9th: Breydon Water South Wall from A11

Male Hen Harrier sighted around midday. Flew north over Breydon Water, a Marsh Harrier had followed the same route earlier. Also recorded 2 Spotted Redshanks, Snipe over marshes and a Grey Wagtail.

17th Hardley Flood

As we exited the car in Chedgrave a flock of around 100 Fieldfares flew purposely west. I wondered if they were visible migrants. Other flocks of Fieldfare and Redwings flew over. In fact they were almost certainly visible migrants, a north westerly was providing ideal conditions. At home in Bradwell from 4.30pm to 5.30pm several flocks of these winter thrushes flew inland almost certainly direct from the North Sea.

At the start of our walk from Chedgrave alongside the River Chet our first sighting was a Marsh Harrier. Then at the east end of the first open area a Kestrel and Sparrowhawk had a sparring match.

The Marsh Harrier

Nearer the Flood Mute Swans performed a flypast

A Little Gull flew daintily over the flood

Wrens have proved a difficult species for me to photograph, but this individual seemed to be enjoying the sunshine and posed for a while.

Pheasant photographed in a bungalow garden in Chedgrave!

We found lots of Mallard seeking an easy living in the riverside car park at Loddon

18th Wheatacre Marshes

Opposite the start of the permissive footpath over Wheatacre Marshes there was a gull rest area, see photo below:

A Chinese Water deer walking towards us on the path took off across a field as we approached. see photo below.


19th: Harpers Lane, Bradwell:
Not having seen a Barn Owl for some time, I decided on a late trip down our lane. Near the marshes a calling Green Woodpecker flew over. Further on to the north east just a brief sighting of a Male Hen Harrier. I headed for the highest point on what is a low path and was rewarded by being able to watch the Hen Harrier from approx 5.45 to 5.55pm before it disappeared west into growing darkness. On my way back A Heron flew into an adjacent field and a Barn Owl flew past it and over the lane!
21st: Burgh Castle: Decided on a late trip to Burgh Castle west of Harpers Lane to see if I could pick up the Hen Harrier, perhaps enroute to a roost. No sign of the Harrier unfortunately but from a vantage point on the south west corner of the castle site I watched at least three Barn Owls hunting various area of marsh. Now 6.15pm and pretty dark, three large bird silhouettes flew past in a north easterly direction. I heard them call at least once among the other bird sounds. Three Cranes!
I immediately thought back to a report of three Cranes on the Suffolk Birding with Bins website (see links page). Three flying over the Oulton Broad/Carlton Marshes are on the 17th. This area is south east of Burgh Castle. So two questions are they feeding  on the Waveney Marshes (see 24th) and where are they roosting? Were they heading for Berney Marshes or perhaps further north to the well known Stubbs Mill roost. Must have been very dark for their arrival. Did anyone see three Cranes coming into roost from the south?

Above one of the Barn Owls hunting Burgh Castle Marshes
22nd Minsmere RSPB Reserve
At least two Green Woodpeckers were feeding on the grassy field to the right when approaching Island Mere Hide. Two photos below.

Rare bird of the day was a Great White Egret on Island Mere, it was at a distance and with poor light, see  photo below.


Above a much better photograph of an adult Great White Egret with what is these days a fairly common Little Egret for comparison.
Photo above taken in Crete by and Nikos Samaritakis

Could not resist taking some photos at the bird feeders near the information centre. Above a Chaffinch holds off a Goldfinch.

We unexpectedly met near neighbours Alan and Georgi and they kindly sent us the Red Deer Stag photos below

Photo by and A&G

Photo by and A&G

24th: Wheatacre Marshes

A rather tame Pheasant, in splendid plumage where we parked our car.

Some way along the path over Wheatacre Marshes three Cranes flew in from a south easterly direction at 3.50pm.

They had a Marsh Harrier above. See photo above.

They landed just a couple of fields away. They were probably feeding on wheat grain and grubs. Wheat being the predominant crop in this area, as a friendly tractor driver told us. Cranes feed on roots, grain and insect larvae, also acorns apparently.


Three Cranes fly off to north east

We kept an eye on them as we continued along the path, after approx half an hour they flew then landed to the  north east. On the newly ploughed fields a couple of Grey Herons and Pied Wagtails were looking for easy pickings, at least any left by the gulls which followed the plough!
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