Tuesday, 4 May 2021

April summary.

April started with the 2 Slavonian Grebes (now almost in summer plumage) still on Ormesby Broad and the Great White Egret still at Ormesby Little Broad plus my first Swallows, Sand Martins and Blackcaps. On 7th I noted my first House Martin while on the 11th there were 37 Goldeneye in a single flock on Ormesby Little Broad and the Long-tailed Duck still on Filby Broad.

Highlight of the month occurred on 14th when a 'coffee' coloured Gull flew over Breydon Bridge.  I knew instantly that it was either a Glaucous or Iceland Gull and was worried that it might move off before I'd achieved managed to identify it!  Luckily, it settled on the mud at the mouth of the Bure and I was able to confirm the id as an Iceland Gull based on it's structure, rounded head, and a mostly dark bill.  I was able to take a stroll along the footpath beside ASDA from where quite reasonable views were obtained although as I was at work I didn't have my camera with me.  

On 17th my first Sandwich Tern of the year flew over Breydon Bridge while on the 20th a visit to Martham Broad and Horsey produced my first Large Red Damselfly of the year and also my first Sedge Warblers.


An aggressive Greylag Goose at Strumpshaw.

 On 23rd I had an enjoyable visit to Strumpshaw with the highlight being 2 pairs of Gargeney from tower hide although they spent much of the time asleep out of view.  Other species new for the year included Hobby, Common Tern and Grasshopper & Reed Warblers as well as some nice Orange Tip Butterflies.  I then moved on to Cantley marshes hoping to see a Grey Phalarope but the pool the bird was said to be on was only viewable distantly and a severe heat haze made viewing almost impossible.

Finally, my first Whitethroat was at Winterton on 26th and my first Swift over Rollesby Broad on 29th.                                                                                                  


Saturday, 3 April 2021

March Summary.

 With the covid-19 lockdown rules still applying, for most of the month I restricted my birding to the Trinity Broads.  Arriving at Ormesby Broad on the 3rd I was pleased to discover that the wintering Slavonain Grebe had been joined by another but both were distant.  Meanwhile, the Long-tailed Duck had moved to Rollesby Broad.  The 2 Grebes were still present on 15th and a fine male Scaup was on Rollesby Broad.  My attempts to turn it in to a Lesser Scaup were predictably a failure!

A Great White Egret at Ormesby Little Broad on 18th was my first for the site while on the 27th the Egret was still present, the Long-tailed Duck was back on Ormesby Little Broad, my first Chiffchaff was heard and the 2 Grebes still on Ormesby Broad.

With a White-tailed Eagle having been about I visited Horsey on 29th.  Time spent along the Nelson Head track produced nothing of note so I returned to the pull-in near the bend on the Horsey straight.  After a few minutes another birder picked up the Eagle in flight.  Views were distant and no plumage details visible but it was being mobbed by a Marsh Harrier which was tiny in comparison!  It gained height and drifted away so although far from good views still an enjoyable experience!

Finally, on a warm day I visited Winterton north dunes on the 30th.  I was hoping to see the Iceland Gull which had wintered but the warm weather had brought crowds of people walking along the beach so no surprise I didn't find it.  My first Wheatear of the year was nice and a singe Brent Goose flew north.  

No decent photo's to include this month!  

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

January & February 2021 summary.

 After the distant Smew at Filby on January 1st a coronavirus lockdown was announced which put the stop on any birding trips.  However, I did have the good fortune to find a nice Slavonian Grebe from Breydon Bridge on January 23rd.  It only stayed for a few minutes and has since spent almost all of it's time about 2 miles up the estuary near to the pumphouse so this was a rather fortunate find.

Not so fortunate was a brief flight view of a first-winter 'white-winged' Gull which flew over Breydon  Bridge towards the lumps late afternoon on February 12th.  It wasn't identifiable as either Glaucous or Iceland on the poor views obtained but I felt it may have been large enough to be the former although with size being difficult to judge on a lone bird this was one which will have to remain unidentified.

Towards the end of the month I began to venture out again and made several visits to the Trinity Broads with highlights being the long staying Slavonian Grebe still on Ormesby Broad and the long staying Long-tailed Duck still on Ormesby Little Broad. Rollesby Broad provided some new birds with a fine pair of Goosander on 19th and 2+ redhead Smew on the 26th.  Warm weather on 27th produced my first Butterflies with a Brimstone at Ormesby Little Broad and a Peacock outside my house.

I had little chance to take any photo's during this period although a Common Gull at Ormesby Little Broad was the sole highlight. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

A distant Smew to start the new year.

 To start my new years birding on January 2nd I decided to have a gentle wander around the Trinity Broads.  First stop was Filby where I bumped into Chris Small in the carpark who told me he had seen a very distant female Smew from the fishing platform.  My first attempt was unsuccessful so I wandered down to Ormesby Little Broad, picking up a few common year-ticks but nothing of real note.  I returned to Filby and this time located the Smew but right at the back of the broad so only very poor views!

Moving on to Ormesby Broad I failed to locate the Slavonain Grebe or much else of note.

Next day I returned to Ormesby Broad for another attempt at seeing the Slavonian Grebe in 2021 but again found little of note.  In December I made 5 visits and saw the Grebe each time so rather disappointing that in 2 visits in the new year I failed to connect.  

Friday, 18 December 2020

Long-tailed Duck and Slavonian Grebe still on the Trinity Broads.

On Dec 17th an early afternoon wander around the Trinity Broads revealed that the long-staying Long-tailed Duck had now moved to Filby Broad but views were quite distant.  The Slavonian Grebe at Rollesby Broad was again in it's favoured area and, as always, also rather distant.  A Scaup was present on Rollesby Broad but by the time I arrived the sun was low in the sky rendering the Ducks as mere silhouette and I was unable to pick it out. 

2 Iceland Gulls again & a not so close Red-necked Grebe.


A pleasant morning at Winterton north beach on December 15th saw both Iceland Gulls still present but neither were close enough for decent photographs.  A number of Grey Seals had left the beach and ventured into the dunes including several pups with the Seal wardens on duty trying to ensure people didn't venture too close.  One large bull Seal on the beach had clearly been defending his territory and had many scars to prove it!  

News of a Red-necked Grebe showing close to the staithe at Malthouse Broad tempted me to head there early afternoon hoping for the chance of some nice photographs.  Unfortunately when I arrived the bird was about as distant as it possibly could be!  Even through my 'scope the views were poor and it was only just possible to make out the dark neck and pale yellow bill.  Hope that some boats on the broad would push the bird closer proved unfounded and when it moved up a channel out of view that was my signal to leave.  Red-necked Grebe is not a common bird locally and always nice to see (even distantly!) but the views obtained were not what I had hoped for.  A tame Pink-footed Goose feeding on the staithe with Greylag Geese proved to be the only bird I managed to photograph.

Great White Egret and some nice Geese.

 First stop on December 14th was near Acle where I pulled off the road to look at a Barn Owl box in a field.  There was no sign of the Owl but a quick glance at an Egret on the opposite side of the road revealed it to have the orange bill of a Great White Egret.  I still like seeing Great White Egrets which is probably because when I started birding this was an extreme rarity!  I remember my first Great White Egret at Minsmere was a major twitch!  How times change.

Next stop was Ranworth Broad where I located a Redhead Goosander and a brief Otter which dived under the water and vanished!  Final stop was Buckenham where c90 White-fronted Geese allowed reasonable close views while c40 Pink-feet were mostly seen in flight.  As always, the Wigeon were close to the main track and allowed very good views including the nice female pictured.