Here is a brief report on my recent birding experience in the UK.
Public thanks are in order for information sent to me by Andrew Culshaw, Paul Hammerton, and Mark Welford. Gail Mackiernan's 1995 trip report (neatly archived on the Web by Urs Geiser) came in handy as well.
I was in the area of Ipswich (staying in Felixstowe) on a business trip for the week of 23 September. The only birding time I had during the week was the odd observation near the hotel or outside the windows of the meeting room. However, I did get in a brief afternoon walk on the day I arrived in the UK. Starting late in the afternoon on Friday, 27 Sept, I had the weekend and the following Monday. I spent two days birding and one day sampling more of the local cask conditioned ales (yum!).
NOTE: In the species lists below, I have tried to use the common names used in the UK. I have also given scientific names, followed by the common name (in parentheses) used in North America, when that name is different from the UK common name, e.g.,
Robin Erithacus rebecula (European Robin)
I arrived at Heathrow early in the morning and drove to Felixstowe. The wind was blowing hard from the south and west. I spent a little more than an hour in the mid-late afternoon at Landguard, near the Felixstowe container port. The combination of strong wind and my jet-lagged state made for limited sightings. I did not see any of the rarities listed on the board at the observatory (Ring Ouzel, Ortolan, Firecrest, among others).
Herring Gull Larus argentatus Rock Dove Columba livia Starling Sturnus vulgaris Robin Erithacus rebecula (European Robin) Blackbird Turdus merula Brambling Fringilla montifringilla Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
For the rest of the week ('til Friday afternoon), I only saw the following, while in transit from hotel to meetings to pubs and restaurants
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba Rook Corvus frugilegus Carrion Crow Corvus corone Woodpigeon Columba palumbus Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto (Eurasian Collared-Dove) Starling Sturnus vulgaris Rock Dove Columba livia House Sparrow Passer domesticus
We finished our work in the middle of the afternoon. A non-birder colleague and I headed for Trimley Marshes. He lives in Felixstowe, but was quite unaware of the richness of birding opportunities within 5 minutes drive from his home.... He may be a convert now.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus Goldfinch Cardeulis cardeulis (European Goldfinch) Rook Corvus frugilegus Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Greylag Goose Anser anser Coot Fulica atra (Eurasian Coot) Great Black-Backed Gull Larus marinus Cormorant Phalacocorax carbo (Great Cormorant) Wigeon Anas penelope (Eurasian Wigeon) Woodpigeon Columba palumbus Moorhen Gallinula chloropus (Common Moorhen) Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (Northern Wheatear) Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica Gadwall Anas strepera Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (Eurasian Kestrel) Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (Northern Lapwing) Pheasant Phasianus colchicus (Ring-necked Pheasant) Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto (Eurasian Collared-Dove)
My friend in Felixstowe had made some inquiries on my behalf and learned that there would be an early morning walk with a Warden. I made a reservation earlier in the week, in part hoping that an organized activity with some local birders would help me get organized and acquainted with all of the new species. It worked. The warden was quite helpful as were the other birders on the walk. I had chosen not to take my spotting scope to the UK (there is only so much stuff I feel like carrying, and this was a business trip, after all), so being on a walk like this with other folks who were willing to share their 'scopes was very nice.
Robin Erithacus rebecula (European Robin) Canda Goose Branta canadensis Teal Anas crecca (Green-winged Teal) Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Rook Corvus frugilegus Wigeon Anas penelope (Eurasian Wigeon) Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Magpie Pica pica (Black-billed Magpie) Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (Eurasian Kestrel) Mute Swan Cygnus olor Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus Stone Chat Saxicola torquata Cormorant Phalacocorax carbo (Great Cormorant) Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (Northern Lapwing) Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (Black-bellied Plover) Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Black Cap Sylvia atricapilla Swallow Hirundo rustica (Barn Swallow) Jay Garrulus glandarius Wren Troglodytes troglodytes (Winter Wren) Blue Tit Parus caeruleaus Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus Black-headed Gull Larus ribidundus (Common Black-headed Gull) Greylag Anser anser Great Black-Backed Gull Larus marinus Herring Gull Larus argentatus Coot Fulica atra (Eurasian Coot) Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Shoveler Anas clypeata (Northern Shoveler) Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Gadwall Anas strepera Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula Great Tit Parus major Coal Tit Parus ater Carrion Crow Corvus corone Pheasant Phasianus colchicus (Ring-necked Pheasant)
Hard wind with rain and drizzle. This was the perfect excuse to sleep late, then spend the afternoon around Southwold, making sure that the Adnams ales were everything I had heard about. I was not disappointed.
I had some residual business to attend to in the afternoon, so I decided to try Landguard again during the morning hours. It was much less windy than the week before, and I was more alert. The combination made for a good morning. After about two hours, I decided to go back to Trimley Marshes and to an adjacent area, Fagbury Cliffs.
Black-headed Gull Larus ribidundus (Common Black-headed Gull) Herring Gull Larus argentatus Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (Northern Wheatear) House Sparrow Passer domesticus Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Linnet Cardeulis cannabina Blackbird Turdus merula Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Carrion Crow Corvus corone Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (Eurasian Kestrel) Cormorant Phalacocorax carbo (Great Cormorant) House Martin Delichon urbica Dunnock Prunella modularis Robin Erithacus rebecula (European Robin) Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa Song Thrush Turdus philomelos Blue Tit Parus caeruleaus Woodpigeon Columba palumbus Rock Dove Columba livia Starling Sturnus vulgaris (European Starling)
Whitethroat Sylvia communis Goldfinch Cardeulis cardeulis (European Goldfinch) Stock Dove Columba oenas Carrion Crow Corvus corone Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Black-Headed Gull Larus ribidundus Cormorant Phalacocorax carbo (Great Cormorant) Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Magpie Pica pica (Black-billed Magpie) Great Black-Backed Gull Larus marinus Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (Northern Wheatear) Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto (Eurasian Collared-Dove) Woodpigeon Columba palumbus Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (Eurasian Kestrel) Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs House Sparrow Passer domesticus
That's it for this trip. It was an extremely pleasant experience. I would highly recommend East Anglia for birders who are visiting the UK. Between the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, there are ample preserves for birding. My next trip to that area will be for pleasure only, with the intention of adding the North Norfolk coast.
Mark E. Perkins Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org AT&T, Rm 3F-502 or: email@example.com 101 Crawfords Corner Road Tel: +1 908 949 5441 Holmdel, NJ 07733-3030 FAX: +1 908 949 1652
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