Groundworks in the garden & Cranes calling......
4 Linnets were new from the garden (22nd) as they flew over calling and the first two House Martins of the year were seen over the immediate area.
A Nomad bee species landed all too briefly in the garden and a Buffish Mining Bee was excavating a nest burrow in the sandy soil of the prepared herb garden. A female Buffish Mining Bee was then seen visiting the white flowers of Allium triquetrum aka Three Cornered Leek amongst other names (which I have inherited in the garden) but all parts of the plant are said to be edible. A female Anthophora plumipes made a couple of fleeting visits to the garden and a Dark-edged Bee-fly also.
Finally, at approximately 19.30 Cranes were heard calling from somewhere to the south. Not a complete surprise (although a very welcome record) and hopefully they will visibly pass over this way in the very near future.
Buffish Mining Bee
Blue & Buff at BC......
The first Holly Blue was seen at Marina Park, Burgh Castle (25th), where Buffish Mining Bees were found entering nest holes excavated in the fine soil between paving slabs.
Both males and females of Anthophora plumipes were visiting blue flowers in the garden border and a small female hoverfly Platycheirus albimanus was also seen.
Common Frog in the recently created garden pond Platycheirus albimanus Buffish Mining Bee
The case of the American visitor & the personal space invaders!
A day in Suffolk with Jason Nichols (26th) produced a good selection of summer migrants, beginning with a Nightingale singing opposite the approach road turn-off for Minsmere.
A Woodlark was heard along the approach road and although no Stone Curlews, Rabbits, as usual were good to observe.
At Dunwich Heath a look from the cliff top car park found several Sand Martins going backwards and forwards along and over the cliffs, but a nice surprise here was a male Ring Ouzel that emerged from the Gorse bushes, but not a photogenic individual!
Another Nightingale was heard singing at Westleton Common, along with Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff, but no evidence of any Turtle Doves, seen here in 2017. Not too much in the way of insect life here, but a small Andrena bee species and what appears to be a Robberfly await identification, whilst both Buff-tailed and Red-tailed Bumblebees were seen and the first Small White of the year.
Heading back along the A12 towards Lowestoft, a Red Kite was seen and the first Orange-tip (male) of the year, not far away from a patch of Hedge Garlic on the roadside verge.
An American Bittern had been present at Carlton Marshes for a considerable amount of time (at least all of April, although the first sighting remains unclear and exactly when it arrived will never be known for certain!) and today was to be the day I looked for this visitor from ‘across the pond’.
What followed was a long wait near its supposed ‘favourite dyke! However, Chinese Water Deer and Brown Hares turned most of the time spent into ‘mammal watch’ and avian highlights included: Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, several Swallows, 4 Marsh Harrier (2 adult males), Common Buzzard, 4 Avocet, a Snipe sp. and a very yellow male Yellow Wagtail.
Approximately after four and a half hours of scrutinising reeds and constant watering of the eyes in the very cold wind, as they say in the ‘good book’, it came to pass that the American Bittern was seen in flight, in the distance over ‘the willow’! The ambiguous description and location of the said willow, was not the willow I picked to look at, but it was the one Jason chose!
Deciding to leave the crowd behind and try and get a clear view of the area it was said to have landed in meant walking up to the raised bank where the large field consisting of rushes could be seen.
Reed Warbler and a distant singing Cuckoo were good to hear, whilst a Wheatear was at the edge of the field and once again, Brown Hare and several Chinese Water Deer were present.
Apart from Jason and me, only two other people were on the bank; someone looking mainly for insects and Mick Davies. The area was scrutinised for quite a while, including looking along what could be seen of the dykes, before Mick said he could see it along one of the dykes.
This very well camouflaged heron; perhaps even better at remaining hidden than the Bitterns usually seen in the UK took me sometime to locate, despite very precise guidance by both Mick and Jason who could see it! Even when found through the binoculars finding it again through the camera and lens was even more difficult. However, the bittern was watched as it hunted from the edge of the dyke, in a very similar fashion to ‘our’ bittern, where it was successful at capturing small prey items, although nothing it caught could be determined.
Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end and the bittern-watching quartet very quickly became a crowd, with individuals wielding large lenses (almost Freudian-like) and because of which thought they had the right to muscle their way in to other people’s positions (including my own) who had used some field craft to find the bird themselves instead of adopting a ‘herd mentality’! Obviously, they do not understand that if you encroach into another animal’s personal space, regardless of species, they unsurprisingly and quite rightly get very annoyed!!
For anyone reading this who thinks they have the divine right to see a species and that people will stand aside for them, think again! Not everyone is a shy retiring bird-watcher!