U3A Birdwatching Report 2018 – 19

THURSDAY 17th MAY MINSMERE RSPB

Six members made the made the trip to the Suffolk Coast. We were rewarded with a good range of birds, a Cuckoo called regularly during the day but the Hobby’s over the reedbed were the bird of the day. Other highlights included a booming Bittern and Bearded Tit from Island Mere Hide from the 62 species recorded.

FRIDAY 22ndJUNE HICKLING BROAD NWT

Ten members attended and were soon treated to good views of a crane flying in to its nest. A Hobby then flew in close hawking dragon flies. Given the strong north westerly wind the smaller birds were a struggle to find but we ended the day with a good selection of the commoner birds. As a bonus most of us embarked on a boat trip around the broad following lunch which boosted the species count past 50 for the day.  

TUESDAY 10th JULY FELBRIGG NT

Following the heatwave the morning was overcast and windy but despite everything we slowing found a respectable 36 species. The wooded area beside the lake provided most of the unusual birds with Spotted Flycatcher, Treecreeper and Goldcrest being the best finds.

WEDNESDAY 15th AUGUST SALTHOUSE/ KELLING QUAGS WALK

Being August the numbers attending was small but the hint of improving conditions spurred us on. With a brisk wind behind us the walk to Kelling was enjoyable but thin on birds, only finding 20 species. The inland route back was more productive, bringing the total of 36. Nothing of note found but a very pleasant two hour walk.

THURSDAY 20th SEPTEMBER HAPPISBURGH

Despite the dismal forecast, six members assembled for the morning walk. The plus side was that the gales were gone and the morning was still if a bit wet. The birds were difficult to find but a flurry of birds as we approached the coast gave a couple of Wheatear as well as flocks of Meadow Pipit and House Sparrow’s. The coast gave a good variety of gulls to check through prior to heading inland to find the garden species.

FRIDAY 12th OCTOBER BLICKLING NT

A warm but windy morning so we knew the small birds would prove difficult. The start was good with a Great Crested Grebe diving by the dam. Little was added as we followed the lake towards the hall, apart from a couple of Snipe that flew out from cover. At the top end we found a drake Mandarin Duck and a Kingfisher. Again nothing significant was seen until we stopped for refreshments at the car park when a Little Egret was feeding along a ditch. The morning finished with just 24 species and for some a pocket full of chestnuts!

WEDNESDAY 14th NOVEMBER TITCHWELL RSPB

We were greeted by a bright but windy Titchwell. As planned we headed towards the beach but soon heard a Cetti’s Warbler calling from a bramble patch. The freshwater pool was very low with little of note to see, this proved true for the brackish pool which is slowly turning to salt marsh. The beach was quiet but reasonable numbers of Great Crested Grebe were found if a little distant. The hides added a few more species leaving us in the mid-forties by lunch. Afterwards we took the short walk to Patsy’s Pool and back which boosted the count to 65 species.

 TUESDAY 11th DECEMBER STIFFKEY FEN

A good number of us met on this bright but cold morning. We set off hoping we may glimpse the Dusky Warbler which had been reported the previous day but despite it not being found the walk was to be very productive. The Fen held large quantities of wildfowl but a male Marsh Harrier was a bonus.  The harbour was the star attraction with a good range of waders, waterfowl and sea duck. Passerines were difficult but an obliging Rock Pipit help us to a total of 50 species.

 THURSDAY 17th JANUARY CLEY MARSHES

The weather was always going to be a factor with north westerly gales and wintery showers in the forecast. Despite that nine members attended and we headed for the central hides. There was plenty of duck and gulls to be seen but little else. Pair of Marsh Harriers ensured occasional chaos over the pools with hundreds of birds taking to the skies. We then split into two groups, some opting to stay close to the centre with the remainder doing the circuit of the reserve. The later group were rewarded with a flock of Snow Bunting and a Glaucous Gull on the beach along with large numbers of Shoveler and Pintail on North Scrape. In deteriorating weather Arnold’s Marsh gave up small numbers of waders and then it was heads down and a brisk walk back to the centre.

FRIDAY 15th FEBRUARY THORNHAM – HOLME WALK

The weather was spring like although the wind still had an edge to it. The immediate find were three Barn Owls perched out in the grazing marsh with a pair of Stonechat close to the sea wall. The Twite were located about half way to Holme, further on a brief view of a Bearded Tit was a real bonus. Holme boosted the wildfowl count but it was a Goldcrest that was an unexpected find. We ended the walk with 47 Species.

WEDNESDAY 20th MARCH BURNHAM NORTON

The perfect start to spring, blue skies and a warm breeze made for a great walk. One of the earlier find was a Chiffchaff after which we spent some time trying to negotiate around floods and deep mud but all survived!! The walk was dominated by wildfowl and waders but four raptors were good. The bird of the walk was a Great Egret feeding out on the saltmarsh. Garden type birds were sparse as the habitat was not suitable for most but we finished the walk with a respectable 47 species.

TUESDAY 23rd APRIL PIGNEY’S WOOD NWT

A grey overcast morning gradually improved into a perfect day for the walk. Over a dozen species were found before we left the car park, the best of these was a very vocal Blackcap and an early Swallow. We headed towards the Dilham Canal with little seen until we reached the reedbed when we found Sedge & Reed Warbler. The canal only added a group of swans. Heading back into the reserve a Buzzard overhead and a Moorhen moved us towards the thirty species but it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker that rounded off the walk as we sat overlooking the valley prior to the short walk back to the cars.