Potteric Carr

Since the weather forecast was for a nice day, I decided on a visit down to Potteric Carr for some Dragonfly action, I was getting very little out at the ponds, so I headed south after work.

I arrived about 12 noon and entered the reserve and walked down the mother drain road, finding a few Common Blue Damselfly on my journey around to the loversall bank ponds. I was also finding a few Large Red Damselfly as well and quite a lot of Azure Damselfly. There was very little around the ponds and no Chasers especially, then I remembered the new ponds closer to the visitor centre, I hadn’t been to Potteric for a few years.

It was at these ponds that I found lots of Four Spotted Chasers, a few Emperor Dragonflies with one egg laying female, but none of my favourite Broad Bodied Chasers. I flushed up a Painted Lady Butterfly then I noticed a different Dragonfly on the path, turned out to be a female Black tailed Skimmer, a nice ending to a few hours at Potteric Carr.

A few bird highlights whilst I was there were Little Egret, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Garden Warbler, one I didn’t see was a Purple Heron, which was reported as a one day, however the bird was seen again the day after.

However why I had come over to Potteric Carr was mainly to see the breeding Black-winged Stilts, the news when I saw hadn’t been broken. As of 27th June the whole family seems to be doing well, with 4 chicks, the first breeding of these birds in Yorkshire. Video can be seen by pressing THIS

Bird List : Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Coot, Gadwall, Gret Heron, Lapwing, Little Egret, Magpie, Mallard, Robin, Shoveler, Woodpigeon

Butterfly List : large White, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood

Dragonfly List : Black tailed Skimmer, Blue tailed Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Emperor, Four Spotted Chaser, Large Red Damselfly

Black tailed Skimmer (Female)

Conwy RSPB

A place I hadn’t been to for a large number of years, we were on holiday in the area so I decided on spending a few hours here. It was a warm day but despite this I didn’t come across any Butterfly species on my visit today, quite a good list on the sightings board including Clouded Yellow. Blackcaps and Whitethroats were in good voice along with a few Cetti’s Warblers. I managed good views of Sedge Warblers but alas not Reed Warblers as they continued to sing out of sight low in the reeds. A friendly Robin came near as did a Dunnock. As I made my way around the site and visited various hides I picked up on a few species from here namely Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Herring, Black headed and Lesser Black backed Gulls, Canada and Greylag Geese.

I managed to pick up the “Rattle” call of the Lesser Whitethroat and managed brief glimpses of the bird in the nearby bush, I then made my way down to the estuary were I found Grey Heron, Shelduck, Little Egret and House Martins collecting mud from the exposed mud flats.

Back on site a few more species were seen Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, a pair of Bullfinch, Buzzard, House Sparrows

Note an eventful day with little species seen all-round, lack of insects was disappointing

Bird List at Conwy : Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Coot, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Lesser Whitethroat, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Robin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Starling, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Wren

For a full list of Holiday Sightings press THIS

Reed Bunting

A Pond Visit

A long overdue visit to the local ponds, hoping for a few larger Dragonflies. Birds noted on arrival were Blackcap, Bullfinch, Swifts, Swallow, Willow Warblers, Whitethroat, and Woodpigeon. There was also a few butterflies on the wing Large White, Orange tip and Small Heath.

However with lots of looking I couldn’t find any Dragonflies on the wing, I found this to be a bit of a surprise especially with good numbers of 4 Spotted Chasers now being seen around the country. I did find a few Damselflies species, Azure Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly were out in good numbers and I also found a single male Common Blue Damselfly.

Small Heath Butterfly
Common Blue Damselfly

Lesser Yellowlegs

News of a Lesser Yellowlegs down at Old Moor reserve had me popping out for the evening to get a look at my 3rd for the UK and a 2nd for Yorkshire. On-route I picked a friend up and headed off to Old Moor and then straight down to the Wath Ings hide, where we immediately picked up on the bird in question. Noticeably smaller the the nearby Redshanks but with a slender neck, longer legs, a fine and virtually straight bill, virtually now a regular vagrant to the UK shores, breeds in N.America.

Phone video grab picture below, video here press THIS

Lesser Yellowlegs

Other birds noted were Great Crested Grebe, Black headed Gulls, Little Egret, PIed Wagtail, Swift, Shelduck. On our way out of the reserve a Sparrowhawk took us by surprise as it flew from one of the hedges we were passing.

Bird List : Black headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Coot, Cormorant, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Lesser Yellowlegs, Little Egret, Mallard, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Redshank, Shelduck, Sparrowhawk, Swift, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon

Rutland Water

Homeward bound after spending three days in the Norfolk and Suffolk area and still the sun was shining. Stopped off at the Lyndon side , paid my permit picked up on Large Red Damselfly at the centre and moved off towards the Wader Scrape Hide.

The most common bird on the walk down to the hide was the Whitethroat along with Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Near the hide I found a Garden Warbler which eventually gave its self up and gave good views, also a Treecreeper in the same area.

From the hide the Ospreys could be clearly seen, better with a scope, the Male was nearby with the female on the nest. Also from the hide were, Mallards, Tufted Duck, Mute Swans, great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, and Black headed Gulls.

That was the end of a few days tour of Norfolk/Suffolk areas, fingers crossed that I can do similar next year.

Bird List : Blackcap, Black headed Gull, canada Goose, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Cormorant, Dunnock, Garden Warbler, Great Crested Grebe, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Mallard, Mute Swan, Osprey, Pheasant, Robin, Sedge warbler, treecreeper, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Wren

Total tallies for the tour were 114 Bird Species, 11 Species of Butterfly and only 4 Species of Dragonfly/Damselfly and a total of 70,637 steps

For a full list of species Press THIS

Tufted Ducks ♀♂

Norfolk, Suffolk Tour Day 3

I was out to RSPB Minsmere today, an hour and a halves journey from the Bed and Breakfast I was stopping in at Thetford, arriving at approximately 9:30am.

Sand Martins were the first birds noted as there is a sand Bank nesting site for them close to the car park which gives rather good views of the birds. After getting my bearings I headed off towards the beach, stopping first at the Stone Curlew sight, no matter how I tried I couldn’t conjure one up, but a Wheatear was nice to see. I then made my way down to East hide and stopped off for a while enjoying the birds from here , picking out Redshank, Avocet, Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Black tailed Godwit and Common Sandpiper, other birds included Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, and plenty of Black headed Gull. Wildfowl included a very nice male Pintail along with Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

Moving on then and down onto the back and to the Public viewing platform at the South Scrape, loved this area. Here I saw more waders Turnstone, Sunderland, Dunlin, and Oystercatcher. Calls went up for a couple of high flying Bitterns, Common Cranes and three Glossy Ibis dropped down on to the West Scrape. Back on South Scrape Litte Tern was picked out amongst its cousins Common and Sandwich Terns, there were also again plenty of Black headed Gull and amongst them a pair of Mediterranean Gulls.

After all that excitement I decided to go on up to Dunwich Heath, I had dinner on the beach first and enjoyed the great weather we were having this week. Moving on, I nearly trod on an Adder as it quickly made its way across the path, theres a scrubby area of bushes on the path to the heath, Great for birds like Blackcap, Whitethroat and Sedge Warblers.  Up on the heath I could here Cuckoo and Green Woodpecker, saw Linnet and Stonechats, but these weren’t the target. I remember watching a wildlife program that stated if you find a Stonechat there will be a Dartford Warbler nearby, low and behold after a couple of minutes up popped a couple of Dartford Warblers, after more searching futher along I found a couple more Dartfords after finding Stonechat first.

Back down at Minsmere I tried for Stone Curlew again and again wasn’t successful, only finding Crows. On my walk back to the visitor centre I stopped off at the dipping pond and here I caught up with Blue tailed, Large Red and Variable Damselflies, this time in seeing Variable, after failing a number of years back, I managed to get a few photos.

My next port of call was the Bittern hide, which was rammed when I got there but did manage to see a fly past Hobby and Marsh Harrier. I moved on quickly and headed to the Island Mere hide, which was quiet, Cormorant was seen from here and Bittern briefly, which I missed, more Marsh Harrier and Hobbies over the wood , Reed Bunting in the reeds along with an out of place Great Tit.

Very little else of note on the way back up Whin Hill towards the car park however a singing Nightingale was evident at the entrance to the car park, which brought back memories of long ago when I first visited Minsmere back in 1986, may it not be long before I’m back, a fantastic day seeing 79 species in all, but sadly the ending to a fantastic few days birding, heading back home tomorrow with a brief visit on route at Rutland Water.

Bird List : Avocet, Barnacle Goose, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti’s warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Common Gull, Common sandpiper, Common Tern, Coot, Cormorant, Crane, Cuckoo, Dartford warbler, Dunlin, Dunnock, Gadwall, Glossy Ibis, Goldfinch, Great Black backed Gull, Great crested Grebe, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Greenshank, Grey Heron, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Hobby, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Kittiwake, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Linnet, Little Tern, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Mediterranean Gull, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Nightingale, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pintail,Pochard, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Sand Martin, Sanderling, Sandwich Tern, sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Spotted Redshank, Stock dove, Stonechat, Swallow, Swift, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Wigeon, Woodpigeon, Wren (79)

Dragonfly List : Blue tailed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Variable Damselfly (3)

Variable Damselfly
Greenshank
Adder

Norfolk, Suffolk Tour Day 2

Today I would be out at Titchwell RSPB reserve up on the North Norfolk Coast, about an hours drive from the Bed and Breakfast in Thetford.

After my full breakfast I arrived at Titchwell at about 8:30am, with Blackcaps, Robins, Wrens, Dunnock, Chiffchaff and Blackbirds all calling around the car park area.

The visitor centre wasn’t open at this time (9am it opens), so I made my way around the centre and down on to the path that leads down to the sea. I was soon hearing Reed and Sedge Warblers calling from the reedbeds, a bit windy today so they were staying low, Wall butterflies were along the embankment, never seen so many of these before. Black headed, Herring and Lesser black Backed Gulls overhead, I could clearly hear Avocets, Oystercatchers and Redshanks before I even saw them out on the exposed mud, there seemed to be Avocets everywhere.

I carried on down the path towards the sea, on the left of the on the Saltmarsh area I could see, Greylag Geese, Brent Geese, Little Egret, and then a Spoonbill landed close before flying off again, not long enough to get on camera. I took my time getting down to the beach, as you can freely look over the freshwater marsh, plenty of birds about.

Down at the beach I found Oystercatchers, Turnstones and a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, I walked back and settled in to the Parrinder hide, scoping over the marsh I picked out Turnstones, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Shelduck, and Teal. Walking back to the visitor centre Red Kite, soared overhead. I decided on lunch seeing Woodpigeon and Collard Doves around the feeders, before I ventured back out and around the Fen areas.

Out after lunch and the Fen area where hopefully I could pick up on some Dragonflies/Damselflies, i did struggle to find some, eventually finding a single Hairy Dragonfly and a Four spotted Chaser along with a few Large Red, Azure, and Blue-tailed Damselflies. A Cuckoo was calling but never found, Whitethroats seemed to be singing from every bush along with Blackcaps and Cetti’s Warblers, a couple of Marsh Harriers floated over the reeds and overhead were Swifts, Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins. I stayed in this area a while taking photos of the Damselflies mainly before moving back on to the reserve. I stopped at a seat overlooking the freshwater marsh area and took photos of the Avocets and Black tailed Godwits, when a guy stopped and asked the usual question ” seen anything”, “nothing out of the ordinary” was the reply, there’s a Little Gull over there to your right, sure enough there was, I had been concentrating on taking photos and hadn’t seen it, a nice addition to the day.

I made another walk down to the beach seeing Curlew, and a group of four Little Terns, on the tidal marsh, which was now nicely filling up. A slow walk back I picked up the Spoonbill again on one of the pools on the saltmarsh and to finish the day a Great White Egret on the reedbed pool.

A fantastic day at Titchwell, I love coming here.

Bird List : Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Black tailed Godwit, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti’s Warbler, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Collard Dove, Common Sandpiper, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunlin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Black backed GUll, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Martin, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Gull, Little Tern, Magpie, Marsh Harrier, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Red Kite, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Sand Martin, Sandwich Tern, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Spoonbill, Starling, Stock Dove, Swift, Teal, Tufted Duck, Turnstone, Whitethroat, Woodpigeon, Wren (60)

Butterfly List : Green veined White, Large White, Orange tip, Peacock, Small White, Wall (6)

Dragonfly List : Azure Damselfly, Blue tailed Damselfly, Four Spotted Chaser, Hairy Dragonfly (4)

Wall Butterfly
Azure Damselfly
Black tailed Godwit
Little Gull

Norfolk, Suffolk Tour Day 1

Four days away taking in sites in both counties, with a couple out of the region whilst travelling. So I started at a local site for me, Langsett Res, mainly for Redstart and Flycatchers. Arrived on site at 6am being greeted by Blackbirds, Blackcaps and Chaffinch. At the flycatcher site I only managed Redstart, one singing male. On the dam wall were two Common Sandpipers, in the same area were Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Oystercatchers, and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers.

Bird List ; Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Crow, Chiffchaff, Common Sandpipers, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Oystercatcher, Redstart, Robin, Siskin, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren (27)

Down then into Lincolnshire and to a new site, Willow Tree Fen, hopefully for Cranes, and on arrival at 10am I found it closed. I parked up close by decided to have breakfast and view from the closed gates, no Cranes were seen. Highlights were Buzzard, Cuckoo, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, and Skylark.

Bird List : Black headed Gull, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Cuckoo, Goldfinch, Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Little Egret, Mallard, Marsh Harrier, Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Rook, Shoveler, Skylark, Woodpigeon. (18)

On then to Weeting Heath, arriving here at 12:30pm and being direct tothe East Hide for the target species here, Stone Curlew, easily found this time, they can be difficult at times. Other highlights here were Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Wheatear. No Woodlark or Tree Pipit

Butterfly highlights here were Brimstone, Orange tip, Red Admiral, and Speckled Wood

Bird List : Blackcap, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Robin, Rook, Stock Dove, Wheatear, Whitethroat (12)

On then to Lakenheath Fen, main target here were a few Dragonflies but I found none. Out onto the reserve for walk. On one of the pools I found a single Dunlin and a Grey Plover, along with a few Swifts and House Martins overhead. News of Cranes at the bottom end of the reserve had me walking off in that direction, on arrival I got the news that they had flown off even further down the reserve and out of sight, so I watched the Common Terns for a while and it wasn’t long before I heard the Cranes, a couple of minutes later two Common Cranes were in the air. long necks, trailing legs, with grey-black filght pattern on the upper body. When they had gone thru I managed to pick up a few Hobbies in flight, hunting the reedbed nearby with one coming in close to where I was stood. I stopped till about 5:30pm picking up on Cuckoo, Cettis Warbler, Reed Warbler, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Stonechat.

Bird List : Avocet, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Canada Goose, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Tern, Cormorant, Crane, Cuckoo, Dunlin, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Plover, Greylag Goose, Hobby, House Martin, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Little Egret, Long tailed Tit, Magpie, Marsh Harrier, Mute Swan, Redshank, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Stonechat, Swift, Tufted Duck, Whitethroat (32)

I then booked into my Bed and Breakfast for my stay at Acer Lodge in the Thetford Area. I spent three nights here and would definitely be back. The breakfast was great and a good choice also. Rooms were clean, shower was fantastic, large TV so you could actually see it, wonderful views out the back, and large garden with bird feeders (regular Great Spotted Woodpeckers on these), and great/friendly hosts. After checking I used one of the local pubs for a meal then moved onto a local heath nature reserve called East Wretham Heath in the vain hope of Owls and Nightjar. No Nightjars were heard or seen and a Barn Owl was seen on exit of the reserve at 9:30pm. Other highlights whilst I was on the heath were Egyptian Goose, Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Mandarin Duck and Little Grebe, all new for the day.

Bird List : Barn Owl, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coot, Cuckoo, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Jackdaw, Lapwing, Lesser Black backed Gull, Little Grebe, Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Rook, Shoveler, Stock Dove, Swallow, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Wren

Song Thrush

Langsett Res Area

My first port of call was onto the Broadstones Res Heath, which was on my way to Langsett. In the short space of time I was here managed to see Stonechat, Meadow Pipits and a Common Whitethroat.

On then to Langsett Res, parking in the barns car park. Plenty of action in the car park with numerous Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Collard Doves, Woodpigeons and Blackcaps

Venturing down to the dam wall, Pied Wagtails, Oystercatchers and three Common Sandpipers were seen and in one of the nearby trees a single Treecreeper. I came back up to the car park and wondered along the pathway until I could find a place to over look the reservoir and the nearby moor. Greylag Geese, Great crested Grebe and Black headed Gulls were on the water. Looking out over the moors I manged to pick up a Common Buzzard which had settled in a tree, a Cuckoo was calling and I also managed to find a Red Grouse and Curlew. Behind me a Great Spotted Woodpecker was contact calling and a Coal Tit was seen.

I headed back towards the car park but decided looking over a nearby ploughed field, here I saw Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Pied Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and the surprise of the night a pair of Little Ringed Plovers.

Venturing further a field, friend had joined me at this point, Goldfinch, Linnet, Siskin, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbers but no Pied Flycatchers or Redstarts.

Bird List :- Blackbird, Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Collard Dove, Common Sandpiper, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Lapwing, Linnet, Little Ringed Plover, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Red Grouse, Robin, Siskin, Skylark, Song Thrush, Starling, Stock Dove, Stonechat, Treecreeper, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren. (44)

Pugneys Country Park

Time out at Pugneys Black headed and Herring Gulls were sitting out on the jetty’s , having a look thru them I picked up five Common Terns, new for the year a nice start. Out on the water were Coot, Mute Swan, Lesser Black backed Gulls, I could hear Blackcaps close by in the nearby bushes.

Walked around then to the hide where I picked up Blue Tit, Wren, Chiffchaff, and more Blackcaps. From the hide Cormorants, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Oystercatchers, Great Crested Grebes

Bird List :- Blackcap, Black headed Gull, Blue Tit, |Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff, Common Tern, Coot, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Herring Gull, Lesser Black backed Gull, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Shoveler, Stock Dove, Tufted Duck, Wren

Common Tern