January 2010
Having seen a report of Rough-legged Buzzard, Peregrine, 2 Hen Harriers and 2 Short-eared Owls on The Suffolk Birding with Bins website (see links page) for the 3rd of January, I decide to view the area from St Olaves high bridge next day.
4th: Arrived at bridge around 2.30pm left about 4pm. No sign of Buzzard, (although it had been seen in the morning) but 2 Short-eared Owls sparring, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Barn Owl and 2 Chinese Water Deer made for a interesting visit, bonus was a Woodcock flying over the road on drive home.
5th: Decided a walk across the marshes from St Olaves, towards where the Buzzard had been seen previously, would be today's project. On the way out several Marsh Harriers, a large flock of Pink-footed Geese and Bearded Reedlings heard from the Reedbeds were the highlights. Then 2 Short-eared Owls flew up from a nearby, sheltered bank, then another 3 of the birds flew up from that area. Fortunately, they only flew across the field to settle on the other side, with a couple  later hunting the area, see photos below:


A Barn Owl was seen on the return journey.

7th: A walk to Burgh Castle today. There was a single Redwing down Harpers Lane, and a flock of around 200 Curlew in the first marsh field. Some seen in the photo below:


Not wishing to disturb the flock in the harsh weather conditions, I curtailed my usual walk to the end of the lane, retraced my steps and took the footpath west towards Burgh Castle.
A Sparrowhawk flew past as I walked along the footpath. Further on I took a right turn across the marshes towards Breydon Water South Wall, past another flock of Curlew, and surprisingly to me, several Song Thrushes together with a few, more to be expected, meadow pipits. On Breydon Water were small flocks of Mallard, large flocks of widgeon on the far shore and the odd Cormorant. Two families of Mute Swans were also in the area, see photo of one family below. Three Black-tailed Godwit flew past. At the end of the wall I turned right along the lower Burgh Castle footpath with the reedbed on my right. Possibly because of the weather, a flock of perhaps thirty Bearded Reedlings were feeding right on the sheltered edge of the reedbed, see photos below. They did not seem to mind my close presence even when the snow crunched when moving nearer in the snow. However, I was able to watch an interesting behaviour. They were feeding on the reedhead seeds, but when they spotted a bird flying nearby they dropped in unison to the base of the reeds. Presumably a precaution in case the bird was a  Sparrowhawk or Marsh Harrier which would no doubt like to pluck them from the reed tops. Up on the castle grounds, which have great views across the marshes, I spotted several Marsh Harriers. Fieldfares could be heard in the nearby bushes, on top of which sat a Jay. Highlight on walk home was a Barn Owl near Harpers Lane.

View looking north from Breydon South Wall

The family of mute swans, including 5 juveniles

Male - Bearded Reedlings



Female -  Bearded Reedlings

Some of the flock

10th: Another trip hoping to see the Rough-legged Buzzard was unsuccessful. However, it was quite an adventure in snow squalls, trying to keep glasses and bins from steaming up etc. Walked from St Olaves along Haddiscoe Island Bank to just past second mill. A Song Thrush was near where I parked car and several Marsh Harriers were sighted, together with at least 2 Chinese Water Deer and a distant hunting Short-eared Owl. A single Redwing flew past and a Woodcock flew out of Waveney Forest, landed on the Marshes, then promptly flew back again. I managed a very poor photo see below:

View across the Island

Very poor photo, but illustrates greater bulk of Woodcock compared with Snipe

14th: 12-2pm. Walk down Harper's Lane. Some good sightings today in light rain so photography difficult, but 2 Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Kingfisher (great to see one, as this species really suffers in harsh weather) at least 2 Woodcock flying and almost bumping into a Muntjac deer were highlights. (Woodcock are usually nocturnal but harsh weather has forced them in try to find food in daylight hours).

After nearly bumping into the Muntjac it ran around a bend then started grazing, as it kept its distance, before disappearing through the hedge. Note snow mainly gone in our area.

Not the kingfisher mentioned above but one I photographed in Crete

17th: Hickling Reserve and Stubbs Mill viewpoint

New Grazers

One of the Redwings

The 3 Cranes

The Male Hen Harrier

The Male Hen Harrier

Some of the Marsh Harriers sun bathing!

18th: Walk from St Olaves

Some of the c.30 Fieldfare


The Female Hen Harrier



Probably the same female Hen Harrier as photographed on the 18th


Distance views of flying Rough-legged Buzzard

Part of the large Pinkfeet flock with the R. L. Buzzard sitting on fence
just below and to left of mill on right of photo.



Probably the same female Kestrel as above

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