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Saturday, 23 July 2011

Lakenheath/Hockwold Fen.

                                                       Returning at dusk.
                                                       Bearded Tit.
                                                             Reed Warbler.
                                                            Marsh Harrier.
                                                      A photographers delight.
                                                       A bonus flypast.

F15 Eagle.
Stone Curlew.
A few days off work found me heading down the A1 and across country to the Suffolk/Norfolk border.On previous visits I`d gone down in early May,however I was confident that June would be just as rewarding.Lakenheath and a quick visit east to Minsmere were to be my initial destinations,with an odd early morning sortie round the local heaths!Golden Oriole are synonomous with the area and these were often heard amongst the poplar plantations on the reserve.Cuckoos were regularly seen patrolling, as hundreds of pairs of Reed and Sedge warblers breed amongst the dense reedbeds,they are of course perfect hosts for this parasitic migrant.

Marsh Harriers had bred successfully and numbers were on the increase again,proving that with good management and suitable habitat these fantastic birds will thrive.I watched them skimming the tops of the reedbeds on the lookout for small birds and Coot chicks which they seemed to favour.The weather was kind with blue skys which added to the enjoyment of being on the reserve.Many a time a deafening roar would be heard as the American F15 Eagle fighter jet would take off from the runway close by,maybe on their way to Libya on a mission.They are awesome beasts when seen at close range and the power they possess is frightening to say the least.

Also seen were Bearded Tits clinging to the reed stalks,their evocative ping ping call never to far away.There was so much going on, at times you didn`t know where to point the camera !Two pairs of Barn Owls were resident and both were feeding youngsters.Sightings were guaranteed of the birds,with dusk being my favourite time,most people had left by then and I had the place to myself as the sun went down!

Not too far away is another reserve, managed by the Suffolk wildlife trust and  noted for Kingfisher sightings.I set myself up in a hide and within half an hour was rewarded with great views of an adult bird diving into the shallow water emerging with sticklebacks to take back to their young.Perches had been strategically placed in front of the hide and the Kingfisher would regularly use them, allowing great photo opportunities!

On the way back to my campsite, I checked the local heathland for Stone Curlew and discovered up to 5 birds present in one particular area.Access to the heaths are prohibited till Nov, to give these rare birds space and encouragement to breed.It seems to work well, as again I believe numbers are up on last year.
I really enjoy visiting the Breks of Suffolk and wish I had more time to spend there with the camera.I`ll certainly return for my annual fix next year and hope to share with you again, some more magical moments of what it has to offer.Hope you enjoy this years account and images!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

More of the Leos!!

 Just a few more of my local long eared owls that I have been watching.They really are a delight to watch quartering the rough pasture.I have spent hours observing these fantastic birds on my local moorlands and never tire of them,absolutely superb creatures.
They give superb views hunting the roadside verges,sometimes only feet away from passing motorists.I fear for the young ones when they fledge the nest as fatalities will surely occur!


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Portugal concluded

Azure Winged Magpie
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

Kentish Plover

Rather distant Blue Rock Thrush

Spanish Iris were quite common.

Pallid Swift.

So to conclude my stay on the Algarve,I`ve posted a few images of a few of the other species that I encountered whilst out and about.Having rented a car for the week, I made full use of it travelling down to the southern most tip, Sagres.Here were Black Redstart/Blue Rockthrush,four species of Swift, including a rare Little Swift all to be observed.Further inland, away from the coast, the habitat changed to scrub and vast area of meadow were Spectacled Warblers/Tawny Pipit/Short Toed Lark/Thekla Lark, a few more pairs of Little Bustard and Iberian Yellow Wagtails were encountered.Melodious Warbler/Rock Bunting and a Hobby were to be found along a track which led to a raptor viewpoint.There really were large areas of different habitat that I came across, all offering something different!Bee orchids and Spanish Iris were seen, with many plants to difficult for me to identify.I really must brush up on plant species, but its not easy and very time consuming.With that I`ll end my account of Portugal and look forward to returning maybe in Autumn when migration will be at its peak and hopefully more images can be obtained of this wonderful place!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Size comparison with Kestrel.

Stunnin birds.

Stunning plummage.

Roller investigates a nest box.

Little Bustard.
Still in the region of the Alentejo,Simon took me to a set of old ruins were a colony of Lesser Kestrels had taken residence.Lots of nest boxes had been put up to encourage the Kestrels to breed.Amongst the many Kestrels were a couple of pair of European Roller,now this bird was high on my wish list to see never mind photograph!The Rollers were also evident around the nest boxes, for they were also known to use the boxes to breed.They had even been known to oust the Kestrels from the nestboxes and take over it,successfully rearing chicks.What amazed me were the size of the Rollers,they seemed to dwarf the much smaller Kestrel.The colours of the plummage was something else.I obtained a few shots of them going about their daily business which I hope you enjoy plus on the road away from the colony,I was fortunate to get good views of a Little Bustard calling, surrounded by the stunning fauna that abounds here...