for me, initially was the very dark flight feathers contrasting with the very pale wing coverts showing a very stark contrast between the two groups of wing feathers (wing coverts) pale versus the very dark primaries, secondaries and primary coverts) plus pale buff trailing edge wedge to these feathers, clearly seen. It showed thick dark stripes on the breast and flanks and a fine longish bill (appearing slimmer than Eurasian Bittern) and distinct head markings and a brown crown, it flew from left to right, for around 15 seconds, it flew towards the bush, it wheeled around in a semi- circle and pitched into the reeds just to the left of the bush. Great mutual congratulations with Rob & Erin, Paul & Jane and others after a mind numbing 7+ hours of waiting! Just 50 minutes later, it ran across the open area staying crouched down as it went by (I didn't see the bird on the deck during this brief sighting as I had sadly stood on the left side of the group, wrong side of the ditch! A bird then flew away called by some as the American Bittern at 5.20pm, but it was a bigger more squat bird, with only very slightly darker flight feathers and a more homogenous brown and squat appearance, making it a Eurasian Bittern in my book (and most of the people I spoke to agreed), my first for the site and for Lowestoft proper! Other birders said they saw a Eurasian Bittern in a field where we saw it pitch down.

Great Egret at Oulton Marshes

On Saturday 7th April, at Carlton Marshes after Rob & Erins wonderful wedding we saw my first Swallow flying over the scrape and Small Tortoiseshell butterfly. Popping out from Rob & Erin's wedding reception for 90 mins I saw a female White Wagtail in the horse paddock from the north path of Oulton Marshes and there distant yellow billed Great Egret was walking along a distant dyke on Camps Heath marshes near the footpath.

Friday, 6 April 2018

A few migrants at Kessingland SW

On Thursday 5th April, 4 Chiff- Chaff seen around the perimeter bushes of Kessingland sewage works, 2 Blackcap recorded, my first of the year 1 heard chacking and a male hopping round the trunk of a small tree at the edge of the bushy scrub bordering the track. 2 Firecrest heard and seen by the bush scrub bordering the sewage works, one showed briefly well in some bare bush branches but a van coming along disturbed it and as always spoilt a chance to photogenic Dunnock, Robin, Wood Pigeons seen too plus a brief view of a Song Thrush further down the track. this fine bird, good to see local birders, David B and wife. Some photogenic No time for further birding as I had to be in work for 1.45pm.