Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Dec 31st

Year over and final Patch Birding tally was 189 sp 281 pts. Lowestoft area yearlist ended on 215, my second best annual total. The only December tick was the fine Glossy Ibis at Oulton Marshes. Misses included Turtle Dove, Nuthatch and Red-necked Grebe etc but I did pretty well really, getting most of the expected birds. For 2014 I have made a slight alteration to my patchbirding 3km boundary, basically ditching Lound and gaining Carlton/Oulton Marshes. I was amazed it still fit too, before you ask:)I have the map in a word document but cant remember how to paste it in here. This means its not eligable for the comparitive scores league..but will be pretty tasty in the new patch standings id wager.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Nov 24th

Juvenile Glaucous Gull still showing extremely well in Hamilton Dock. 2 male and a female Parrot Crossbill seen in pines at Tunstall Common. There were 10 in the tree but they were mostly hidden, only coming up to snatch a cone and go deep in tree to devour it. One male showed for a long while sat out on top however. A Suffolk tick, my 351st.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Nov 1st

Dartford Warbler located on Gunton Warren,in bracken by the main gorse area. This has become a regular site for the species in late Autumn. Hopefully Nick and the SWT habitat management here will make the species even more regular in the future. Also Chiffchaff and a Yellowhammer noted, the latter is now very scarce at this formerly regular site and it was undoubtedly a migrant. At Corton a Merlin zoomed north over the church area and was watched heading out towards Radar Lodge. 2 Rock Pipits flew south. c.100 Pink-footed Geese were seen in flight distantly over the Ashby area viewed from Corton new sewage works 2 patch ticks today after a quiet couple of weeks. Pictured below are a second winter Med Gull on Links Road car park and a Collared Dove on neighbours roof.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Oct 21st

Went to Castle Marshes in evening but no sign of Ruddy Shelduck which is just as well, considering my BOU listing attempts.... 4 Gypos and 2 Stonechat the only birds of note. Checked the Alder Carr at North Cove for Redpolls and drew a blank. Did manage this nice shot of a Chaffinch tho... Yesterday viz mig south along Corton railtrack early morning produced 21 Redpoll sp and 30+ Chaffinch.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Oct 17th

Today was a crazy kind of day. The wind had switched to the west after a good period of easterlies, I wasnt expecting much at all...but it turned into the best day of the year... As I wasnt expecting anything I didnt even check Corton and headed straight to Ness Point to test out the camera on possible waders etc as there was nothing better seemingly to do and I wasnt called in to work today. Whilst videoing 2 distant Purple Sands I got a text from Rob Wincup saying a Great White Egret was flying south over the Denes. O well I thought..that would have been nice....3 mins later I realised wth I am actually south of him at the moment..and started scanning the skies frantically to no avail and I had missed it (smacks forehead. However my continued scanning did pick me up a real bonus patch year tick in the form of a ringtail Hen Harrier that came in from the sea and headed south west over the town in the direction of Carlton Marshes. Rob then tweeted again that he was watching a Yellow-browed Warbler on the Denes. I quickly packed up and made my way there and enjoyed views of it in sycamores by the 2nd shelter belt north of the Oval. 2 Redpolls flew south and we mused that there must be at least a Pallas`s around here somewhere as we were somewhat missing out on the action further north in recent days. I then checked Belle Vue Park where a nice Firecrest was located near the steps by the ravine. Next stop Corton Woods where 2 resplendant Firecrests were showing well low down in the usual Holly tress at this known regular site, with birds often wintering.A Treecreeper and 2 Chiffchaffs were the only other birds of note, the recent large Thrush and Robin numbers had now largely departed. Richard Smith then tweeted that he had had a definate 2nd Yellow-brow on the Denes then a possible Pallas`s Warbler seen briefly. I made my way back there wondering what on earth was going on...common migrants all clearing out but scarce waifs showing (Rob Wilton even had a YBW walking his school kids to the pool!)..bizarre. I searched the Flycatcher Lane area for a while with Richard and Rob and heard what I considered to be the Pallas`s Warbler on a few occaisions but we couldnt get on to it. A text then came through from Craig Shaw that he had found 3 Shorelarks at Corton so I made my way their for a valuable patch yeartick vowing to return to try for tyhe Pallas`s. The Shorelarks showed well near the central path between the 2 stubble fields but I didnt want to get too close in fear of flushing them so only manage this shot plus some decent video footage. Carl and Ricky had a Jack Snipe here later but I made my way back to the Denes, adamant that there was a Pallas`s to be had. Meeting Jane and Rob we searched diligently. After a while a bird called from bushes on the slope north of the Oval which we were pretty convinced was a Pallas`s Warbler especially after checking xeno-canto via the mobile. We were so adamant we stayed at the same spot for over an hour convinced it was in that bush! Always trust your gut feelings. The bush remained silent...for a long time..we stayed. Craig Shaw joined us on his Dog walk and the lucky devil then picked out the Pallas`s Warbler at the front of the bush. It gave nice views to those present..an absolute gem of a bird..my favourite, with flashing yellow rump and median crown stripe seen well. A real case of perseverance pays off and we were elated. I ended the day at Corton disused railways line where finally a Redpoll wasnt just flying over but was in full view in the top of a tree..Mealy..get in. Yet another Firecrest was also seen here, rounding off a fantastic day.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Oct 16th

Good viz mig this morning with 170 Goldfinch south, 4 Swallows south, 2 Rock Pipit south,3 Reed Bunting south, 2 Grey Wagtail south, 10 Siskin south, 30+ Chaffinch south plus 30 or so around the church hedges with 30 Greenfinch. Many Blackbirds were in evidence with smaller numbers of Redwing and Song Thrush. Next stop Gunton railtrack where many Blackbirds and Redwing flushed out as I walked along. Unusually a Treecreeper was feeding halfway along the track. 2 Bramblings were with a Chaffinch flock.

Oct 15th

Hobby showed well hawking over the old sewage works, my latest date ever. A female Marsh Harrier came in from the sea mobbed by corvids, a decent record for Corton. 20 or so Skylarks were in the stubble with 2 Reed Buntings and a Grey Wagtail over.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Oct 14th

No work today so I thought id better make the most of it and count migrants on the Corton patch. 2 Great-grey Shrikes were present in the Radar Lodge/Broadland Sands area. A very smart Siberian Chiffchaff was located at Corton disused railway line, very pale and grey and giving off the unmistakale "lost chick" peep, showed brilliantly low down. A good comparison could be made with the 2 abientinus type and 12 Collybita type Chiffchaffs also present. The Lesser Whitethroat from yesterday was still present but again I struggled to get clear views of it. However it probably was an eastern type, with very pale brown back and white outer tail feathers. No chance of a photo to clinch it tho. 9 Blackcaps were noted in the Corton area. In the morning 4 very robust Crossbills flew south over the railtrack, so large looking I had to double check if they had wingbars in case they were Hawfinches before they called! They called pretty deep...another one that gets away... In the alders of the plantation 4 large looking pale Redpolls kept flying over and calling, I couldnt get a perched view unfortunately but they were quite probably Mealies. A good Goldfinch (50+) and Siskin (40+)and Chaffinch (20+) passage south occured early doors with the bonus of 6 fine Bramblings with one stopping to linger along the track. 3 Fieldfare, 20+ Blackbird, 20+ Redwing and 30+ Song Thrush also went over. Good numbers of Song Thrush flushed out of the usual spots and there had been a noticable increase in grounded Blackbirds. The Lapland Bunting was still present in the stubble. When flushed out it flew round a bit then perched on the perimeter fence. The bird was distant and the sun was right above it making it look like a sillhouette. I took a few shots tho although seemingly impossible by shooting at crazy exposure then a mega crop I was able to just about get an identifiable image:

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Oct 12th

As predicted a good arrival of migrants today. Many Robins, Song Thrush and Redwings in evidence. Saw 2 Great-grey Shrikes: one on Gunton warren early morning then one in the MoD compound at Corton in the evening. A Lapland Bunting was in the osw stubble. Ring Ouzels were noted at Corton Church and Gunton Warren. A Snipe sp probably Jack was seen briefly in flight at Corton. A Goldeneye flew past Corton, my first of the year. A pale abientinus type Chiffchaff was seen at Corton railtrack.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Oct 11th

Strong North easterly winds after gale northerlies produced a decent seawatch as predicted. In easterly based conditions I now know the best vantage point seems to be from Gunton cliff from the car where its still, dry and has a high view. A hoped for Leach`s Petrel gave good scope views halfway out and rested on the sea on occaisions as it went north slowly. A northerly passage of Auks was evident from this high viewpoint moving just beyond the white water and 30+ large Auks were seen along with a Puffin. 3 Sooty Shearwaters moved north. 5 Great Skuas and 7 Arctic Skuas were noted. 6 male Eider and a female Red-breasted Merganser went north with a good passage of Brent Geese (150+), Wigeon (50+, Common Scoter (70+) and Teal (30+. 3 Little Gulls went south and 4 Med Gulls were seen. Gannet passage was decent with some incredibly close birds inc one juv just off the groynes. A Brambling was noted at Corton railtrack and a few Redwing and Song Thrush were noted in sheltered spots.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Black Darters

In evening raced to Corton New Sewage works to witness the Suffolk record numbers of Black Darters. At least 10 males were present no doubt blown in by the strong south easterlies of previous days and now showing in calm conditions. Andrew also had a Vagrant Emperor at Gunton beach today, clearly theres been an influx of foreign insects.

Oct 6th

Still pretty quiet. Just a few Firecrests at note including a few regularly at Corton. In sunny weather tried some photography today at Breydon and Lound. At Lound 11 Redwing and a probable singing male Firecrest (not seen) were noted then a very pale Buzzard flew over which I managed to video with the new camera, a video grab appears below. It had a noticable pale rump and tail and had me scrambling for Colins and checking Dutch birding, their bird was still there and this was only a Common. Quite a few Canada Geese are now at Lound having been absent in early part of the year, along with the omnipresent Greylags:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Oct 1st

Day off work due to NUT strike, so gave the patch a grilling, counting the birds as I saw them in my notebook, as I tend to do when I expect stuff. Of course ive expected stuff all week in these easterly winds, but its been pretty poor, probably as theres been no cloud cover or rain to ground things. Firecrest: one seen well in conifers by Corton OSW, 2 along Corton disused railway line. 4 additional crest sp heard but not seen during my rounds at Corton were possibly this species. Wheatear: one along clifftop by Corton old sewage works. Another in the grassy Potters field at Hopton. Lesser Whitethroat: one seen well at Corton disused railway line, dont worry of course I checked it for eastern features, it appeared to be nominate. Song Thrush: 28 Corton area, 7 Gunton. Robin: 21 Corton area, a small increase on recent days. Chaffinch: 12 Corton area. Chiffchaff: 6 Corton area. Meadow Pipit: 11 Corton area. Jay: 4 Corton area Bullfinch: 3 Corton disused railway line. Coal Tit: 2 Corton disused railway line. Blackcap: 3 Corton disused railway line. Siskin: 2 south Corton disused railway line. Green Woodpecker: 2 Corton area.

Sunday, 22 September 2013


In case you had been wondering I have been out most days recently just not seeing anything notable enough for a blog post. Yesterday a nice Snow Bunting was seen sitting on a groyne by Links Hill presumably exhausted after a long flight. Many evenings have been spent seawatching especially after tip offs of birds coming north eg the Sabines Gull off Sizewell, didnt pick up any of them tho. Today went to Burgh castle to try out camera..and was met by thick fog. When it cleared a bit some viz mig was apparent with a small group of Redpolls, 7 Yellow Wagtails and plenty of Meadow Pipits flying over the ruins which appears to be a good viz mig location as they pass along the river valley. I did test the camera at 50x on the very distant Berney Mill: The winds have been dire...a bit of early morning viz mig is all I could muster but possible promising conditions for next week and with a staggering 160 Yellow-browed Warblers on a single Norweigan Island today things could get very interesting....

Sept 22nd

Yellow-browed Warbler seen on the patch today in Sparrows Nest Gardens. Found by Andrew, was elusive but called constantly for a few minutes and showed briefly high up in trees above the bowling green. Hopefully the first of many and an almost certain upgrade to 6pts as ive found at least one every year since ive lived here. Purchased a new bridge camera yesterday, a sony DSC HX-300 which produces great results at x50 optical zoom. I bought it for record shots of self found solo observed rares mainly and for this its amazing as you can get an identifiable shot very quickly and easily which such a small portable device. Heres an example of a cat taken on a neighbours roof in near darkness at 7 pm.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sept 11th

Up at dawn to seawatch before work. Was raining with poor visibility at dawn so pulled in to Links Road car park to watch from car. It was soon apparent that a large northerly passage of Wildfowl and waders was happening, very close inshore. 100s of Teal and Wigeon, some Mallard, Scoter and Gadwall, 100s of Dunlin, many Knot, good numbers of Grey Plover, some Curlew etc. A close group of 20 or so Dunlin flew past and I got my scope on them and noted 2 considerably smaller, paler waders which were clearly Little Stints, a real bonus. Some extremely close Arctic Skuas were also passing north. As the weather abated and the visibility improved I decided to watch from Corton for a wider field of view. Sheltered by the benches hedge it was very pleasant, the horizon appeared and viewing was very good. Skuas kept appearing, often close. A dainty pale juv Long-tailed Skua flew north with an Arctic, the difference was remarkable with completely different flight action, size and jizz, the Arctic was low and purposefull while the tiny Long-tailed was very bouyant and kept dipping to surface, very Tern like and easily one of the better examples ive seen off here. In total 16 Arctic Skuas went north during the short watch. Most birds were passing north and close but the Gannets were passing south and distant. Then a real patch crippler occured as 2 magnificent Avocets passed close north, easily the highlight of the watch.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Aug 30th

Extended seawatch off Corton benches in evening produced the hoped for juv Long-tailed Skua. Also 2 Arctic Skua, 7 Gannet, 19 Med Gulls,Black Tern, 8 Little Gulls inc 2 juv, 10 plus Sandwich Tern. Earlier in day a female Redstart was seen in the turbine yard at Ness point. 2 Redstart have been at the new sewage works in last few days along with another Wryneck, making it 8 Wryneck in total in Lowestoft area this month, plus 2 Red-backed Shrike and 2 probably 4 Greenish Warblers. Back to the good old days it seems but just watch the winds stubbornly switch now....

Monday, 26 August 2013

Aug 26th

Bit of a clear out overnight but still bits and bobs around. Nice Sooty Shearwater passed north quite close off North Beach after the usual tip off from Paul at Kessingland. Pied Flys seen at Gunton (2)and Corton (2). Redstarts seen at Corton new sewage works and Radar lodge. 3 Whinchats in Gunton church field. 3+ Yellow Wagtails at Corton. Wryneck showed well inside compound at Corton old sewage works.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Aug 25th

Ideal conditions still prevailing resulting in an amazing couple of days nationally. Today I saw A Greenish Warbler along Flycatcher Alley then in the evening found a Greenish Warbler by Corton new sewage works pond. Having just heard the one in Lowestoft calling I knew instantly what it was as I heard it and it then showed well for 5 mins calling continuously, possibly due to being new in, then headed east through the folliage. It or another was seen with a tit flock by the church later. So 2 6 point finds already this long weekend, lets try for another tommorow to really make my patch total competitive. Tree Pipit was at Radar lodge in morning and 2 Pied Flys were by the Corton pond in evening with 3 Whinchat. Earlier I found a Wryneck feeding on the path at Gunton railtrack, showing well, possibly yesterdays birds but given the large numbers in East Anglia at the moment cant be sure, 20+ in Suffolk, 20+ at Spurn etc. 17 Greenish Warblers were seen nationally today.

Aug 24th

Ideal fall conditions with easterly winds and rain. Found a Wryneck along Gunton railtrack. Many waders were flying over during morning including a number of Greenshank, Golden Plover and Whimbrel. Good numbers of Whinchats, Pied Fly and Wheatear were around. At Lound Green Sand flew over, Redstart and Spotted Fly present. In evening 29 Common Sands and a Wryneck were at Corton.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Aug 20th

Corton car boot sale produced again early morning after last weeks flyover Crossbill this morning 2 Pied Flycatchers were calling vociferously to each other within the north end of Corton Woods/gardens heard from my pitch. At least one kept being heard until midday. Interestingly at least 7 Pied Flys were found this morning in North Lowestoft/Corton in non Scandinavian migrant conditions, presumably English breeders migrating out. Last night 8 Arctic Skuas and an early Red-throated Diver were seen off Lowestoft in evening while in the morning a bonus Sedge Warbler was a patch yeartick in reeds by Corton NSW pond and a nice Clouded Yellow Butterfly was seen by Corton Radar Lodge.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Aug 11th

Mad scramble to the North Denes again when Andrew found another Roseate Tern. When I arrived I was told it had flown off, then it started to piss it down! They all ran for shelter whilst I crazily stayed, bedraggled, madly scanning distant groynes. The rain cleared, they crept back and I relocated the bird on a distant groyne to the south. We walked south to opposite the Lighthouse and enjoyed great views. Somewhat unusually this adult was unringed. One juvenile Arctic Tern was present among good numbers of Commons and Sandwich Terns. The Roseate flew off out to sea to feed at 9.40.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Aug 7th

Evening seawatch produced very little, just 3 Med Gulls (2 juv and 2nd summer) and an Arctic Skua. Earlier in week saw Caspian and YLG at Burnthill Lane but only saw the Roseate Tern as a spec flying off. Testing the iphone camera on the earlier Black Tern in the week, looking to bring new meaning to the term "record shot"... Dug out the 2001 diary to look back on my previous Lowestoft area record of 218 as I wanted to double check as it seemed high given that I really caned it last year and managed 210. I found that the 218 was correct and that some birds that were regular dross back then just dont occur now and this inflated the list, such as Nuthatch and Corn Bunting. How times change. It was a good migrant autumn, essential for a yearlist. Self found Olive-backed Pipit and Richards Pipit were the personal highlights. Other highlights seen in 2001 in the Lowestoft recording area included Rose-colured Starling and White-spotted Bluethroat. I got nearly all of the regular dross it seemed even bonuses like Hawfinch. The good autumn was responsible for most of the regular scarce being noted ie Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike and Barred Warbler. Seawatching was productive, I even read of a Suffolk record breaking 1800 Gannet north in just 5 hours in April. So to beat this we clearly need a good migrant autumn and we are due one...but Rob at least is well on track (yes ive sneakily added up what I think hes on and its now a number birds ahead of me (ill not disclose how many as I know Rob likes his secrets:)) to date this year in the Lowestoft area). Im on 183 btw.... Thats Lizard area listing but this blog is for your Corton patch listing I hear you say, how many are you on..? Sore point tbh...but autumn encroaches,,watch out Gibbo!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Aug 2nd

Cracking juvenile Black Tern seen around groynes on Lowestoft North Beach.3 Med Gull and a Common Sand noted. Yesterday evening a juv Arctic Tern and 3 ad Little Gulls flew south past Corton Cliffs along with a large evening movement of Common Terns south, maybe 500 birds. 8 Whimbrel flew south along with a Sanderling.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

July 23rd

That time of year again..when I break up for summer and actually go out birding on occaisions after the midsummer doldrums. Last night 3 Little Gulls flew south past Corton Cliffs plus 2 Med Gulls and c.15 Common Scoter sat on sea. Many seals had their heads up above the flat calm sea. This afternoon a patch yeartick Whimbrel flew over tittering and 2 nice adult Med Gulls were lingering offshore. No sign of any Crossbill species during visits to larches in the area such as at Ashby but a nice Common Sandpiper was see at Lound Lakes.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

June 15th

Great views of the Trimley Marshes Pacific Swift in the afternoon, my 350th Suffolk bird and well worth the 3 mile walk and pandemonium parking situations. Surely the bird of the year in Suffolk and the second best Suffolk bird ive ever seen behind the Sandhill Crane.

Monday, 3 June 2013

June 3rd

Day off so went to check out a reported possible Iberian Chiffchaff at Kensington Gardens which no locals knew anything of, the report coming first via the pager I think. Anyway I wandered around a bit with no sound then a movement in a tree near the boating pool took my eye. Bins up and I was on to a fine female/immature Red-breasted Flycatcher. As normal I tweeted it out instantly and soon a nice little gathering were enjoying the bird as it remained faithful to the same tree for a few hours. Always little gems to see and very active flycatching around in sprightly fashion showing off its white outer uppertail sides.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

June 2nd

2 Common Cranes eventually seen well on deck at Carlton Marshes after being given the run around. Seemed immature maybe 2nd summer birds and they appear to be lingering in the valley. A good end to one of the worst birding periods of my life which started when I dipped these 2 Cranes a while ago then went out twice a day on the local patch often very early morning hoping for good birds in promising conditions and not seeing a SINGLE MIGRANT, despite places like Blakeney Point and Spurn dripping with stuff. My faith is well and truly now on the autumn, THE period on this patch and make or break time. Amusingly (to him) this worst ever period in Lowestoft birding coincided with my main rival being on holiday in Hungary meaning he didnt miss a single bird, then he returns and bags Common Crane for his patch....a fat lady is somewhere in the background..but ill be damned if shes sung yet..:)

Monday, 20 May 2013

May 19th

Fine Woodchat Shrike showing very well around the Denes Oval, a nice 3 pointer. Nearby the male Red-backed Shrike remained, a nice double, attracting quite a few birders throughout the day to my patch. Very little of note at other sites today, tho a Garden Warbler was still showing well at Lound, which was pleasing.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

May 18th

Pretty quiet lately. Again nothing of note on patch birding boundary this morning, or the last few days ive looked (yes I have been out-cheeky buggers). Went to check the scrape at Carlton. 1 Whimbrel, 4 Redshank and a brief group of c.7-10 Ringed Plover. Went to marsh lane end only to be turfed off by the farmer, no water was left anyway. Day was salvaged by phenominal views of a ringtail (probably 1st summer male)Montagu`s Harrier on Breydon south wall marshes by the pumphouse, brilliantly found by Rob Wilton after he had predicted it in an earlier text to me. Evening update: Rob called me late in evening saying hes on a Red-backed Shrike on the Denes. I scorched there in record time and enjoyed the fabulous male Red-backed Shrike on brambles just north of the Oval. Robs texts today included "just off to McDonalds then I fancy a Monties" and "off to McDonalds then off to find a Shrike".....Well played sir. I wonder what time McDonalds opens in the morning.......

Thursday, 9 May 2013

May 8th

Resorting to stints of early evening seawatching at the moment as very few migrants are around. 2 Bar-wits south, 1 late Red throated Diver north and c.20 Gannet had been the "highlights". However I did have a couple of sightings which made me scratch my head. The first tonight were 3 large white birds distantly south low over water, never gliding like the Gannets present and clearly bigger. I assume they were probably Spoonbills and if a group of 3 turns up on the Suffolk coast tommorow it would be interesting... The other sighting was the previous night when I picked up a Tern flying north quite high at mid/long range. Having watched commmics all evening it wasnt one of those, too large and leisurely. It didnt strike me as a Sandwich Tern either. In fact the bill did look all black, thick and short. Yes there was a strong black trailing edge to wing....and yes its the one candidate species there is no way in hell they will "give" to a yearlister.....yet another that gets away..:(

Monday, 6 May 2013

May 6th

Up at dawn to try some vizmig from the pillbox. It wasnt the spectacular I was predicting....just 4 Yellow Wags, a few Swallows and a Hobby noted in 2 hours. Then went to Carlton Marshes scrape where a pair of Avocets flew in and fed for around 10 mins before flying off towards Castle Marshes. Would be nice if they stayed to breed, that would be a real bonus in the scrapes first year. 2 Greenshank then flew in and fed for around 10 mins before they also flew off. Im thinking when it gets the Temmincks soon it will do similar so I guess you will have to get there early. 2 or 3 uncharacteristically showy Garden Warblers were noted by Spratts Water Lane. Nearby a Gropper sang, Cuckoo called distantly and good numbers of Willow Warbler were present. At Lound another showy Garden Warbler sand and showed well by the causeway, a good patch challenge tick but no sound of yesterdays Cuckoo which would have been a bonus. 4 Swifts and a House Martin flew around Lowestoft Lighthouse and a Yellow Wag flew over south. In the evening a real bonus came in the form of my first ever Corton Spotted Redshank which flew south close past the benches, almost in full summer plumage. That is far rarer than eg YBW here and I doubt ill get another. 2 Little Terns flew north, c.60 Common Scoter sat on sea and 20+ Commic Terns were too distant to be identified as hoped for Arctics of which Landguard had a number today.

Friday, 26 April 2013

April 26th

Out on patch after work. Decided to stop on road overlooking MoD field as I was driving past. In one scan at least 60 Wheatears were present feeding close to the road! An obvious large arrival of the species. During my subsequent patch walk I saw many more leading to an eventual total of 105 Wheatear seen in the Corton parish. Additional birds were 5 on Corton clifftop, 15 on the field by Corton new sewage works and at least 25 feeding in the field behind Hopton railtrack. Interestingly the large concentrations appeared to be somewhat inland with for example only 5 seen on clifftop, I guess they had been filtering inland during the day. 2 Willow Warblers were nice as they showed well in a large sallow by Corton new sewage works pool, WW are quite scarce at Corton and the habitat preference shown above means that area is the best spot for them, none were along the railtrack for example. There has been an influx of WW into our area today too with Andrew noting 9 in the scores. A Lesser Whitethroat rattled away along Hopton railtrack bringing the lowestoft area yearlist onto a decent 160 having noted the Drake Garganey on Carlton marshes scrape a few days ago.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

April 21st

Up early and out to Fisher Row, Oulton. At least 5 Grasshopper Warblers were reeling, probably the most reliable site in East Anglia for them nowadays since the decline. Also 7 Willow Warblers, 5 Blackcaps and 2 Whitethroats. Habitat is key as Willow Warblers are common here but for example pretty rare at Corton. At nearby Carlton Marshes another Gropper was heard and a male Blue-headed Wagtail was seen among 5 or so Yellow Wags and a nice White Wagtail. A few Teal and Shoveler were on the scrape, which is still looking in ace condition and will produce something decent real soon, watch this space. A Cuckoo was calling here and again Willow Warblers were frequently heard. At Corton a Yellow Wagtail flew north over Radar lodge but no other migrants were noted. At Burgh Castle 2 Spotted Redshanks and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits on the south flats brought my Lowestoft yearlist onto 156.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

April 20th

Fine sunny day with little wind for a change. At Lound Lakes a fresh in Reed Warbler was singing by the hide and a Whitethroat and 6 Chiffchaff were present. At Burgh Castle a Whimbrel and 3 Blackcaps were noted. At Breydon south wall 2 Sandwich Tern, Willow Warbler and a Whimbrel were seen. Travelled back to Lound Lakes where the Boys had found a Pied Fly on my patch and it showed well in sallows by the main causeway, a female. A bonus male Ring Ouzel was also noted here feeding in the grassy field. No sign of Mergansers reported off Gorleston from the Corton benches but optics can only reach so far and there was haze. 5 Whitethroats were new in at Corton new sewage works. Patch ticks coming thick and fast at last, its turning into a decent April.

Friday, 19 April 2013

April 19th

Nightingale seen well around the eastern hedge in Corton churchyard in evening, often feeding on ground. My first for Corton and a very valuable patch challenge yeartick. A single Wheatear was present on the holiday camp and a Curlew flew over, the first on the patch this year. Patch challenge now onto 119 sp. Yesterday I saw my first Lowestoft area Red-rumped Swallow at Kessingland sewage works fishing Lake, showing very well at times, a wonderful bird. Lowestoft yearlist moves onto 146 sp, tho im sure im still a fair way behind our "secret" front runner.

Monday, 15 April 2013

April 14th evening update

This evening we witnessed the most amazing migration spectacle I have ever seen. I joined Robert Wilton and Robert Wincup at Corton church where they had just seen 3 Waxwings. In the surrounding poplars thousands of Redwing were amassing ready to make the journey back to the breeding grounds on the ssw breeze. They had been held up by weeks on steady north easterlies and had now concentrated and were ready to leave on the favourable conditions. The day had seen many huge flocks of Redwing in Lowestoft area many well inland eg 3000 in a field at Mutford. At Corton we stood in the field by the church and many thrushes were passing overhead from inland and heading high out to sea. At first mainly Blackbirds then followed massive numbers of Redwing. The ones in the church poplars took off climbed high and headed off out to sea. More flocks flew in from the west, often settling in the tall poplars before flying out to sea. Everywhere you looked in the sky distant high flying thrush flocks were heading out to sea. A close flock amazingly held a conservative estimate of 3000 birds (counted by 100s along the huge flock). Similar flocks were moving higher. Many locals arrived for the spectacle including Peter Ransome, Andrew Easton and Alison Allen. We picked up 2 Long eared Owls flying around us then out to sea on return migration. By the time we called it a day Redwings could still be hard calling above us in the near darkness. We concluded that a conservative estimate of 30 000 Redwings passed out to sea over Corton that evening..an unmissable experience. I believe these birds were concentrated experienced individuals taking their quickest route out to sea that they were familiar with. This may explain why the vast majority of the Blackbirds were adult males. Other local sites were also witnessing the movement eg many over Gorleston, Yarmouth, Hemsby and Reydon but not in the huge numbers concentrated at Corton.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

April 14th

Up early and out to Corton church. It soon became evident that a phenominal passage of Redwing was underway as stream upon stream of them were moving south over the sallows and off south over the church with many stopping to rest in fields also. The passage continued for at least an hour and I logged a conservative 2300 birds. An hour later when at the new sewage works a massive flock of 1200 Redwing flew over south west. In adition to these there were also masses of Redwing around Hopton railtrack and the stubble and hedges inland of it, at least 1000 more. Some of the birds at the railtrack here were singing. A wonderful spectacle and maybe never to be repeated in spring. Many Chaffinch and Siskin and some Fieldfares were also moving south over Corton church early morning. Whilst walking along Hopton railtrack I was stopped abruptly by a large shape in the gorse. Raising bins a pair of bright orange eyes stared back at me..Long-eared Owl. Backing up and notifying the locals..the bird was enjoyed for most of the day. Another Long eared Owl was noted by others at Corton railtrack, part of an influx into our coast today. Back out to Corton Cliffs 6 Sand Martins were new in and a number of Swallows were noted during the day. Peter had seen a female Ring Ouzel here but it had moved off north by the time I arrived. At the railtrack 1 or 2 Firecrests were seen. At Flycatcher Alley another Firecrest was noted along with a flyover Brambling. 2 female type Black Redstarts were showing at the net posts.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

April 13th

The wind is now in the south and stuff is starting to arrive. However the most prominent feature at Corton in the morning was again high numbers of Thrushes present including 50+ Redwing. I see that Gib Point noted 3000 Redwing SOUTH! today. However the day was brightened by a very smart Firecrest found at Corton railtrack and showing well to only a few feet. 3 Woodcocks were flushed from the undergrowth here and finally 4 Chiffchaff and 3 Swallow were noted. The area seems to have a resident pair of Common Buzzards now, probable breeders. Popped along to Kessingland Sluice to take a look at the resplendant fsp Black-necked Grebe on the river Hundred. Showed very well to the large gathering present for this scarce Lizardland bird. However some locals let their dogs swim in the water despite the birders present and this had the effect of spooking the Grebe to swim away upstream and out of sight. Too high a proportion of Dog walkers show NO consideration for other people. A corking male Redstart showed well just north of the sluice.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

April 10th

News broke of the White tailed Eagle having just flown north over Benacre around midday. I decided to try from Corton after deciding it was too late to get down to Kessingland and after its speed had fooled me at Breydon the previous week. While scanning I heard an unusual noise coming from a bird flying in from the south over my head, a soft whistling fluty yodel. I had suspicions as to what it was, confirmed when I got bins on it and it was clearly a Woodlark with short tail easily noted. My first for Corton and only my second in the Lizard area (after a singing bird at Ashby way back.) It continued on north steadily, still calling. They really do sound nothing like Skylarks and when calling are easily identifiable. No sign of the WTE tho but a new tweet saying it was still at Benacre had me racing to try my luck from the viewpoint overlooking Kessingland levels. No sign tho in a 3 hr search..this bird is really beggining to piss me off... Chiffchaff only bird of note at the sewage works. Yesterday a fine male Stonechat was present at Corton new sewage works, a handy patch yeartick bringing the total to date onto 110 sp 130 pts.

Monday, 8 April 2013

April 8th

The biting east wind is back. Up early again to check sites in Corton but again no evidence of summer arrivals, just winter visitors. A few Redwing, Siskin and Chaffinch were present but no Chiffchaffs were noted, they should be heard in scores around this time of year. Not a sniff of a wheatear either, I guess we need a south westerly to push these into our area, I never thought id see the day i prayed for south westerlies in the Lowestoft area... In the afternoon went back to Corton new sewage works whre an immature male Black Redstart was seen feeding on the grass on the westward side of the dome, at least keeping the patch list ticking over for the year.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

April 7th

Up at dawn at Corton in hope of migrants. A woodcock flew out of the roadside sallows at Corton as I drove past. At Corton railtrack a Chiffchaff and 10+ Redwing were noted. Then went to Kessingland where a Grey Wagtail was in full song at the filter beds and 3 Chiffchaff were noted along with 3 Barn Owls on the levels. Then went to Carlton Marshes scrape where the habitat looks very good now but little was on it bar Teal and a Curlew. A Red Kite flew west and a few Buzzards were noted. I then decided to scan the grain silo viewed from the coastguards to try to snare Peregrine on the patch. There was no sign from this viewpoint but the next few minutes were rather extraordinary. While scanning the sky for Peregrine 3 Raptors filled my view out over the town. They were clearly Buzzards but when one turned it showed a very distinct clear white large uppertail area even from a good distance. There was a thick black tail band. The bird appeared larger than the other 2 Buzzards and its back was a tone paler than the other two. As it flew south I like 99% of other birders would, called it as a Rough-leg and tweeted it out. Then a Red Kite soared into the same view and was put out. Then 2 more Red Kites came along and joined it. This was turning into quite a passge through central Lowestoft of all places. (we had assumed most raptors actually skirt the town)More Buzzards followed, 8 south in all. Many groups of Siskins passed overhead south calling. Had I found a new undiscovered viz mig hotspot?! 45 minutes later i received a text from Rob that they had just seen a Rough-leg lookalike Common Buzzard over the west of the town viewed from near Carlton marshes. I later quizzed him on it and he said they had had good views and it showed a white uppertail but in their opinion was structurally a Common Buzzard. In most likelyhood it was my bird and I dutifully withdrew my claim. Later I searched the net for images and could see no bird marked as Common resembling my bird, it was plumage wise spot on for RLB. But ill bow to the better views and judgement of my peers. They may not have seen the same bird but ill just have to let that one go. To console myself I then headed to Lound and indeed my mood was brightened by 3 patch ticks within an hours watch, Peregrine, Golden Plover and Yellowhammer. In the evening after a tip off I visited a flooded field at the other end of Carlton Marshes and saw a much prized Little-ringed Plover and 2 Ruff, neither of which I saw in the Lowestoft area last year.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

April 6th

Sunny day with a fairly gentle NNE wind after 2 months of srong North Easterlies caused raptors to move through the area. Standing on the southern perimeter of Corton new sewage works in the morning I had a nice clear sky view to the south and west. Common Buzzards were moving and at least 11 were noted from here going north. The hoped for Red Kite was noted when 2 majestic birds drifted north together from over Gunton then right over my head as they headed inland towards Lound. Indeed most of the Common Buzzards took a similar route and at times showed great over my head. Later on I joined my "secret" listing competition and watched from the Hobland road where an additional 8 Common Buzzards were noted moving. One member of this selective club shared that he got a massive rush of adrenaline when he set eyes on the Kites from there and now realised why some people are so mad into yearlisting for the buzz it gives even from semi common birds. Id been telling these guys that for years. So im resigned to not only being gazumped on Dec 31st by a secret "triangle" in North east Norfolk...but also by those closest to me. But all is not yet lost.....im hedging all my bets on an autumn finding spree to leave these newcomers face down in the dirt:) Rest of the day was spent scanning the sky for the White tailed Eagle. It probably went over me high and unoticed at Breydon south wall after i raced there having had the tip off from Winterton as it was seen at Burgh Castle 10 mins after I had arrived.

Friday, 5 April 2013

April 5th

Long-eared Owl seen in pines by Gunton football pitch viewed from along Corton road. Has been around since April 1st apparently as a resident presented some stunning photos. At least 8 weeks of north easterlies brought something....but still not a sniff of any summer migrants around. They have cleared out the central paths of both Corton and Gunton railtracks along you to walk freely along both. While this did get rid of some productive scrub, hopefully the easy access and viewing will make up for it. No positives concerned with the clearing of all trees and scrub around the Corton old sewage works tho, a real shame as it used to be very productive, but still looks decent enough for chats etc around the fence.

Friday, 29 March 2013

March 29th

Hooded Crow noted on warehouse roof by Hamilton Dock. Seemed pretty exhausted possibly having just come in off the sea. 2nd on patch in 2 years, having previously been very scarce in the area. Fine plumage with grey undertail coverts etc eliminating hybrid possibilities. No sign of any Grey Partridge again by the Hobland road near Lound. Female Goosander resting on the bank at Lound Lakes plus Kingfisher, 2 Barnacle Geese, 2 Egyptian Geese and 3 Shoveler.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Mar 27th

Yesterday a fine female Goosander was seen at Lound Lakes from the car park, the first I have seen on my new patch and a useful yeartick. This brought my specioes total onto a nice round 100. Today an attractive pair of Mandarins were present on the other end of the Lound Lakes complex, outside of the study area on a pool with wooded vegetation on all sides prompting realistic hopes they may breed....

Sunday, 24 March 2013

March 23rd

Again has been very quiet recently. Freezing easterlies have meant its still well and truly wintery and consequently no migrants are coming in. The easterly blast today resulted in a fine adult Little Gull being noted feeding just offshore at Ness Point, one of a reasonable showing here today with up to 10 being noted. Way to cold for me to linger tho...bring on the spring please...

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Feb 16th

Long time no see eh. Been hard at work no time for birding, that and theres been nothing about.... Today I visited Lound. I located a Bittern in reeds by the waterworks compound viewed from the hill, which was just outside my patch but nice to see for the Lowestoft area yearlist. I then entered my patch when I parked at the nearby Lound Lakes carpark. To my amazement another Bittern was standing out on the reed edge just out from the car park here, well and truly on the patch..get in! It continued to show remarkably well for a few hours. Amazingly there seems to be at least 4 Bitterns at Lound with 2 sparring together at the car park seen by Rob and Ricky and 2 seen by the waterworks. Also looking in the logbook in the hide at least one Bittern has been present since early Feb, tho news never came out. 2 Barnacle Geese here were most welcomed as a patch yeartick, as was a Little Owl finally seen in its formerly regular trees by the causeway. Thanks for the tip off Rob...I know how you love finding me patch ticks:. I noted 4 Common Buzzards soaring over while Ricky and Rob noted an outstanding 13 Buzzards during a more dedicated watch. Mistle Thrush was singing and Redpoll, Siskin and Fieldfare were also noted.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Jan 22nd

Ventured out into the snow scene again in morning. As I arrived at Corton benches a close grp of Wigeon flew south with 2 Tufted Duck types that I could only get bins on as they flew out of view. Not much moving today bar a group of about 30 Brent south and c.30 Red-throated Diver. 4 Song Thrush and a Redwing flew over. Yesterday 12 Skylark had flown south, a presumed hard weather movement. I looked on the rocks below the benches and pleasingly noted a Purple Sandpiper feeding with a small group of Turnstone, the first I have seen here but I guess they are regular just not checked for. Then parked at the church and walked to the old sewage works clifftop area. A bonus Grey Plover was mournfully calling as it circled the fields overhead. 20+ Lapwing were in the field and a Reed Bunting was by the old sewage works. A Common Snipe flushed out of the wet area and a Woodcock flushed out of the magic patch. Patch list on 91 sp 102 pts.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Jan 19th

Lound Lakes were mainly frozen but a samall area of water was present near the tree islands. A drake Pintail was unusual here and a Common Snipe flushed out from the bank, both weather related. My car then got stuck on the snowy verge by the car park. Fortunately a very helpful 4x4 driver helped tow me out after a great deal of effort. Yesterday apparently in a similar incident another car had to get a tractor out to remove his car when stuck. So I would advise anyone thinking of visiting not to drive down to the car park as its treacherous when the snow is there. In the late afternoon I saw the 1st winter Glaucous Gull on Oulton Broad, not on my patch but a nice Lizard land year tick. Last Sunday 5 Eider flew past Ness Point new for the year.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Jan 12th

Visited Lound waterworks to look for the 12 Waxwings reported yesterday. No joy but I did find a bonus White fronted Goose among the Greylag Goose flock. 3+ Redwing were also new for the year and Tufted Duck numbers had increased to 23 including the hybrid still. Offshore from Corton benches 2 Shelducks flew south along with 2 Shoveler new for the year. 12 Gannets and 20+ Kittiwake flew north and there were again good numbers of Cormorant and Red throated Diver. Patch list on 83 with 93 pts.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Jan 11th

Short seawatch again off Corton benches. Highlight was 3 Velvet Scoter close in going north. I then tracked them with the scope and they joined up with c.10 Common Scoter off Gorleston. Hopefully they will linger in the area. Lots of Cormorants and quite a few Red throated Divers were setled on the sea off Corton, quite possibly meaning the sprats are present there at the moment. 2 Brent Geese moved south, my first on the patch this year.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Jan 9th

Quick seawatch from the Corton benches produced a couple of patch yearticks in the form of 2 Great crested Grebe on sea and 2 Guillemot north. 30 Red throated Divers flew north along with one Gannet, c.20 Wigeon and c.40 Teal. 2 Kittiwake were lingering around a boat. My patch is overwhelmingly an autumn venue so I dont expect to compete well until autumn ends. It also relies heavily on birds passing offshore as I have no real wader habitat etc. I also miss marshland birds like Water Rail, Cettis warbler and Bearded Tit etc which Rob will get easily. However its the 12 pointers im after, and this site can be as good as any on mainland for those given the right conditions, the only chance I have of competing highly points wise.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Jan 7th

Stroll around Lound Lakes, the newly installed patch site produced a few ticks. Fieldfare, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush. 2 Common Buzzards scoped soaring over Ashby viewed from the causeway at Lound. Kingfisher seen darting across viewed from the causeway. A Hbrid Tufted Duck with grey back was noted among 15 Tufted Duck. c 50 Gadwall and 50+ Greylag Geese also noted. A Redpoll was by the feeding station by the causeway. Patch list moves onto 73 sp 80 pts.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Detailed patch map

After concern my previous map didnt quite include the Anglian Water lake at Gunton I decided to redo the map and get rid of the markers. I found I could actually squeeze in the productive part of Lound Waterworks also within the 3k, but dont hold your breath Lound never produces anything but does allow me to add the likes of Greylag Goose and Tufted Duck seen there the other day.

Jan 6th

Following a tip off from my main rival a fine Sanderling was noted in Hamilton Dock feeding on the sandy beach area. The Great Northern Diver was still showing incredibly well. Rob had also seen a Rock Pipit earlier so I hung around the dock for a while searching before deciding to walk the rocks north towards Ness point. To my delight the Rock Pipit was picked up on the seawall under the wind turbines. Then had a stroll through Corton Woods noting 2 Treecreepers, Coal Tit, 2 Chiffchaff, Siskin and 4 Goldcrest. Patch list now on 66 (73 pts)

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Jan 3rd

After yesterdays washout, back out on the patch in better weather. Started at Hopton railtrack where a Stock Dove was noted with a small group of Woodpigeon, a good start. Inland of here c.20 Pink footed Geese were noted flying south from the roost towards feeding areas and 2 Mute Swan north were unusual for here. The stubble field here held 70+ Skylark and 4 Red-legged Partridge, its a shame the main MoD field was ploughed tho as im sure the Laps would still have been present. A Sparrowhawk was the first of the year. Next stop was Corton railtrack where I noted 2 Bullfinch, Siskin, Redpoll and a bonus Woodcock which flushed out from my feet in the plantation. Still no thrushes other than Blackbird noted however. Offshore from Corton benches 5 Red-throated Diver, 2 Kittiwake, 4 Wigeon and 30+ Common Scoter were present, the latter in 2 small rafts off the Hopton end, remnants of a larger flock present there last year, all appearing to be females. To add colour to the blog I include below 3 photos of birds on my patch when I had a DSLR camera. Ill try to get digiscoped images of anything decent this year, or borrow images from others (thanks Andrew Easton for the OBP posted earlier)
61 sp 69 pts to date

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Jan 1st

Spent a lot of the morning somehow helping Rob Wilton to add species to his patch list and not mine (he did the driving...)3 seperate Peregrines were the highlight though I guess it contributed to my Lizard yearlist so I wasnt complaining that much, even when he convinced me the White fronted Goose DIDNT fly over mid river into Lizard land at Castle Marshes. Got to my patch around midday: Juvenile Great Northern Diver showing well in Hamilton Dock. There always seems to be a decent bird at this site each Jan 1st. Shag also noted here. Nearby at Ness Point 3 Purple Sandpipers were roosting on the rocks at high tide. Offshore numerous Red throated Divers passed north along with 2 Kittiwake and an adult Gannet. An adult Med Gull was noted at Links road car park. A Chiffchaff was noted in clifftop scrub here. A search of Corton wood produced the usual common stuff but not the half expected Firecrest ( a past regular wintering site )though a possible was seen briefly but I couldnt get bins on it. Gunton Park Lake produced a totally unexpected bonus patch yeartick in the form of a Kingfisher. Nearby I had my first look at Gunton Pool (small pool over the road from Tescos, mostly obscured) and was pleasantly surprised to find it was productive with 4 Little Grebe, 3 Wigeon, 4 plus Gadwall, 2 Grey Heron, Mute Swan and 2 Egyptian Geese over north. The Grebes were nice as I had assumed these would be very hard to get on this new patch. So Day one after a very casual search produced 46 species (53 points)