Saturday, 31 October 2009

teacher's week

Not in the Scillies, that will have to wait. For what I'm not sure.
One or Two bits to report, so I'll lump it under one entry to save hassle.
Happisburgh on Thursday was very quiet. Very little of note aside from a tame Egyptian Goose cavorting with the Mallards by the road through the village. The clifftop walk and Doggetts Lane revealed a sickly Chaffinch, a single Gannet out at sea and some kids burning an old caravan down by the rocks.
Pushed onto Waxham, deciding to bash through a but of cover behind the Church. The noise of Blackbirds going nuts got the pulse racing, so I slid down the seawall into the cover to see the back end of an Owl retreating, which I originally thought to be Tawny. The Blackbirds helped me relocate the bird and I was 'treated' to similar views- damn! However, I did notice a very pale underwing and after a chat with T.A who was in the area, it was agreed that it was most likely a Long eared Owl. One of my favourite species, and I have come across a few in recent years but never good views!
Finished at Horsey with a red sun-set and Geese; wonderful stuff. A silohuetted Falcon catching insects in the near dark was probably a young kestrel, but I have since considered Red-Footed, although this would be a very late record. The behaviour and time of day just seemed odd for a Kestrel.
Met a friend at Holkham yesterday and we walked through the pinewoods. Tit flocks were vocal and Jays were very forthcoming. At the end of the trail, with a view towards Burnham, I picked up a Peregrine Falcon on the ground, having a drink from a puddle! Great views, and presumably the same bird was seen in flight over the bay later on that morning. Marsh Harrier and Kestrel also seen well.
I tried for the Shotesham Siberian Chiffy on the way home, after an hours wait I had seen a blue tit, lots of thrushes and a lady getting her washing in. I decided it was best to admit defeat for now. Nice area and some accommodating locals, many thanks to the finder and the residents. I will try again before I go back to work, if time allows.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Minsmere and Thorpeness 26/10/09

Great White Egret seen from the overspill carpark, been present sometime. Presumably the same bird seen again later in the vicinity of Bittern hide. Huge birds in flight, unmistakeable and no doubt only a matter of time until a pair breeds here.
The new feeders around the ponds proved a good spot to observe Marsh and Coal Tit. Bearded Tits pinged and for once showed themselves as we walked to the beach. The sea was quiet and suprisingly calm, nothing doing except for load of gulls following a fishing boat too far out to ID. The east scrape held 3 Blackwit, a Turnstone, 1 White Wagtail, 1 Spotted Redshank but were dominated by the return of many Teal and Wigeon. a few skeins of Barnacle geese flew through, in their number was a snow/feral goose; white body, brown wings. Anyone see this bird? A leucistic Moorhen on the scrape has been causing some fuss, some are reporting it as a Little Crake apparently!
Although the sluice bushes were quiet, still felt the day could deliver so we searched the old caravan site at Thorpeness. Shedloads of Robins, LT Tits and Blackbirds. Mother did have a small Warbler with a wing bar, poor views but could well have been a YBW or even a Pallas's? The one that got away.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

17th October, North Norfolk Coast et al

*Stop press* Friday afternoon I finished a meeting at Broadland high earlier than expected, so searched in vain for the Horsey Pied Wheatear. Despite a pill box full of everything but a Wheatear, it was not a wasted trip. A Pomarine Skua flew inland over my head, amazing views. Fields in the area were full of Golden Plover, Turnstone mingled with the new arrivals. A Bonxie flew inland at Sea Palling in X-treme conditions. It stank of rare.

Saturday itself, and I decided to pump the phone with RBA credits. began at Pretty corner woods in Sheringham in search of a Red Breasted Flycatcher. No luck, a real bogey bird for me. Did enjoy 2 Firecrest and and Bullfinch.
West Runton, and for the second time this year a Short Toed Lark. Definite views in flight, and to be honest I was convinced I had the bird on the fence, but taking into account afterthought and views of fellow blogger James (sorry, did nay realise it was yourself!) I may have to reconsider.
Quick trundle round Overstrand wood revealed a Yaffle, and I decided to push on to Titchwell.
Brief stop at Warham Greens turned up a female Blackcap, Mistle Thrush, a covey of 6 Grey Partridge and a tit fest.
Titchwell itself was very much on form. Ring tail Hen Harrier passed through, a Little Stint hung out with some Dunlin and 2 Shorelark were distant at best. Icing on the cake was a Grey Phalarope, looking very delicate. Cracking bird and a good end to the day.
Pagering? Not really for me, and had it not been for the Phalarope maybe I would have regretted it. However, you do turn up a few familiar faces throughout the day, if not the birds...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

11th October Happisburgh

Decided to follow up the 2 reported Yellow Browed Warblers at Overstrand first thing. No luck, although there seemed to be plenty of Robins and Blackbirds about, some presumably migrants.
Haven't 'done' Happisburgh properly in ages so this was the plan for the day. Started at Whimpwell Green, a good spot from last year. No Warblers, but the paddocks had some good birds. Around 15 Pied Wagtail were feeding amongst horse hooves, and one bird appeared to be of the Alba race. The flock was mobile, some birds in the surrounding trees looked like they were ready for roost, unlikely mid morning. 3 Yellowhammer were on the wires and Chaffinch were vocal. A Sparrowhawk was watched nursing a freshly made kill.
Walking the cliffs, 5 Swallow were late for something, and a flushed Meadow Pipit landed next to a Snow Bunting! The singleton then took off and joined a larger group mid flight, I would guess around 25 birds in all.
At sea, a couple of maybes: a distant Shearwater was probably a Manx, and a Diver passing through was likely to be a Black Throated. Gannets were fishing none too distantly, and 3 Common Scoter breezed past, heading north.
Doggetts Lane was sadly devoid of migrants; I had hoped for so much better! The walk back produced a few more Meadow Pipits and a Wheatear.
Dropping my girlfriend off in North Walsham, the birding wasn't quite done; she spotted 6 Redwing, my first of the Autumn.

Sunday, 4 October 2009


A weekend off the birding due to illness. Extremely frustrating hearing others are out and about finding their own birds. The only consolation being that it appears to have been a quietish weekend in this neck of the woods?

Managed to rouse myself for the moth trap, and lured a few beauties in over the 2 nights:

Merveille Du Jour
Large and Lesser Yellow Underwing
Brown Spot Pinion
Barred Sallow
Lunar Underwing
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Black Rustic
Beaded Chestnut
Blair's Shoulder Knot
Burnished Brass
Red Line Quaker
Red Underwing

Most of these are still very new to me, and whilst I can now put a name to some, every time I trap something new turns up, which is great!
Thoughts for the week? Thursday looks good for sea-watching, although teaching doesn't allow. Hoping for a trundle round east Norfolk next weekend. Some good stuff down at Abberton Reservoir, have not visited before and now seems like a good time.