Sunday, 19 January 2014

A ROUGH-LEGGED AND TWO OWL TALE.

SATURDAY 18/01/14 NORFOLK/SUFFOLK BORDER

Having a call from a friend on Friday night, plans were soon put into place and a trip to the Norfolk/Suffolk border was on the cards. Target birds were going to be Rough-legged Buzzard, Glossy Ibis, Long-tailed Duck and Purple Sandpiper.

7am and I was being picked up, the smiling faces of Mike Illet and Bill Last were awaiting me. The journey began by heading to Waveney Forest and the 'Mound'. The mound being the viewing platform for the performing Rough-Legged Buzzards. The "Mound" wasn't quite what I was expecting and didn't give any more height than standing on the average chair.

Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine falcon were soon picked up by Bill, he also clocked a bevy of Bearded Tits flying across the reeds in front of us. (Actually, I'm sure bevy is not the correct word, but I kind of like it). A bird was located on one of the distant posts and it looked so pale, surely a Rough leg?. After much watching and deliberation we came to the conclusion that this bird was indeed the very pale Buzzard that's been frequenting the area.

After a further 30 mins of waiting Mike Illet had picked up a bird that he was adamant was interesting. Watching and waiting it finally took to the air, his interest was justified as the views revealed a beautiful Rough-legged Buzzard. The views were fairly distant but at what we and most would class as decent. Eventually both birds were seen so we made our move to the next destination.

Next destination was Oulton Broad for the Glossy Ibis that's been present for some time. A brisk walk down to the viewing platform and there the bird was. Glossy Ibis now being a regular British bird. Will be good to see what occurs with the sightings and breeding of these birds over the next 15 years, sure they may become common place. Only managed an iPhone/Scoped photo as the weather was poor and the bird was distant.

Next stop a whistle stop tour of Ness Point for Purple Sandpiper. I had seen Purple Sandpiper at Brixham when I was there for the White-billed Diver (details and photos in previous blog) but always a joy to see. Then on to Covehithe Broad to see the Long-tailed Duck. Seeing the bird right in front of us I frantically got the scope ready for a pic and the second my iPhone was in the adaptor and pushed onto the scope the duck was off and flew to the most distant part of the lake.

SUNDAY 19/01/14 ELMLEY.

Thought that Elmley may well produce some Owl's. The place is great, has lots of birds and of course a long walk too. The walk is always worth it but in my experience, not always the best for photographic opportunity due to the massive expanse the birds have. This adventure, however, did prove me wrong.

Great views of many birds but the highlights indeed being the Owls. Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl were just fantastic to see. It never matters how many times you see Owls, everytime takes your breath away. The evening sun tonight was just adding to the ambiance.
The Short-eared Owl was seen along the track where the area opens up on the right as you walk down towards the hides. They have been scarcer this year than in many others due to the warmer winter we have experienced.

Another great little bird to catch up was Stonechat. Three individuals, two male's and a female. Again the Stonechat photo is distant with iPhone and scope.

A great end to a great day. Below are a few more owl photos for those that are never bored by the beauty that is.......