Sunday, 4 May 2014

May 4th

Back out to Carlton Marshes early morning after Corton drew another migrant blank, in hope of videoing the Egret and checking for raptors. The Great White Egret was still present and duly videoed nicely. People came and went and I stayed to scan for raptors, especially as a Black Kite had been seen flying south over Winterton earlier in the morning. I was with Peter Ransome but he left to get closer views of the Egret from the other side. Scanning over the distant area between Oulton and Somerleyton I picked up a large raptor with unusual jizz coming in from the north east distantly. Putting the scope on it it became clearly very interesting. It was flying with low set wings bowed downwards. As it turned to show its tail it was clearly a kite with gently forked tail. The tail was not particularly long and certainly not deeply forked and appeared brown not reddish. The wings appeared more compact and somewhat broader than Red Kite, the white under lower primaries were not really noticeable as i would have expected on Red Kite, this was surely a Black Kite. I looked in my phone for Peters number as i zoomed in to 60 mag, but as the phone was new i realised i didnt have his number. I raised my hands as I was watching it but he clearly wasnt watching me. The Kite was being mobbed by many corvids and was twisting around its tail in aerial manouvres, always keeping its wings low and somewhat bowed down. At times it went below tree level and i could make out pale greater covert bars slightly contrasting with th rest of the upperparts. It was getting more distant all the time as I watched it as it flew westwards towards the back of Burgh St Peter, maybe even in the direction of Haddiscoe and I finally lost it behind the tree line. I tweeted out the sighting after i had watched it for around 4 minutes in total. Then another raptor appeared right over my head, a stonking Red Kite, showing very long and very deeply forked tail and very obvious white under lower primaries, providing a wonderful comparison with the Black Kite fresh in my mind, the jizz and structure were really quite different, with the Black Kite being far more compact and less rakish. My first 6 pointer of the year, taking me onto 157 sp, 202 pts.

May 3rd

Out at dawn again. Not much doing at Corton, just 2 Curlew in the church field. Went to Carlton Marshes. On arrival at the scrape there was a pure white back of a bird asleep partly obscured among reeds, which I thought looked interesting maybe a spoonbill or something but I dismissed it as probably a Mute Swan as there were 20+ present nearby. For the next hour I waited at the watchpoint to see what may drop in. A couple of Cuckoos and a reeling Gropper noted. Then a large birding party appeared on the far side of the scrape having walked up from the organised dawn chorus walk, including Andrew Easton and James Wright. 10 mins later as I was scanning towards Oulton I received a phone call from james Wright...."can you see the Great White Egret..?". Raising bins to the scrape there it was out in the open in full view..a Great White Egret...which had clearly just walked out from its resting position. With no phone call I would surely have "found" it within seconds..I could hear much hilarity occurring from their side as we realised I had been denied 6 pts. A great bird tho and it remained on site all day showing well to many. Patch gold was noted in the form of 3 Avocets flying over the scrape and off eastwards, by no means annual and many havent seen one in Lowestoft before. A fine close Hobby rounded off the morning nicely.