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31st October 2018 – Eastville Park

I had a few jobs to do this morning and nearly didn’t go for a walk but, as it was such a beautiful autumn morning, I decided to do a quick lap of Eastville Park.  I was so glad I did as I had magnificent views of a male kingfisher throughout the park. The trees also looked wonderful and so I took far too many photos and unfortunately not all the jobs got done.

My walk:

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Oh yes I nearly forgot – the kingfisher.

DSC03802This is what most of us generally see of the kingfisher

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Click below for a gallery of some of the photos I took this morning:

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29th October 2018 – Severn Estuary

It was a bitterly cold morning at New Passage on the Severn Estuary and even though the sun broke through it remained cold. However, testing my constitution and my stoicism I spent a happy morning watching the waders on Northwick Warth. I did walk along to see what was on the Pilning Wetlands but I was looking in to the light (the sun hadn’t really broken through by then) and didn’t see much.

DSCF3819Regular birders spotting from New Passage probably didn’t even feel the cold

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DSCF4068This Brent goose caused most excitement amongst the savants

There were huge flocks of wigeon and sizeable numbers of curlew, oystercatchers, dunlin, redshank and Canada geese. The regular birders were very excited by a Brent Goose (the first there this year) and some Whooper Swans which flew over.

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DSCF3759Large numbers of curlew and oystercatchers

DSCF3788Redshank

I was pleased to get some close ups of wigeon in flight which I doubt would have impressed the local birders.

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DSCF3986Plenty of Canada geese 

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DSCF3870Wigeon (whistling) everywhere

DSCF4223Oystercatchers

DSCF4156Dunlin

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DSCF4386Wigeon in flight

And if everything seems rather far away there are always house sparrows to photograph.

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Click below for gallery of photos from this morning:

 

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23rd October 2018 – Eastville Park

Following a walk in Stoke Park we dropped down to come home via Eastville Park.

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DSCF2740Stoke Park

With the benefit of the keen eyes of our young companions we spotted a kingfisher. As this was a non-birding walk (i.e. I didn’t have a long lens with me) I tied to capture its beauty with the wide angle that I had with me.

 

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It’s always a soul lifting moment to see this beautiful creature.

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19th October 2018 – Walberswick

Not really a birding day today: we had a trip to Southwold and then a walk down to the pub for lunch and back along the River Blythe. Sorry about all the boats but I’m sure the river comes under the category of “nature”.

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DSC03374We haven’t seen many redshank this week

DSC03388My close up photos always make little egrets look quite large

DSC03387The gull gives it some perspective

DSC03424As it does with the gull and the turnstone

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DSC03434The ferry is very busy with the closure of the foot bridge further along

DSC03381A visiting ship through the sand dunes on Walberswick beach

DSC03459Male house sparrow

DSC03460Female house sparrow

DSC03464Male house sparrow

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DSC03517Starlings scarpering

DSC03529Bath time

DSC03559Meadow pipit

DSC03551Maybe the same redshank

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DSC03573Honeysuckle and blackberries

IMG_2698These flowers are very popular in local gardens

Click below for gallery of today’s photos:

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18th October 2018 – RSPB Minsmere and Westleton Heath

It was another beautiful autumn day in Suffolk today but slightly fresher in the morning than previous days and certainly a much cooler wind in the afternoon.

We made another trip to RSPB Minsmere and the day started well with a beautiful pheasant in full sunlight in the fields and a muntjac deer in the dark shade of the woods.

MT1D7577A common sight in the countryside of East Anglia at this time of the year

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MT1D7586Muntjac deer

We walked out to the Island Mere in the hope of seeing larger birds and were rewarded with good displays of marsh harriers, great white egrets, grey herons and just one bittern; but all a bit too far away to satisfy me as a photographer.

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MT1D7821Marsh harriers

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MT1D7808Great white egrets

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We then visited the North bushes and woodlands in the hope of seeing some smaller birds but saw absolutely nothing. Perhaps the earlier ringing activity had frightened them all away.

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MT1D7852Not much bird life but plenty to please the eye

IMG_2665.jpgThe woods at RSPB Minsmere

Before coming home we went back to Westleton Heath and saw a stone curlew, a stonechat and some distant red deer.

IMG_2666Westleton Heath

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DSC03363-EditThe very secretive stone curlew

DSC03355Red deer which attract lots of visitors to Westleton Heath to see the stags rutting at this time of the year.

 

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17th October 2018 – Walberswick

Another beautiful morning and we just had time (before entertaining friends) to have a brief walk around the village of Walberswick and the nearby marshes on the Suffolk coast. There wasn’t much in the way of bird life to report but I would like to record how this favourite destination of ours has got even better with the construction of a new bird hide just a few hundred yards from where we stay.

The hide has been mainly conceived and provided by local resident Pat Lancaster in memory of her husband Tony who passed away recently. The hide is a superb facility which looks north over the marshes from the village of Walberswick towards the river Blyth and beyond towards Southwold. This week we have visited the hide on a couple of occasions and the main attraction has been large flocks of Canada and Brent geese but Pat Lancaster has already recorded over 90 species from the hide.

DSC02939.jpgThe new bird hide taken (from the ferry to Southwold) earlier in the week

MT1D7536.jpgView westwards from the hide

MT1D7537View from the hide towards the River Blythe with Southwold in the background

IMG_2645.jpgThe hide is comfortable, bright and well equipped.

IMG_2646Definitely a bucolic scene from the hide today

FP5A1169Large flocks of geese (seen earlier this week) are regular visitors.

Our walk this morning took us along the sand dunes behind Walberswick beach and then through the marshes.

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MT1D7551Looking back towards Southwold

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The only bird life we saw were three mute swans which took off from the river which runs through the marshes towards Dunwich, although we did hear bearded tits.

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16th October 2018 – Westleton Heath and RSPB Minsmere

It’s been an amazing day in Suffolk today; not so much for the birds but for the wonderful weather which has been hot (well into the 20s) and sunny all day. In fact it has been quite hard work traipsing around with heavy camera equipment. Not that I am complaining as we were treated to the sight of some very secretive birds –  stone curlews.

We had looked for them on Westleton Heath on Sunday in dismal conditions but had had no success. We returned again this morning and found that we had been looking in totally the wrong place. This time we could see at least seven. However, it was very difficult to get decent photos as we were looking directly in to the sun.

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MT1D7416Stone curlews in to the sun

We then went on to RSPB Minsmere where we had probably the least productive time in all of our numerous visits to this great reserve. The only real success was seeing 2 bearded tits (no photos), the first winter ferruginous duck and a quick glimpse of a stonechat.

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MT1D7457The ferruginous duck when it wasn’t diving

MT1D7466A rear view of a stonechat

MT1D7467The stonechat makes its exit

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MT1D7479Brent geese chased by cormorants

MT1D7480Brent geese

MT1D7488Shelduck

MT1D7460Wigeon

MT1D7465Grey heron

On our way home we decided to return to Westleton Heath for the stone curlews as the sun would have moved around. Full of anticipation we arrived in perfect conditions only to find that the stone curlews now wished to camouflage themselves as well they can. Who said birding was easy anyway?

MT1D7525Our view of the stone curlews in the afternoon sun!

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Click below for gallery of today’s photos:

 

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14th October 2018 – RSPB Minsmere

 

It was good to be back at RSPB Minsmere. The forecast for today was not at all promising but we managed dry weather until mid afternoon and it was surprisingly warm with very little wind (very different from the stormy weather as we left the West Country the day before) and although generally dull there were a few patchy bright spells.

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We only managed to do the tour out along the North Wall to the East Scrape and then on to the Sluice and back via the South Hide. The bitterns and marsh harriers will have to wait for another day!

There was less bird life than we are used to here but certainly enough to keep us entertained.

Some of the birds we saw (in the order we saw them):

FP5A0944Female pheasant

FP5A0952Lapwing

FP5A0966Green sandpiper

FP5A0982Teal

FP5A1024Avocet

FP5A1026Shelduck

FP5A1027Wigeon

FP5A1033Black-tailed godwit

FP5A1039Mallards in flight

FP5A1066First winter Mediterranean Gull (which have been breeding at Minsmere)

FP5A1076Robin establishing its territory

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FP5A1094Brent geese

FP5A1110Stonechat

FP5A1111Blue tit in flight and a Dartford warbler in the bush

FP5A1121Blue tit

FP5A1126I nearly missed this stonechat in flight

FP5A1140Ferruginous duck (a first for me)

FP5A1142Ferruginous duck

FP5A1136Konic ponies

Click below for gallery of my photos from today: