Saturday, April 5, 2014

Searching for a Rough-legged Buzzard 22/23. 3. 2014.

Necessarily I had to deal with some paperwork and other matters on the 21st March and so got no birdwatching done.  I did use the time to research details of where a Rough-legged Buzzard was occurring at Waveney Forest with the intention of looking for the bird later. Matthew finally identified a Web site  ( Danny's digiscoping) where detailed directions were given to a vantage point that I don't think would have been found so easily without the precise instructions!!

The Saturday morning saw me duly exploring back lanes and finding my way through the woodland to a wide vista lookout over Haddiscoe Marshes. It was somewhat hazy and cold too , so the vigil wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been. Marsh Harriers there were aplenty, odd Buzzards and Kestrel too, but of the Rough-legged Buzzard no sign.  I eventually left after a pleasant chat with a local birder about places and personalities we had some mutual acquaintance with. After exploring other possible vantage points around Burgh Castle ,and for what was left of the day, I then tried finding a suitable seawatching spot, but not without difficulty given developments of one kind or another. I eventually found a large car park not too far north of the Port Ness area and quite close to the Travelodge. Odd Mediterranean Gulls put in an appearance, odd Gannets moved north and a Grey Plover flew south ......and that was it. Not exactly a prolific afternoon, in fact a bit of a wasted day all round.

Sunday arrived and I was out very early, mainly given my inherent dread of Lowestoft's traffic system and with the objective of finding my way to Port Ness. A single Turnstone duly appeared , but no Purple Sandpipers, and a discrete examination of the industrial complex showed no migrant Black Redstarts to be in evidence. The sea was also very short on bird activity.........surely not another desperate day?

So I found my way again to Waveney Forest and commenced yet another long vigil, but in slightly warmer conditions and with less haze this time.  Staring out across an expanse of marsh providing not a lot of bird activity is sapping to the resolve to say the least. Scanning and examining every fence post yet again, but with no luck, begins to generate negative vibes, particularly on a second day of effort and so I eventually decided to abandon the quest. Not long after I set off on my return journey to the car the piercing call of Common Buzzard rang out and there, immediately above me were two circling birds which, almost immediately were joined by the Rough-legged Buzzard.  Bright sunlight, blue sky, perfect conditions and ever circling birds.....who could have asked for more. It was good to be able to compare both species and to get prolonged views. As so often occurs the activity cycle suddenly subsided and the birds disappeared, but not before two Sparrowhawks had also joined the circling throng, although at a higher level. And then there was nothing and neither could I locate the birds. My lucky break had come to an end , but left a very satisfying feeling too.  With no other plans decided on I went across to the Horsey area and did some general birding, the majority constituents of which were Marsh Harriers, which are everywhere!!  Certainly not volume, but a real quality day.  
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